Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics (RCEAL)

Professor John Hawkins

Picture of Professor Hawkins Professor John Hawkins received his PhD in Linguistics from Cambridge in 1975, after an MA specialising in Linguistics and Germanic languages (including Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse). The topic of his dissertation was definite and indefinite reference in English.

He has held permanent positions at the University of Essex (1973-77), the Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen (1982-85), and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (1977-2004). Visiting appointments include UCLA, Berkeley, the Free University of Berlin, the University of Potsdam, the University of Copenhagen, and the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.

He has written Definiteness and Indefiniteness (1978, Humanities Press & Croom Helm), Word Order Universals (1983, Academic Press), A Comparative Typology of English and German (1986, Routledge & University of Texas Press), A Performance Theory of Order and Constituency (1994, Cambridge University Press), and Efficiency and Complexity in Grammars (2004, Oxford University Press). He edited Explaining Language Universals (1988, Basil Blackwell) and The Evolution of Human Languages (with Murray Gell-Mann, 1992, Addison-Wesley).

His current research interests include: English grammar from a psycholinguistic perspective; general principles of efficiency and complexity in language and their predictions for performance, grammar, acquisition and change; typology and universals; and pragmatics.