My teaching and research interests cover a broad range of language and linguistics-related topics. My research interests are all connected in some way with linguistic meaning (linguistic semantics and pragmatics), usually within the framework of relevance theory. I have a particular interest in how meanings are created and negotiated in specific contexts. I’m currently working on research in three areas: prosodic meaning, stylistics and the inferential processes involved in writing.
Syntax, semantics, Persian, Russian, Lexicography
Old English, Old Norse, Old Saxon, Anglo-Latin, Digital Humanities, Paleography, Codicology, corpus linguistics, historical semantics
Specialties: English, Linguistics, ESL Teaching Research Interests: neurolinguistics, origin, evolution, acquisition, and processing of language, phonetics, phonology, semantics, semiotics, iconicity, phonosemantics, linguistic typology, comparative linguistics, cognitive linguistics, embodied cognition, natural language processing
From 1990 to 1994 I was a core member of the EuroTyp project (funded by the European Science Foundation) and in 1995 I held a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung at the University of Konstanz (Germany). Before coming to the University of Aarhus (Denmark), I was a visiting scholar at the University of Texas at Austin (1997–1999). I hold a BA in Dutch language and literature from the Free University Amsterdam (VU) and an MA and a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Amsterdam (UvA). My main areas of research are linguistic typology, parts-of-speech, lexical semantics (especially nominal aspect and Seinsart) and grammatical theory, in particular semantic and morpho–syntactic parallels between the NP and the sentence within the theoretical framework of Simon C. Dik’s Functional Grammar (Dik 1997) and its successor Functional Discourse Grammar (Hengeveld & Mackenzie 2008). I have authored or co-authored papers in these areas for Journal of Linguistics, Journal of Semantics, Linguistics, Studies in Language, Linguistic Typology, Functions of Language, Acta Linguistica Hafniensia, Italian Journal of Linguistics (Rivista di Linguistica), Language and Linguistics Compass, Belgian Journal of Linguistics and contributed to various anthologies, handbooks etc., such as Approaches to the Typology of Word Classes (Vogel & Comrie eds. 2000), Theory and Practice in Functional-Cognitive Space (M. de los Ángeles Gómez González et al. eds. 2014), International Handbook of Typology (Haspelmath et al. eds. 2001), The Expression of Possession (McGregor ed. 2009), Rethinking Universals: How rarities affect linguistic theory (Wohlgemuth & Cysouw eds. 2010), Handbook of Mereology (H. Burkhardt, J. Seibt & G. Imaguire eds. 2017), Elsevier’s International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (2nd edition, 2015), and the Oxford Handbook of Determiners (Martina Wiltschko & Solveiga Armoskaite eds. – to appear). My book The Noun Phrase (Oxford University Press 2002Hb/2004Pb) investigates NPs in a representative sample of the world’s languages and proposes a four-layered, semantic model to describe their underlying structure in any language. It examines the semantic and morpho-syntactic properties of the constituents of NPs, and in doing so it shows that the NP word order patterns of any language can be derived from three universal ordering principles. Subsequently I proposed a five-layered meaning-function based NP structure in an anthology I edited with Daniel García Velasco (Universidad de Oviedo, Spain): The Noun Phrase in Functional Discourse Grammar (2006 – Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter). My current research is concerned with categories, modification, the parts-of-speech hierarchy, the semantics of flexible word classes, the relation between form and function, and various aspects of NPs in Functional Discourse Grammar. My most recent book publication (2013) is an anthology entitled Flexible Word Classes (co-editor: Eva van Lier) for Oxford University Press.
I conduct research to collect empirical data from languages spoken throughout the world in order to inform our general understanding of Language. My work contributes to this endeavor by providing basic research on indigenous languages of Mexico, with a particular emphasis on data from Seri, a language isolate spoken in northwestern Mexico. I am especially interested in issues related to lexical semantics, spatial and temporal reference, as well as discourse structure. A common thread throughout my research is the relationship between language, cognition and culture.
My research investigates the structure of the lexicon, how words and morphemes are processed, and how we arrive at meaning. I conduct this work with English-, Maltese-, and Arabic-speaking populations, which enables me to explore morphological and lexical processing not only in monolingual populations but also in bilingual populations. I am also interested in morphological processing in clinical populations, such as people with Specific Language Impairment, Williams Syndrome, primary progressive aphasia – semantic variant, and people who have suffered from traumatic brain injury.
As Associate Professor of Linguistics at the Faculty of Humanities and social sciences of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, I spent most of my time researching on Formal Semantics, Grammar, Computational Linguistcs, (Speech/Multimodal)Corpus and Annotation. Examples of topics I find especially interesting are:
- The relationship between pragmatics, semantics and grammar of natural languages: How does the context influence our way of expressing ideas?
- The formalization of grammars using current mathematical theories: Can we analize natural languages with logical rules?
- The grammar of orality: What do our writing and our speech have in common?
- Computer mediated communication and the language of the new media. Are we actually speaking differently?
Trying to resolve these problems I have been dealing with other exciting topics such as machine translation, the acoustic features of speech and the transmission of information in multimodal contexts.
Alison Gibbons is Reader in Contemporary Stylistics at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. She is the author of Multimodality, Cognition, and Experimental Literature (Routledge, 2012), and co-editor of Mark Z. Danielewski (Manchester University Press, 2011), the Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature (Routledge 2012), Metamodernism: Historicity, Affect, and Depth after Postmodernism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017) and Pronouns in Literature: Positions and Perspectives in Language (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). She has also published widely in international peer-reviewed journals, including: Ariel, Contemporary Literature, Metaphor in the Social World, Narrative, and Textual Practice. Her research consistently takes a stylistic approach to innovative contemporary narratives, including empirical reception research, and is currently focused on metamodernism, autofiction, and Arab Spring fiction.