skip to primary navigationskip to content

Rethinking Comparative Syntax (ReCoS)

Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

Studying at Cambridge


Professor Anders Holmberg

Professor Anders Holmberg

Professor in Theoretical Linguistics (Newcastle University)

Office Phone: +44 (0)191 222 3530

Research Interests

I have a PhD from Stockholm University 1987. I have worked in Sweden, Norway, Morocco, and the UK. Since 2004 I am Professor of Theoretical Linguistics at Newcastle University, and currently also part-time Director of Research at the University of Cambridge on the ReCoS project. My research interests are mainly in comparative syntax and syntactic theory. I have worked extensively on the Scandinavian languages, Finnish, and a variety of other languages. Themes I have worked on include verb second, object shift, NP-syntax, stylistic fronting, impersonal constructions, ditransitives, sentential word order and topic-focus articulation in Finnish, null subjects, the relation of structure and linear order, and the syntax of yes-no questions and answers in a comparative perspective. Since 2002 I have collaborated closely with Ian Roberts and colleagues in Cambridge, which has resulted in a number of joint works, including a book with T. Biberauer, I. Roberts and M. Sheehan: Parametric syntax: Null subjects in minimalist theory (CUP 2010). Another book by the same team is soon to appear: The Final-over-Final Constraint (MIT Press). Another, single-authored book has recently come out, the first in the series Reconsidering Comparative Syntax of OUP: The syntax of yes and no.

Key Publications


To appear

Holmberg, Anders and On-Usa Phimsawat: ‘Truly minimal pronouns.’ to appear in Diadorim. Online on Lingbuzz

Holmberg, Anders and On-Usa Phimsawat: ‘Minimal pronouns.’ To appear in Proceedings of Olinco 2016.

Holmberg, Anders: Null subjects in Finnish and the typology of pro-drop. To appear in Anne Tamm and Anne Vainikka (eds.) Uralic syntax. Oxford University Press.



Holmberg, Anders. 2016.  Norse against Old English: 20-0. Language Dynamics and Change 6: 21-23.

Holmberg, Anders. 2016. Review of Diagnosing syntax, ed. by Lisa Lai-Shen Cheng and Norbert Corver. Language 92



Holmberg, Anders. 2015. The syntax of yes and no. Oxford University Press.

Holmberg, Anders and  On-Usa Phimsawat. 2015. Generic pronouns and phi-features. Proceedings from the Second Asian and European Linguistic conference. Newcastle Working Papers in Linguistics 21,2.



Haddican, Bill and Anders Holmberg. 2014. Four kinds of object asymmetry.  In  Ludmila Veselovská and Markéta Janebová (eds.) Complex visibles out there. Proceedings of the Olomouc Linguistics Colloquium 2014: Language use and linguistic structure. Olomouc: Palacký University.

Biberauer, Theresa, Anders Holmberg and Ian Roberts. 2014. A syntactic universal and its consequences. Linguistic Inquiry 45, 169-225.

Holmberg, Anders and Ian Roberts. 2014. Parameters and three factors of language design. In Carme Picallo (ed.) Linguistic variation in the minimalist framework.  61-81. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Biberauer, Theresa, Anders Holmberg, Ian Roberts, and  Michelle Sheehan: Complexity in comparative syntax: the view from modern parametric theory. In F. Newmeyer and L, Preston (eds.) Measuring grammatical complexity, 103-127, Oxford University Press.




Holmberg, Anders and Meng-Jung Wu: How to say no in English and Chinese. Online on Lingbuzz

Holmberg, Anders, Michelle Sheehan, and Jenneke van der Wal: Movement from the double object construction is not fully symmetrical. Online on Lingbuzz

Haddican Bill and Anders Holmberg: Object symmetry effects in Germanic. Evidence for the role of case.