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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Professor David Adger, PhD (Edinburgh)


Professor of Linguistics

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8289
Room Number: Arts One 1.11
Office Hours: On research leave


I’m interested in syntax, the way that human languages put words (and bits of words) together to create new structures with new meanings. Syntax connects with many other areas of language, including meaning, sound structure, word structure, and language use, so my research and teaching bring these into the picture too. Because of this, I use many different approaches in my work: working with native speaker consultants of many different languages, using electronic corpora, designing experiments using artificial languages, basically, whatever is useful to get at the question of how syntax works.


  • Foundations of Language (UG)
  • Languages of the World (UG)
  • Explaining Grammatical Structure (UG)
  • Linguistic Typology and Grammatical Theory (UG)
  • Constructing a Language (UG)
  • Syntax (PG)
  • Morpheme to Meaning (PG)


Research Interests:

  • Syntactic Theory, especially Generative Grammar
  • Interfaces in Syntax, especially with morphology and semantics
  • The structure of endangered and lesser used languages
  • Sociosyntax (how the use of syntactic structures varies because of social factors)


Browse a publication list by Dr David Adger.

Public Engagement

I’m interesting in bringing linguistics more into general public discussion. I’ve written a popular Science book on linguistics (Language Unlimited, 2019, OUP), and have been working with primary and secondary school teachers on a project using the idea of constructed languages (like Tolkien’s Elvish languages, or Dothraki from Game of Thrones) to improve how school students learn linguistic ideas. There are a number of online talks, podcasts and magazine articles on my personal webpage on this.



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