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
I am a linguist who works on language contact and change, particularly in the Pacific and Australia, and how new digital tools and techniques allow us to research these in new ways. My research interests span historical and contact linguistics, typology, and digital humanities areas, especially relating to mapping, simulation, language, virtual reality, and data visualisation. I have carried out fieldwork in the Cook Islands, East Timor and Indonesia. I co-lead the Intergenerate Living Lab at Western Sydney University, where we work across generations, forms of expertise and places in co-research, design and testing of digital initiatives to foster the resilience of people and communities to live well and participate fully in social life. I am also a member of the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, and the Centre of Excellence for Language Dynamics. I am the Treasurer for the Australasian Association of Digital Humanities and the NSW coordinator for the Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad.
An Anglophile since early childhood, I completed my degree in English Language & Literature in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK. There, I started out as a secondary school English teacher and I am now a part-time English teacher in a 6th form college (where I teach mostly A level English Language). Since September 2016, I am also a part-time PhD student, researching English teachers’ cognition with regard to ‘Knowledge About Language’ and its relationship to current language ideologies. In my research, I employ Corpus Linguistics methodologies in order to locate language ideologies in general, public, as well as educational discourses. My interest in Linguistics has also led me to become a Linguistics Olympiad problem writer in 2011. I also work as a Principal Examiner for A level English Language and produce A level English teaching resources for http://www.teachit.co.uk. As well as being a native speaker of Dutch, I speak fluent English & German and have some proficiency in a few other languages. Perhaps not surprisingly, I am a keen learner of languages and have interests in Corpus Linguistics, Critical Discourse Analysis, Linguistic Typology, Cognitive Linguistics, & Bilingualism/Multilingualism.
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.
My research interests cover documentary, descriptive, theoretical, historical and applied linguistics. I have extensive fieldwork experience since 1972 on Australian Aboriginal languages (northern New South Wales, northern South Australia, and north-west Western Australia) and co-authored with David Nathan the first fully page-formatted hypertext dictionary on the World Wide Web, a bilingual dictionary of Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi), northern New South Wales, as well as publishing seven bilingual dictionaries of Aboriginal languages. Since 2011 I have been working with the Dieri Aboriginal Corporation on revitalisation of the Dieri language spoken in South Australia (see Dieri WordPress). Since 1995 I have been carrying out research on Sasak and Samawa, Austronesian languages spoken on Lombok and Sumbawa islands, eastern Indonesia, in collaboration with colleagues at Mataram University and Frankfurt University. My theoretical research is mainly on syntax and focuses on Lexical Functional Grammar, morpho-syntactic typology, computer-aided lexicography and multi-media for endangered languages. I have also published on historical and comparative linguistics, typology, and Aboriginal history and biography. I am currently working with Dr Julia Sallabank and with colleagues at University of Warsaw and Leiden University on an EU Horizon2020 Twinning project called Engaged Humanities, and with Professor Stefanie Pillai, University of Malaya, on a British Academy-funded collaborative research project in Malaysia.
My research focuses on language documentation, fieldwork methodology, functional-typological linguistic description and theory, and the languages of East Africa. I am currently in the midst of a two-year project documenting the Hadza language of Tanzania with Andrew Harvey.
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.
I’m a linguist and philologist specialized in the earlier history of the Germanic languages, including Old and Middle English, Old Norse, Gothic, Old Frisian, Old Saxon, and Old High German. I currently hold a British Academy postdoctoral fellowship to research Norse Influence on Middle English Prosody. Based on this work, I am preparing a book manuscript synthesizing the phonological and metrical evidence for foot structure in medieval English and Old Norse. I maintain a broad interest in what used to be called Germanic comparative philology, including the phonological and morphological development of the Germanic languages from Proto-Indo-European. This field combines close attention to ancient and medieval texts as the primary sources for information about older languages, and a grounding in the typology of languages around the world and current thinking about the possibilities and constraints concerning how languages and Language in general work. My ongoing blog series The History of the English Language in A Hundred Words aims to bring the full history of English, from its earliest reconstructible prehistory to the present day, to a wider public in a readable and reliable way.
History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences Podcast https://hiphilangsci.net/category/podcast/ Co-editor of the scholarly blog History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences https://hiphilangsci.net/ Editor of the book series History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences at Language Science Press http://langsci-press.org/catalog/series/hpls
…(accepted). Comparing signers and speakers: Building a directly comparable corpus of Auslan and Australian English. Corpora.
Schembri, A., Cormier, K. & Fenlon, J. (2018). Indicating verbs as typologically unique constructions: Reconsidering verb ‘agreement’ in sign languages. Glossa.
Schembri, A., Fenlon, J., Cormier, K. & Johnston, T. (2018). Sociolinguistic typology and sign languages. Frontiers in Psychology.
Fenlon, J., Schembri, A. & Cormier, K. (2018). Modification of indicating verbs in British Sign Language: A corpus-based study. Language.
Stamp, R., Schembri, A., Evans, B. & Cormier, K. (2016) British Sign Language (BSL) regional varieties in contact: Investigating the patterns of accommodatio…
Adam Schembri is Reader in Linguistics in the Department of English Language & Linguistics at the University of Birmingham, UK. He completed a PhD in linguistics at the University of Sydney in 2002, worked at the University of Bristol 2000-2002, at the University of Newcastle (Australia) 2003-2005, and at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre at University College London during 2006-2010, where he initiated the British Sign Language Corpus Project (www.bslcorpusproject.org). His research and teaching experience has encompassed a number of areas in sign language linguistics, including work on aspects of the lexicon, grammar and sociolinguistics of Auslan (Australian Sign Language) and British Sign Language. He is the co-author (with Trevor Johnston) of ‘Australian Sign Language (Auslan): An introduction to sign language linguistics’, and co-editor with Ceil Lucas of ‘Sociolinguistics and Deaf Communities’, both published by Cambridge University Press.