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Rethinking Comparative Syntax (ReCoS)

Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

Studying at Cambridge


Dr Theresa Biberauer

Dr Theresa Biberauer

Principal Research Associate

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 760820

Research Interests

Theresa Biberauer is the project's Principal Research Associate. She specialises in theoretical, comparative and historical syntax, with interface, typological, contact and acquisition issues also a focus of interest. To date, much of her research has centred on the clause structure of the Germanic languages, with the peculiar patterns of variation and change exhibited by Afrikaans forming the heart of her doctoral work, and various aspects of the diachrony of English and other Germanic languages having been a major research focus since the completion of that Ph.D. in 2003. She was previously (2002-2007) the Research Associate on an AHRC-funded project Null subjects and the structure of parametric theory, also involving Ian Roberts, David Willis and Anders Holmberg (University of Newcastle), and the Senior Research Associate on a further AHRC-funded project (October 2007-March 2011) investigating Structure and Linearization in Disharmonic Word Orders. The project once again involved both a Cambridge- and a Newcastle-based research team: Ian Roberts and Theresa Biberauer (Cambridge), and Anders Holmberg and Michelle Sheehan (Newcastle). Theresa is a Fellow of Churchill College and also holds an honorary Professorship at her South African alma mater, Stellenbosch University.

Key Publications

To appear

Biberauer, T. (in press). Particles and the Final-over-Final Constraint. To appear in: M. Sheehan, T. Biberauer, A. Holmberg & I. Roberts (eds). The Final-over-Final Constraint. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Biberauer, T. (in press). Probing the nature of the Final-over-Final Constraint: the perspective from adpositions. To appear in: L. Bailey & M. Sheehan (eds). Order and Structure in Syntax. Language Science Press.

Sheehan, M., T. Biberauer, A. Holmberg & I. Roberts (eds). (in press). The Final-over-Final Constraint. To appear with MIT Press.

Deuchar, M. & T. Biberauer (in press). Doubling: an error or an illusion? To appear in: Bilingualism, Language and Cognition. DOI: [published on-line 8 April 2016]


Biberauer, T. & I. Roberts (2016a). Parameter typology from a diachronic perspective: the case of Conditional Inversion. In: E. Bidese, F. Cognola & M. Moroni (eds). Theoretical Approaches to Linguistic Variation. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 259-291.

Biberauer, T. & I. Roberts (2016b). Parameter setting. In: A. Ledgeway & I. Roberts (eds). The Cambridge Handbook of Historical Syntax. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 134-162.


Biberauer, T. & G. Walkden (eds). (2015) Syntax over Time: Lexical, Morphological, and Information-Structural Interactions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Biberauer, T. (2015). Nie sommer nie: sociohistorical and formal comparative considerations in the rise and maintenance of the modern Afrikaans negation system. In: T. Biberauer & J. Oosthuizen (eds).  Studies opgedra aan Hans den Besten: Suider-Afrikaanse perspektiewe/Studies dedicated to Hans den Besten: Southern African perspectives. Stellenbosch: Sunmedia, 129-175.

Biberauer, T. & I. Roberts (2015b). Rethinking formal hierarchies: a proposed unification. In: J. Chancharu, X. Hu & M. Mitrović (eds.). Cambridge Occasional Papers in Linguistics 7: 1-31.

Biberauer, T. & I. Roberts (2015b). Clausal hierarchies. In: U. Shlonsky (ed.). Beyond Functional Sequence. Oxford: OUP, 295-313. 

Biberauer, T. & G. Walkden (2015). Introduction: Changing views of syntactic change. In: T. Biberauer & G. Walkden (eds.). Syntax over time: lexical, morphological, and information-structural interactions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1-13.


Biberauer, T., L. Haegeman & A. van Kemenade (eds). (2014). Particles in syntax: synchronic and diachronic perspectives. Studia Linguistica 68(1). [a special edition]

Biberauer, T., L. Haegeman & A. van Kemenade (2014). Putting our heads together:  towards a syntax of particles. Studia Linguistica 68(1 – The Syntax of Particles): 1-15.

Biberauer, T., A. Holmberg, I. Roberts & M. Sheehan (2014). Complexity in comparative syntax: the view from modern parametric theory. In: F. Newmeyer & L. Preston (eds.). Measuring Linguistic Complexity. Oxford: OUP, 103-127.

Biberauer, T., A. Holmberg & I. Roberts (2014). A syntactic universal and its consequences. Linguistic Inquiry 45(2): 169-225.