skip to content

Cambridge Language Sciences

Interdisciplinary Research Centre
Areas of Interest: 
Syntactic change
History of Celtic and Slavonic languages
Use of electronic corpora in historical linguistics


My main area of research is syntactic change. My research looks at the mechanisms of syntactic change, and tries to explain why certain syntactic changes are possible or impossible or why some seem to be more ‘natural’ than others, whether this is understood in terms of grammaticalisation paths, or in terms of cycles of change, or in terms of resetting syntactic parameters.

I am particularly interested in Celtic and Slavonic languages, and have worked on various aspects of the history of these languages, including word order change, the development of markers of negation and changes in patterns of agreement marking within the noun phrase.

Reader in Historical Linguistics, Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics
Departments and institutes: 
Dr David  Willis

Contact Details

Email address: 
(+44) (0)1223 335885