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Willem Hollmann supervises 4 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Dr Willem Hollmann

Senior Lecturer

Willem Hollmann

Lancaster University

County South



Research overview

My research interests are in cognitive-typological linguistics (including construction grammar), language change and the history of English, and (Lancashire) dialect grammar. More recently, I have also started to carry out some work in forensic linguistics -- specifically, in the area of verbal lie detection. In order to shed light on issues in and across these areas I have a keen interest in using different methodologies, ranging from corpora to experimental methods. 

PhD supervision

I would be happy to receive applications in any of these areas: cognitive-typological linguistic theory (especially construction grammar and the usage-based model), language change and the history of English, dialect grammar, as well as the arsenal of research methods used in all these areas of linguistics.

Research Interests

My research mainly falls into three "strands" (where I use scare quotes to signal that these strands aren't completely separate but overlap to quite a large extent):

  • Cognitive-typological linguistic theory and methodology. I am interested in investigating the scope and limits of the cognitive-typological view of language (especially grammar and semantics, which on this view are very much intertwined), and its associated methodologies (prominently including corpus linguistics).
  • Language change and the history of English. I have an active research interest in mechanisms of change, both language-internal (roughly speaking, grammaticalisation) and external (social factors). My research focuses especially on change in English, but that's not so much because of any special interest in this language -- instead, it's mainly because of the excellent availability of historical data.
  • Dialect grammar, particularly of Lancashire dialect. I'm interested in dialect grammar, and do research especially on Lancashire dialect. I don't describe the dialect just for the sake of it -- rather, I try to demonstrate how non-standard language data may, and should, be used to inform linguistic theory at large (which over the course of the history of the discipline has been somewhat preoccupied with standard varieties), including its research methods. Conversely, I also show that traditional dialectology and sociolinguistics may benefit from a stronger interface with advances in (cognitive-typological) theoretical linguistics. This places some of my research within the area of "cognitive sociolinguistics" that has recently emerged at the interface of these two fields.  

In addition to these areas, I also have an active interest in forensic linguistics -- especially the study of linguistic cues to deception. In this relation I am particularly interested in the possibility that current theories, which have often been suggested by psychologists, might be refined from a theoretical linguistic point of view. 

Papers, chapters, reviews, and my PhD thesis can be downloaded here:

Papers in refereed journals:

Chapters in edited volumes:

  • 2019. Word classes. In Bas Aarts, Jill Bowie & Gergana Popova (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of English grammar, 281-300. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • 2017. Cognitive sociolinguistics. In Barbara Dancygier (ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics, 533-548. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 2016a. Forensic linguistics. In Marcello Giovanelli & Dan Clayton (eds.), Knowing about language, 137-148. Oxon/New York: Routledge.
  • 2016b. Word classes, linguistic historiography and language education: deconstructing the structuralist strawman. In Anne Bannink & Wim Honselaar (eds.), From variation to iconicity, 169-183. Amsterdam: Pegasus. 
  • 2014a. Hollmann, Willem B. Word classes: Towards a more comprehensive usage-based account. In Nikolas Gisborne & Willem B. Hollmann (eds.), Theory and data in cognitive linguistics, 211-238. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjmamins. [reprint of 2012]
  • 2014b. What do adjectives sound like? Papers from the 14th National Conference of the Japanese Cognitive Linguistics Association, Vol. 14, 749-754.
  • 2013. Hollmann, Willem B. Constructions in cognitive sociolinguistics. In Thomas Hoffmann and Graeme Trousdale (eds.), The Oxford handbook of construction grammar, 491-509. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • 2010. Croft, William, Johanna Barddal, Willem B. Hollmann, Violeta Sotirova, and Chiaki Taoka. Revising Talmy's typological classification of complex events. In Hans C. Boas (ed.), Contrastive construction grammar, 201-236. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • 2009a. Willem B. Semantic change. In Jonathan Culpeper, Francis Katamba, Paul Kerswill, and Tony McEnery (eds.), English language: description, variation and context, 301-313. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  • 2009b. Hollmann, Willem B. Grammatical change. In Jonathan Culpeper, Francis Katamba, Paul Kerswill, and Tony McEnery (eds.), English language: description, variation and context, 314-333. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  • 2007. Siewierska, Anna and Willem B. Hollmann. Ditransitive clauses in English with special reference to Lancashire dialect. In Mike Hannay and Gerard J. Steen (eds.), Structural-functional studies in English grammar, 83-102. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  • 2006. Hollmann, Willem B. Passivisability of English periphrastic causatives. In Stefan Th. Gries and Anatol Stefanowitsch (eds.), Corpora in cognitive linguistics: corpus-based approaches to syntax and lexis, 193-223. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • 2004. Hollmann, Willem B. The iconicity of complementation in Present-day English causatives. In Constantino Maeder, Olga Fischer,and William J. Herlofsky (eds.), Outside-in - inside-out. Iconicity in language and literature Vol. 4, 287-306. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Edited volumes:

PhD thesis:


  • I reviewed 5 books on language change, grammar, and variation in the English language for the Times Higher Education textbook guide 22 May 2008. The books were Aarts, Bas (2007) Syntactic gradience: the nature of grammatical indeterminacy; Britain, David, ed. (2007) Language in the British isles; Carnie, Andrew (2007) Constituent structure; Denison, David & Richard M. Hogg, eds. (2006) A history of the English language; Heine, Bernd & Tania Kuteva (2007) The genesis of grammar: a reconstruction. The reviews can be downloaded here.

Current Teaching

I convene the following undergraduate and postgraduate modules:

  • LING 222 English Grammar
  • LING 324 Cognitive Linguistics
  • LING 510 English Grammar 

PhD students (current)

I currently supervise or co-supervise 8 PhD students: Nadia AlOrainy, Bethan Malory, Liviana Galiano, Mathew Gillings, Jennifer Lowe, Soyoon Park, Shuo Yu and Maya Zara.

PhD students (completed)

  • Monira Al-Mohizea (lectureship at King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
  • Efrosini Deligianni (lectureship at the University of New South Wales, Australia)
  • Claire Dembry (language research manager, Cambridge University Press)
  • Steve Disney (senior lectureship at University College Plymouth)
  • Costas Gabrielatos (senior lectureship at Edge Hill University)
  • Caterina Guardamagna (lectureship at the University of Liverpool)
  • Yueyuan Li (lectureship at Zhejiang University of International Studies, Hangzhou, China)
  • Noor Malihah (lectureship at State Institute for Islamic Studies, Salatiga, Indonesia)
  • Marvin Hulin Ren (professorship at North China Electric Power University, Beijing, China)
  • Dan Ponsford
  • Vittorio Tantucci (lectureship at Lancaster University)
  • Jianming Wu (lectureship at Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou, China)

External Roles

Educational linguistics

I am very active in relation to language/linguistics and education/pedagogy. On the national level, I'm the Chair of the Committee for Linguistics in Education (CLIE), a member of the UK Linguistics Olympiad committee (UKLO) and a member of the LAGB's Education Committee.

I have worked as a reviewer of the QTS Literacy Skills Tests (taken by everyone wishing to obtain a place on a government funded teacher training course in England) for the Department for Education. In addition, I have contributed to the evaluation of literacy tests for adults in further education, as part of a project run by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

I have also been involved with the awarding body OCR in the development of their new (2015-   ) English Language A-level specification. 

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