Professor Maggie Tallerman
Professor of Linguistics
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7774
- Fax: +44 (0) 191 208 8708
- Address: Linguistics Section, SELLL
Newcastle NE1 7RU
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1987 Ph.D., University of Hull, "Mutation and the syntactic structure of Modern Colloquial Welsh". Supervisor: Nigel B. Vincent (Professor, University of Manchester). External examiner: Professor R.D. Borsley, University of Essex.
1979 B.A. (Hons.) Linguistics, University of Hull.
Department of Linguistics, University of Durham, 1983-2004 (as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader)
- EVOLANG - The International Conferences on the Evolution of Language: http://www.evolang.org/
- Linguistics Association of Great Britain
- Linguistic Society of America
- Philological Society
Celtic linguistics, language origins and evolution -- aka evolutionary linguistics, language typology, morphology, morphosyntax.
Particular Interests include:
- Brythonic Celtic: The syntax, morphosyntax and morphology of Welsh (Modern and Middle Welsh) and Breton. Morphosyntax of functional elements, syntax of Soft Mutation, and syntax of infinitival clauses.
- Language Evolution: The origins, evolution and development of syntax and morphology. The evolution of Language from protolanguage. The evolution of the mental lexicon.
Together with Kathleen Gibson, I am editor of The Oxford Handbook of Language Evolution, published by Oxford University Press in 2012. Here, sixty leading scholars present critical accounts of every aspect of the field. The volume's five parts are devoted to insights from comparative animal behaviour; the biology of language evolution (anatomy, genetics, and neurology); the prehistory of language (when and why did language evolve?); the development of a linguistic species; and language creation, transmission, and change. More details:
My most recent paper in evolutionary linguistics is published in Journal of Neurolinguistics (SI on Language Evolution: On the origin of lexical and syntactic structure) and is titled "Can the integration hypothesis account for language evolution?". Here I argue against the idea that two primitive systems, both occurring in animal communication, were integrated abruptly in our recent ancestors to form language as we know it. I defend a gradualist account of language evolution. DOI: 10.1016/j.jneuroling.2016.06.006
I have also argued against the idea that narrow syntax arose recently and suddenly ("No syntax saltation in language evolution" Language Sciences vol. 46). This paper also critiques the idea that externalization - using language for communication - was secondary to the use of language purely for internal thought. The arguments draw on evidence from the lexicon and from syntactic displacement.
Other recent work in evolutionary linguistics includes papers on the origins of the lexicon and various critiques of the idea of holistic and musical protolanguage. I have argued in a series of papers in favour of a lexical protolanguage, a pre-language system putatively used by our ancestors over half a million years ago. Another recent paper ("Kin selection, pedagogy and linguistic complexity: whence protolanguage?" 2013) considers proposals that kin selection is an important driving force behind the evolution of language, and argues that in fact, this cannot be a major selection pressure.On the Celtic side of my work, along with Bob Borsley (Essex) and David Willis (Cambridge), I published The Syntax of Welsh (Cambridge University Press) in 2007. I have published over many years accounts of Welsh syntactic soft mutation, arguing in favour of the XP Trigger Hypothesis. The most recent account is a paper in Journal of Linguistics, which compares a phrase-based account of syntactic soft mutation with a dependency account.
I am involved in The Syntactic Atlas of Welsh Dialects. This project is run by David Willis (Cambridge), with myself and Bob Borsley (Essex), and aims to establish the extent of variation in the syntax of present-day Welsh, including age-related variation and variation due to linguistic background, as well as geogrpahical variation. Specifically, its aims are:
- to establish the distribution of major syntactic variants in Welsh using a systematic methodology
- to establish patterns of change via age-related variation
- to examine the effects of language revitalisation on the syntax of Welsh
- to provide material for further analysis of Welsh syntax in any framework
- to provide a repository of material available for researchers and the general public interested in any kind of variation within the Welsh language as spoken today
The 4th edition of my textbook with Routledge, Understanding Syntax, was published in 2015.
I welcome applications from suitably qualified students who are interested in postgraduate work in the following fields:
- Evolutionary linguistics: the origins and evolution of syntax and morphology; the evolution of the mental lexicon; selection pressures in language evolution.
- the syntax and morphosyntax of Brythonic Celtic (Welsh in particular)
I would also be interested in supervising dissertations on any aspect of cross-linguistic syntax or morphosyntax, particularly within a typological or Principles-and-Parameters framework, and any other aspects of language evolution.
I teach the following modules:
SEL3005 Language origins and evolution
SEL8003 Evolutionary Linguistics
SEL1028 Building Blocks of Language: Morphology strand
SEL2084 The Syntax of the World’s Languages
SEL8029 Introduction to Cross-linguistic Syntax
- Tallerman M. Can the integration hypothesis account for language evolution?. Journal of Neurolinguistics 2017, 43(Part B), 254-262.
- Tallerman M. No syntax saltation in language evolution. Language Sciences 2014, 46(Part B), 207-219.
- Tallerman Maggie. Understanding Syntax. London: Routledge, 2015.
- Tallerman M. The Evolutionary Origins of Syntax. In: A. Carnie, Y. Sato & D. Siddiqi, ed. The Routledge Handbook of Syntax. London, UK: Routledge, 2014, pp.446–462.
- Tallerman M. Is the syntax rubicon more of a mirage?. In: The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference (EVOLANG 10). 2014, Vienna: World Scientific.
- Tallerman M. Join the dots: A musical interlude in the evolution of language?. Journal of Linguistics 2013, 49(2), 455-487.
- Tallerman M. Kin selection, pedagogy, and linguistic complexity: whence protolanguage?. In: Botha, R., Everaert, M, ed. The Evolutionary Emergence of Language: Evidence and Inference. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, pp.77-96.
- Tallerman M, Gibson K, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Language Evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
- Tallerman M. Understanding Syntax. London: Hodder, 2011.
- Tallerman M. Lost in a linguistic jungle: what’s in the language faculty?. In: The Evolution of Language. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference (EVOLANG 8). 2010, Barcelona: World Scientific.
- Tallerman M. The origins of the lexicon: how a word store evolved. In: Botha R; Knight C, ed. The Prehistory of Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, pp.181-200.
- Tallerman M. If language is a jungle, why are we all cultivating the same plot?. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 2009, 32(5), 469–470.
- Tallerman M. Phrase structure vs. dependency: The analysis of Welsh syntactic soft mutation. Journal of Linguistics 2009, 45(1), 167-201.
- Tallerman M, Newmeyer F, Bickerton D, Bouchard D, Kaan E, Rizzi L. What kinds of syntactic phenomena must biologists, neurobiologists, and computer scientists try to explain and replicate?. In: Bickerton D; Szathmáry E, ed. Biological Foundations and Origin of Syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009, pp.135-160.
- Tallerman M. Holophrastic protolanguage: Planning, processing, storage, and retrieval. Interaction Studies 2008, 9(1), 84-99.
- Tallerman M. Case-marking systems evolve to be easy to learn and process. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 2008, 31(5), 534-535.
- Tallerman M. Kin selection and linguistic complexity. In: Smith AD; Smith K; Ferrer i Cancho R, ed. The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference (EVOLANG7). New Jersey: World Scientific Publishing Co, 2008, pp.307-314.
- Tallerman M. Did our ancestors speak a holistic protolanguage?. Lingua 2007, 117(3), 579-604.
- Borsley RD, Tallerman M, Willis D. The Syntax of Welsh. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
- Tallerman M. Challenging the syllabic model of 'syntax-as-it-is'. Lingua 2006, 116(5), 689-709.
- Tallerman M. A holistic protolanguage cannot be stored, cannot be retrieved. In: The evolution of language. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference (EVOLANG 6). 2006, Rome: World Scientific.
- Hannahs SJ, Tallerman M. At the interface: Selection of the Welsh definite article. Linguistics 2006, 44(4), 781-816.
- Tallerman M. Abracadabra! Early hominin for ‘I think my humming’s out of tune with the rest of the world!’ Mithen, S. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 2006, 16(1), 106–107.
- Tallerman M. The syntax of Welsh "direct object mutation" revisited. Lingua 2006, 116(11), 1750-1776.
- Tallerman M. Challenging the syllabic model of ‘syntax-as-it-is’. Lingua 2006, 116(5), 689-709.
- Tallerman M. Initial Syntax and modern syntax: did the clause evolve from the syllable? (Chapter 6). In: Tallerman, M, ed. Language Origins: Perspectives on Evolution. Oxford: OUP, 2005, pp.133-152.
- Tallerman M, ed. Language Origins : Perspectives on Evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
- Tallerman M. Language origins and evolutionary processes. In: Tallerman, M, ed. Language Origins: Perspectives on Evolution. Oxford: OUP, 2005, pp.1-10.
- Tallerman M. The Celtic Languages (Chapter 19). In: Cinque, G., Kayne, R.S, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Syntax. New York & Oxford: OUP, 2005, pp.839-879.
- Tallerman M. Understanding Syntax. London and New York: Hodder Arnold/OUP, 2005.
- Tallerman M. Welsh soft mutation and marked word order. In: Darnell, M., Moravcsik, E., Newmeyer, F., Noonan, M., Wheatley, K, ed. Functionalism and Formalism in Linguistics (Volume 2: Case Studies). Amsterdam, Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 1999, pp.277-294.
- Tallerman, Maggie. Celtic word order: some theoretical issues. In: Siewierska, Anna, ed. Constituent order in the languages of Europe. Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1998, pp.599-647.
- Tallerman, Maggie. The uniform Case-licensing of subjects in Welsh. The Linguistic Review 1998, 15, 69-133.
- Tallerman, Maggie. Understanding Syntax. London/New York: Arnold/OUP, 1998.
- Tallerman, Maggie. Word order in Celtic. In: Siewierska, Anna, ed. Constituent order in the languages of Europe. Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1998, pp.21-45.
- Tallerman, Maggie. Infinitival clauses in Breton. Canadian Journal of Linguistics (Topics in Celtic Syntax, ed. E. Guilfoyle) 1997, 42, 205-233.
- Tallerman, Maggie. Fronting constructions in Welsh. In: Borsley, Robert D. & Roberts, Ian G, ed. The syntax of the Celtic languages: a comparative perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996, pp.97-124.
- Borsley, Robert D. and Tallerman, Maggie. Phrases and soft mutation in Welsh. Journal of Celtic Linguistics 1996, 5, 1-49.
- Tallerman, Maggie. The directionality of head subcategorization in Welsh. In: Fife, James & Erich Poppe, ed. Studies in Brythonic Word Order. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1991, pp.311-327.
- Tallerman, Maggie. Relativization strategies: NP accessibility in Welsh. Journal of Linguistics 1990, 26, 291-314.
- Tallerman, Maggie. VSO word order and consonantal mutation in Welsh. Linguistics 1990, 28, 389-416.