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Dr David Willis

Syntactic change; history of Celtic and Slavonic languages; use of electronic corpora in historical linguistics
Dr David Willis

Reader in Historical Linguistics, Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

Syntactic change

History of Celtic and Slavonic languages

Use of electronic corpora in historical linguistics

Office Phone: (+44) (0)1223 335885

Departments and Institutes

Theoretical and Applied Linguistics:

Research Interests

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.


  • Historical linguistics
  • Welsh
  • Syntax