About this Fellow
Bernard Comrie studied Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics at the University of Cambridge, taking his Ph.D. in 1972. Having taught previously at the University of Cambridge and the University of Southern California and served as Director of the Department of Linguistics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, he is currently Distinguished Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a member of the Academia Europaea, a corresponding fellow of the British Academy of Sciences, a corresponding member of the Saxon Academy of Sciences, a foreign member of the Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Professor Comrie's main interests are language universals and typology, historical linguistics, linguistic fieldwork, and languages of the Caucasus – he is currently combining the last two interests by preparing descriptive grammars of two languages of Daghestan, Tsez and Bezhta. In his work on typology, he has undertaken the cross-linguistic examination of tense-aspect systems, causative constructions, relative clauses, nominalizations, reference-tracking devices, ditransitive constructions, valency classes, and numeral systems. A special interest is the use of evidence from different disciplines, in particular linguistics, genetics, and archeology, in order to solve problems relating to prehistoric human migrations and contact.
- Distinguished Faculty Professor of Linguistics, University of California, Santa Barbara
The history of the English language, particularly of the Early Modern English period; historical sociolinguistics; language variation and change; corpus linguistics; design and compilation of digital text corpora
Theoretical linguistics; syntax; the syntax of Germanic languages; the syntax of Japanese
The origins and evolution of language; the interactions between individual cognition, cultural transmission and biological evolution in human populations; art / science collaboration