William Bernard McGregor - Biography#


William B. McGregor is Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Aesthetics and Communication, Aarhus University, Denmark. His primary research interest is in the languages of the Kimberley region of Western Australia, on which he has been working for over three decades. He has published grammars of two of the languages, Gooniyandi (John Benjamins, 1990) and Nyulnyul (Pacific Linguistics, 2012), and sketch grammars of others. He has also published books on various themes, including Verb classification in Australian languages (Mouton de Gruyter, 2002) and The languages of the Kimberley, Western Australia (RoutledgeCurzon, 2004), and jointly with Alan Rumsey, Worrorran revisited: the case for genetic relations among languages of the Northern Kimberley region of Western Australia (Pacific Linguistics, 2009). He has published numerous articles on topics such as grammar, semantics, pragmatics, typology, historical and comparative linguistics and discourse organization of Bunuban, Nyulnyulan and Worrorran languages.

Since 2010 he has been studying Shua, a Khoe-Kwadi language of Botswana; this research has been supported by the EuroBabel project. He is currently preparing articles on various grammatical topics, and plans to publish a grammar of the language. He has strong long-term interests in two other domains. First, alongside of his descriptive investigations he has concurrently been engaged in theory development (e.g. Semiotic grammar, Oxford University Press, 1998); currently his focus is on developing and testing a theory of grammatical optionality. A second domain is the history of linguistics, on which he has published a number of articles and edited a book, Encountering Aboriginal languages (Pacific Linguistics, 2008) and a special issue of the journal Language and History entitled 19th and 20th Century Studies of Pacific Languages (54/2, 2011).

In 2009 he published an introductory textbook on linguistics, Linguistics: an introduction (Continuum). This book has proved very popular, and a second edition is currently in preparation. McGregor was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1999, and Ridder af Dannebrogordenen in 2010.
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