University of California, Davis, BA
University of California, Berkeley, PhD

I am a specialist in the English Language, with a focus on the history of English. My particular areas of interest include English historical linguistics, historical pragmatics (discourse markers), grammaticalization and lexicalization, phrasal verbs and composite predicates, corpus linguistics, and aspectual studies. I completed my PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, in English with a Linguistics Emphasis in 1981, and I have been working at UBC ever since.

I am the co-author of two textbooks, one on the structure of modern English (now in its second edition) and one on the history of English (now in its third edition), as well as the author of monographs on aspect, pragmatic markers, comment clauses, and lexicalization. I have edited several collections of papers, including the two-volume English Historical Linguistics: An International Handbook (reprinted, with revisions, in 5 paperback versions in 2017). I have just published an edited textbook on English Historical Linguistics: Perspectives and Approaches as well as a monograph on The Evolution of Pragmatic Markers in English: Pathways to Change, both published by Cambridge University Press.

I teach undergraduate courses in the Structure of Modern English (ENGL 330 and 331), the History of the English Language (ENGL 318 and 319), Grammar and Usage (ENGL 321), and Stylistics (ENGL 322). Recent Majors seminars (ENGL 489) has focused on Corpus Approaches to Change in Present-day English and Corpus Linguistics and Prescriptivism. With a colleague in Linguistics, I co-teach a first-year course on Language Myths (ENGL/LING 140).

My recent graduate seminars have concerned Historical Pragmatics, Pragmatic Markers, Literary Pragmatics, and Grammaticalization.

Winter 2018

ENGL140 Challenging Language Myths Sections

Critical consideration of a broad range of commonly held beliefs about language and its relation to the brain and cognition, learning, society, change and evolution. Note: This is an elective course that does not fulfill writing requirements in any faculty or the literature requirement in the Faculty of Arts.

Winter 2018

ENGL318 History of the English Language: Early History Sections

Principles of language change and language typology. The development of the English language from its Indo-European origins to the end of the Anglo-Saxon period.

Winter 2018

ENGL324A English Corpus Linguistics - ENGL CRPUS LING Sections

Methods of collecting and analyzing linguistic data using electronic resources.

Winter 2018

ENGL330A The Structure of Modern English: Sounds and Words - ENGL STRUCTURE 1 Sections

An introduction to phonology, morphology, and lexical semantics.

Authored books

The Development of English Aspectual Systems: Aspectualizers and Post-verbal Particles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. Digitally reprinted, 2009.

Pragmatic Markers in English: Grammaticalization and Discourse Functions.. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1996.

Lexicalization and Language Change (co-authored with Elizabeth Closs Traugott). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Translated into Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

The Comment Clause in English: Syntactic Origins and Pragmatic Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Issued in paperback, 2011.

The Linguistic Structure of Modern English. (co-authored with Donna M. Brinton) 2nd edn. of The Structure of Modern English: A Linguistic Introduction. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2010.

The English Language: A Linguistic History (co-authored with Leslie K. Arnovick). 3rd edn. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2016.

The Evolution of Pragmatic Markers in English: Pathways to Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.


Edited collections (selected)

Collocational and Idiomatic Aspects of Composite Predicates in the History of English (co-edited with Minoji Akimoto). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1999.

English Historical Linguistics: An International Handbook (co-edited with Alexander Bergs). Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunkationswissenschaft, 34.1-34.2. Berlin and New York: De Gruyter Mouton, 2012.  Reprinted as five readers in 2017.

English Historical Linguistics: Perspectives and Approaches. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

A full listing of my publications is available on my personal webpage:

I continue to do research in the area of pragmatic markers in the history of English. A new research project focuses on the history and development of secondary degree adverbs in English.

I am currently co-editor of English Language and Linguistics with Bernd Kortmann (Freiburg University) and Patrick Honeybone (University of Edinburgh), and Elena Seaone (University of Vigo) Formerly, I co-edited the Journal of Historical Pragmatics with Dawn Archer (Manchester Metropolitan).