School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Staff Profile

Professor Anders Holmberg

Professor in Theoretical Linguistics


Research Interests

Syntactic theory; comparative syntax; Scandinavian languages; Finnish.

Other Expertise

Descriptive linguistics/linguistic fieldwork; language acquisition; language change.

Current Work

Rethinking comparative syntax: 

The syntax of polar questions and their answers: 

The mapping of structure onto linear order
Null subjects/pro-drop

Symmetry and asymmetry in the double object construction in English and Scandinavian 


Publications by Prof. JA Holmberg

Newcastle University ePrint repository for Prof. JA Holmberg.


Research Roles

Director of research on the project Rethinking comparative syntax (ReCoS), U. of Cambridge  

Leverhulme Fellowship (2011-2013). Project: The syntax of yes and no

Editor of Finno-Ugric Languages and Linguistics (FULL) 

Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded project 'Structure and linear order in disharmonic word orders' (2007-2011)

Postgraduate Supervision

PhD students:
Mais Sulaiman: Wh-questions in Syrian Arabic

Hofa Meng Jung Wu: The syntax of questions and answers in Chinese 

Claire Childs: Negation in English dialects 

Naif Alsaedi: Null subjects in the acquisition of English by Arabic, Finnish, and French learners

Daniel Bell: Syntactic change in Qinghai Chinese

Harold Thampoe: A comparative study of Thamil and Sinhala

Rebeen Kareem: The syntax of verbal inflection in Central Kurdish

Murdhy Alshamari: The syntax of clause-initial particles in the North Hail dialect of Arabic

Marwan Jarrah: A-bar movement in Jordanian Arabic

Rebwar Tahir: The structure of DP in Central Kurdish

Qi Wang: A syntactic description of Xining Chinese 



  • Leverhulme Fellowship (2011-2013). Project: On the syntax of yes and no.

  • Project funded by the AHRC, from Oct 2007 to Sept 2010: 'Structure and linearization in disharmonic word orders'. Joint project with Cambridge, with Ian Roberts as co-investigator, Theresa Biberauer and Michelle Sheehan as Researchers. 

  • Leverhulme Visiting Professorship for Abdelkader Fassi Fehri to spend 10 months in Newcastle in 2007-2008.
  • Project funded by the AHRC (2002-2007): 'Null subjects and the structure of parametric theory.' Joint project with Newcastle and Cambridge.