Greville G. Corbett - Curriculum vitae #


Born 23 December 1947, British, married with three children.

  • 2008- Member of the Academia Europaea
  • 2000- Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences
  • 1997- Fellow of the British Academy
  • 1976 PhD ‘Problems of Adjectival Agreement in Russian’ (Birmingham)
  • 1971-1973 postgraduate study, Universities of Belgrade and Moscow
  • 1971 M.A. Russian with Linguistics (Birmingham)
  • 1970 B.A. (Combined Honours) French and Russian (Birmingham)

  • 2002- Distinguished Professor (one of four in the University)
  • 2000- Foundation Research Professor of Linguistics and of Russian Language, University of Surrey
  • 1988-2000 Professor of Linguistics and of Russian Language, University of Surrey
  • 1985-88 Reader in Russian, University of Surrey
  • 1974-85 Lecturer in the Department of Linguistic and International Studies, University of Surrey

  • 2004-2007 ESRC Professorial Research Fellowship (one of eight awarded nationally for all the Social Sciences)
  • 2002-2004 ESRC Research Fellowship
  • 2001 Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford (Fellowship offered to be taken up at a future date.)
  • 1980-1981 University Research Fellowship, University of Melbourne.

My research has been primarily in two areas:

  1. language universals and linguistic typology, where my main contribution has been in the typology of features, notably gender and number;
  2. morphology, where together with Norman Fraser I developed Network Morphology, a typologically informed, formally explicit framework for the expression of theories of natural language morphology.

I have also done detailed work on Russian and comparative Slavonic syntax and morphology, and on the typology and psycholinguistics of colour terms, in collaboration with Ian Davies and his research group. As the list of publications shows, I have been fortunate to work with, and publish with, several remarkable colleagues, from whom I have gained some knowledge of statistical methods, psycholinguistic techniques, computational approaches and of various language families (notably Austronesian, Bantu, Cushitic, Daghestanian, Eskimoan, Gunwinyguan and Pomoan).


My teaching has covered practical and theoretical language work including courses on morphology, syntax, and the structure of Modern Russian as well as postgraduate supervision. I have given courses at the Australian Linguistic Institute (La Trobe 1994, and Sydney 2008), the German Linguistic Society Typology summer school (Mainz 1998), the Vilem Mathesius Lecture Series (Prague 2002), the Association for Linguistic Typology summer school (Cagliari 2003), the Scandinavian Slavists’ Summer School (Kungälv 2003), the LOT Winter School (Amsterdam 2004), the Morphology and Typology Seminar (Lithuanian Language Institute, Vilnius 2005, 2006) and at the Moscow winter typology schools (1998, 2000, 2002, 2005), the Interdepartmental PhD Program in Linguistics at the University of the Basque Country (Vitoria-Gasteiz 2007) and the Galileo Lectures (Pisa 2007). I have been invited to give a course on Features at the Linguistic Institute in Berkeley in 2009.

  • 1997-2001 Chair of School Research Committee (ex officio on Steering, School Policy and Strategy, and Sabbaticals Committees)
  • 1997-2001 School representative on University Research Committee
  • 1998-2000 Responsible for University Overseas Conference Fund
  • 1998-2001 Director of Studies for Russian and Law Degrees
  • 2001-2002 member of Research Grants and Contracts Process Review Group
  • 2004-2008 ‘Senior member’: member of two small committees responsible for all promotions to professor, reader and senior lecturer in the University.

  • President of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain (1994-1997)
  • member of the Linguistics Panel in the Research Assessment Exercise (1992, 1996); chair of the Linguistics Panel for the 2001 exercise
  • member of the Research Grants Board of the ESRC (1994-1998)
  • European Research Council, member of panel SH4: ‘The Human Mind and its complexity’ This panel will be active and meet in 2009 and alternate years thereafter.
  • member of the Standing Committee of the British Academy Linguistics and Philology Section, 2002-2005. Representative on the Social Sciences Group 2002-2004. Member of the Council of the British Academy 2004-2007
  • member of the Executive Committee of the Association for Linguistic Typology (2007- )
  • external examining in Linguistics and Russian for the Universities of Edinburgh, Essex and Southampton (undergraduate), Manchester, SOAS and Sussex (M.A.), and Cambridge, Edinburgh, Free University Amsterdam, Manchester, Nijmegen, Oxford, Reading, Sussex, University College London, SOAS and SSEES (PhD/DPhil)
  • member of the Council of the Philological Society (1993-1998)
  • member of the editorial board of Linguistics (2002-), and of the boards of consulting editors of Lingua (1999–2003), Linguistics (1985-2002), Languages of the World (1992-2003), Handbooks in Linguistics (1993-2003), Russian Linguistics (1992-), Studies in Language (2004-), Studies in Slavic Linguistics (1994-2003), the Yearbook of Morphology (from 2006 Morphology) (1998-), Word Structure (2007-), Edinburgh Advanced Textbooks in Linguistics (2007-), Glottopedia (originally Linguipedia) (2006-).
  • refereeing for the journals Language, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, Journal of Linguistics, Lingua, Linguistics, Studies in Language, Linguistic Inquiry, Linguistic Typology, the Yearbook of Morphology, Journal of African Languages and Linguistics, Journal of Child Language, Journal for Psycholinguistic Research, Anthropological Linguistics, Australian Journal of Linguistics, Language in Society, Lexicology, Language Learning, Functions of Language, the Linguistic Review, Nordic Journal of Linguistics, Russian Linguistics, Journal of Slavic Linguistics and for the Australian Research Grants Scheme, the AHRB, the BA, the ELDP, the ESRC, the EPRSC, the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme, the Leverhulme Trust, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the National Science Foundation, the Netherlands Council for the Humanities, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, the Slovenian Ministry of Education, the Finnish Academy and the 2011 LSA Linguistics Institute. Member of the Programme committee for EACL-03 Workshop on the ‘Morphological Processing of Slavic Languages’ and for ‘NLP for Less Privileged Languages’ 2008.
  • reports on book manuscripts for Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Continuum
  • (2007) jury member for the inaugural ALT Pāṇini Award.
  • co-editor (with Professor Bernard Comrie) of the series Understanding Language published by Arnold. Volumes to date: Understanding Phonology (Gussenhoven and Jacobs), Understanding Syntax (Tallerman), Understanding Pragmatics (Verschueren), Understanding Morphology (Haspelmath), Understanding Semantics (Löbner), Understanding Second Language Acquisition (Ortega), Understanding Language Testing (Douglas).
  • Consultant for the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Huddleston & Pullum, Cambridge University Press, 2002); member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Glottopedia (2007-)
  • governor of Southlands College, University of Surrey Roehampton (1990-2004)

  • 2007-2010. ESRC. ‘Brighter, cleverer, but more intelligent: understanding periphrasis’. G. G. Corbett, Dr Marina Chumakina (RA), Dr Dunstan Brown £316,725.
  • 2009-2014. European Research Council, Advanced Grant. ‘Morphological Complexity: Typology as a Tool for Delineating Cognitive Organization’. G. G. Corbett, Dr Matthew Baerman, (RA), Dr Dunstan Brown. 1,712,538 euros.
  • 2009-2012. EUROCORES Programme: Better Analyses Based on Endangered Languages, run by the ESF, with British participation under AHRC, FeC funded ‘Alor-Pantar languages: origins and theoretical impact’. Marian Klamer (Leiden), Gary Holton (Fairbanks), Greville G. Corbett, Matthew Baerman & Dunstan Brown. Surrey share €388.064/£313.214.

MAIN COMPLETED FUNDED PROJECTS (* as Principal Investigator)
  • 1985. ESRC ‘The place of gender in natural language’, £18,440.
  • 1987. Leverhulme Trust ‘Russian Colour Terms: the Crucial Test Case for the Berlin and Kay Hypothesis, G. G. Corbett, RA: G. Morgan, £8,450.
  • 1989-1992. ESRC ‘Cross-cultural study of colour categorization in four linguistic communities’, I. R. L. Davies (Psychology), G. G. Corbett and H. McGurk (Psychology), £42,400
  • 1992-1993. ESRC ‘Variations in colour lexicons: perceptual, linguistic and cultural approaches’, I. R. L. Davies (Psychology), G. G. Corbett and H. McGurk (Psychology), £13,350. Evaluated as outstanding.
  • 1992-1995. ESRC ‘A DATR theory of Russian morphology’, G. G. Corbett and N. M. Fraser, RA: D. P. Brown, £60,320. Evaluated as outstanding.
  • 1992-1995. Leverhulme Trust ‘A computer implementation of Russian derivational morphology using DATR’, G. G. Corbett and N. M. Fraser, RA: A. Hippisley, £63,300.
  • 1994-1997. Coordinator of INTAS project ‘Endangered languages of the Caucasus’ (involving Surrey, Moscow, Konstanz), grants of 30000 and 25000 ECU. (A substantial grammar of Tsakhur resulted, ed. A. E. Kibrik.)
  • 1995-1996. Coordinator of ESRC Seminar Series ‘Frontiers of Research in Morphology’ (involving Surrey, Sussex, Essex, SOAS and Brighton). £9000.
  • 1995-1997. British Project Leader for Surrey-Düsseldorf British-German Academic Research Collaboration (ARC) Programme ‘Russian Verbal Morphology’ (funding £6660 by British Council and DAAD).
  • 1995-1998. ESRC ‘The Theory of Network Morphology’, G. G. Corbett, N. M. Fraser, RA: D. P. Brown, £108,450. Evaluated as outstanding.
  • 1996-1997. British Academy ‘A typology of grammatical number’. £4506.
  • 1997-1998. Coordinator of ESRC Seminar Series ‘Challenges for Inflectional Description’. (Involving Surrey, Sussex, Essex, SOAS and Brighton). £13000.
  • 1997-1998. ESRC ‘Number use in language: a quantitative and typological investigation’ G. G. Corbett, P. Marriott, D. P. Brown, RA: A. Hippisley £40,661. Evaluated as outstanding.
  • 1999-2001. ESRC ‘Predicting the past: reconstructing the Slavonic colour lexicon’ G. G. Corbett, I. R. L. Davies (Psychology), RA: A. Hippisley, £84184. Evaluated as outstanding.
  • 1999-2002. ESRC ‘A developmental and cross-cultural analysis of colour categorisation’ Jules Davidoff (Principal investigator, Psychology, Goldsmiths), Ian R. L. Davies (Psychology, Surrey), Greville G. Corbett, RA: Debbie M. Roberson (Psychology, Goldsmiths). £198763. Evaluated as good.
  • 1999-2002. ESRC ‘Where word forms collide: a typology of syncretism’ G. G. Corbett, D. P. Brown, RA: M. Baerman, £105505. Evaluated as outstanding.
  • 1999-2001. ESRC ‘Agreement: An investigation into the distribution of information’ G. G. Corbett, D. P. Brown, A. Hippisley, RA: C. Tiberius, £118456. Evaluated as outstanding.
  • 2000-2003. AHRB ‘The Notion “Possible word” and its Limits: a typology of suppletion’ G. G. Corbett, D. P. Brown, A. Hippisley, RF: Marina Chumakina £108838.
  • 2002-2004. ESRC ‘“Possible words”: the outer bounds of inflectional morphology’. ESRC Fellowship, £148, 031. Evaluated as outstanding.
  • 2004-2006. ESRC ‘Extended deponency: the right morphology in the wrong place’ G. Corbett, Dr Matthew Baerman (RA), Dr Dunstan Brown. £142,746, Evaluated as outstanding.
  • 2004-2007. Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) ‘Dictionary of Archi (Daghestanian) with sound files and cultural materials’ G G Corbett, Dr M Chumakina (RA) Prof Aleksandr Kibrik (Moscow), Dr. Sandro Kodzasov (Moscow); advisors: Prof Peter Lutzeier, Dr Dunstan Brown, Prof Nicholas Evans (Melbourne); consultants Dr Dzhalil Samedov (Makhachkala), Harley Quillliam, £109, 226. 21 applications were successful out of 150 in this first round (14% success rate).
  • 2004-2007. ESRC Professorial Fellowship ‘Grammatical features: a key to understanding language.’ G. G. Corbett. £394,237, RA: Dr Anna Kibort, Lecturer: Dr Noel Brackney. Evaluated as outstanding.
  • 2004-2008. AHRC ‘Short term morphosyntactic change’ G. G. Corbett, Dr Matthew Baerman, Dr Dunstan Brown. £199,279 (including PG Scholarship). Success rate in the round was 17.4%. (RA: Dr Alexander Krasovitsky, PG: Alison Long). Evaluated as outstanding.
  • 2005-2008. AHRC ‘Turning owners into actors: Possessive morphology as subject-indexing in languages of the Bougainville region’ G. G. Corbett, Dr William Palmer (RA), Dr Dunstan Brown £238,569. Success rate in the round was 15%. Evaluated as outstanding.
  • 2006-2009. AHRC ‘A typology of defectiveness’ G. G. Corbett, Dr Matthew Baerman (RA), Dr Dunstan Brown £227,486.


Association for Linguistic Typology, Australian Linguistic Society, British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies, International Grammar Commission of the Congress of Slavists, Linguistics Association of Great Britain, Linguistic Society of America, Philological Society.


  • 8 March 2002. The notion “possible word” and the extremes of inflectional morphology. Fakultetets Forsknings Fredage, University of Copenhagen.
  • 16 August 2002. The Russian Adjective: A pervasive yet elusive category. International Workshop on Adjective Classes, Research Centre for Linguistic Typology, La Trobe University.
  • 19 August 2002. “Possible words”: The limits allowed by inflectional morphology. University of Melbourne.
  • 22 August 2002. A canonical approach to typology: Agreement as a case study University of California at Berkeley.
  • 16 May 2003. The canonical approach in typology, conference on “Linguistic Diversity and Language Theories”, Boulder, Colorado.
  • 3 September 2003. ALT Summer School evening lecture: Newtonian linguistics: how typologists look for surprises, Cagliari.
  • 23 September 2003. Typology of the morphological extreme (suppletion) MMM4: “Morphology and Language Typology”, Catania.
  • 21 January 2004. Extreme words: suppletion and beyond. Paper read at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen.
  • 30 May 2005. Agreement features. Paper read at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig.
  • 11 October 2005. Interactions and features. Keynote lecture at the colloquium ‘The Interaction of Gender and Number in the Languages of the World’, University of Leiden
  • 28 April 2006. Features: Germanic and typological aspects. Keynote lecture at the Twelfth Germanic Linguistics Annual Conference (GLAC-12), The University at Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, April 28-29, 2006.
  • 15 September 2006. The place of gender in the system of morphosyntactic features. Invited paper at the Amsterdam Gender Colloquium, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 15-16 September 2006.
  • 6 October 2006. Number in the typology of features. Invited paper for the workshop “Dépendances distributives: pluralité nominale et verbale” (under the auspices of Fédération typologie et universaux linguistiques). Université Paris VIII. 6-7 October 2006.
  • 20 January 2007. Universals and features. Invited paper at the international conference “With more than chance frequency. Forty years of Universals of Language”, University of Bologna, 19-20 January 2007.
  • 5-9 February 2007. Features in syntax, morphology and typology. Course of lectures for the Interdepartmental PhD Program in Linguistics at the University of the Basque Country, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.
  • 8-16 March 2007. The Galileo Lectures. A course of lectures on “Grammatical features: a key to understanding natural language”, at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, sponsored by the Associazione degli Amici della Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa.
  • 14 September 2007. Adjectives, features and lexical categories. Invited paper at the Colloque international sur «Les adjectifs», Université Lille 3, 13-15 September 2007.
  • 1 March 2008. Canonical features and their interaction with Part of Speech categories. Invited paper at the Workshop on Markedness and Underspecification in the Morphology and Semantics of Agreement (MUMSA), Harvard University, 29 February - 2 March 2008.
  • 7-11 July 2008. ‘Features’. Course of five lectures at the Australian Linguistic Institute, Sydney.
  • 6-23 July 2009. ‘Morphosyntactic features and inflectional morphology’, course of six lectures at the 65th Linguistic Institute of the Linguistic Society of America, Berkeley.

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