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

The syntax of answers to  polar questions: 

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

Syntactic features of English dialects;

Publications by Prof. JA Holmberg

Newcastle University ePrint repository for Prof. JA Holmberg.

Future Research

The syntax of dialects in the British Isles.

Research Roles

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
Mohammed Jlassi: The Multiple Subject Construction in Arabic: evidence from subject doubling in Tunisian Arabic

Malgorzata Krzek: The syntax of impersonal constructions in Polish

Patrick Chi-Wai Lee: Learning and unlearning object drop in L2 English

David Iorio: Syntax and information structure in Bembe

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

Sameera Saeed: Prepositions in Kurdish, Arabic and English

Claire Childs: Negation in English dialects 

Khaled Kakhia: Description of a Turkish dialect in Syria 

Esteem Indicators

Member of the panel for Linguistics in the RAE 2008.


  • 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.