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Photo of Robert  Van Valin Jr.


Univ.-Prof. i. R. Dr. Robert Van Valin Jr.

Gebäude: 24.53
Etage/Raum: 00.89
+49 211 81-12554
+49 211 81-11325


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Robert D. Van Valin, Jr., Professor, received his Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. He has taught at the University of Arizona, Temple University, the University of California, Davis, and the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. He has also been a visiting faculty member at Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Sonora, and the University of Zagreb. He retired from the HHU in August, 2017, and returned to the University of Buffalo; nevertheless, he continues to participate actively in CRC 991.

In 2006 he received the Research Award for Outstanding Scholars from Outside of Germany from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. His research is focused on theoretical linguistics, especially syntactic theory and theories of the acquisition of syntax and the role of syntactic theory in models of sentence processing. He is the primary developer of the theory of Role and Reference Grammar       (undefined He has done research on two American Indian languages, Lakhota (Siouan) and Yatée Zapotec (Oto-Manguean). In 2008 he received a Fellowship from the Max Planck Society which funds a research group on Syntax, Typology and Information Structure at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics at Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

He is the co-author of Functional Syntax and Universal Grammar (Cambridge UP, 1984), the editor of Advances in Role and Reference Grammar (Benjamins, 1993), the primary author of Syntax: Structure, Meaning & Function (Cambridge UP, 1997), and the author of An Introduction to Syntax (Cambridge UP, 2001). His most recent books are Exploring the Syntax-Semantics Interface (Cambridge UP, 2005) and, as editor, Investigations of the Syntax-Semantics-Pragmatics Interface (Benjamins, 2008). He is the general editor of the Oxford Surveys in Syntax and Morphology series (Oxford UP). He has published articles on syntax, universal grammar, language typology, language acquisition, and neurolinguistics.

undefinedabbreviated CV


Selected publications available for downloading:


Other publications:


  • On the relationship between syntactic theory and models of language processing. Ina Bornkessel, et al. (eds.), Semantic role universals and argument linking: Theoretical, typological and psycho-/neurolinguistic perspectives. 263-302. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2006.
  • Some universals of verb semantics. Ricardo Mairal & Juana Gil (eds.), Linguistic Universals, 155-78. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006
  • Some speculation about the reason for the lesser status of typology in the USA as opposed to Europe. Linguistic Typology 11:253-57, 2007.
  • The Role and Reference Grammar analysis of three-place predicates. Suvremena Lingvistika 33.1.63:31-64, 2007
  • Some remarks on Universal Grammar. J. Guo, E. Lieven, S. Ervin-Tripp, N. Budwig, S. Ozçaliskan, K. Nakamura (Eds.) Crosslinguistic approaches to the psychology of language: Research in the tradition of Dan Isaac Slobin. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2008.
  • RPs and the nature of lexical and syntactic categories in Role and Reference Grammar. R. Van Valin (ed.), Investigations of the syntax-semantics-pragmatics interface, 161-78. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2008.
  • Case in Role and Reference Grammar. Andrej Malchukov & Andrew Spencer (eds.), The Handbook of Case, 102-20.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • Privileged syntactic arguments, pivots and controllers.  Lilián Guerrero, Sergio Ibáñez, & Valeria A. Belloro (eds), Studies in Role and Reference Grammar, 45-68. México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2009.
  • Role and Reference Grammar as a framework for linguistic analysis. Bernd Heine & Heiko Narrog (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Analysis, 703-38. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.




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