About this Fellow
Born in 1939 in Sussex, he spent the first five years in various parts of the UK, followed by three years in New Zealand (1945-8). He spent the rest of his boyhood living in Nottinghamshire, and attending Loughborough Grammar School (which is in Leicestershire). After three years at Corpus Christi College Cambridge he moved to London to do a PhD in SOAS, and has been in London ever since. He spent the whole of his working life at UCL, and is proud still to be attached to UCL as an Emeritus Professor of Linguistics, and also to be a Fellow of the British Academy. He has a wife (Gaynor) and two grown-up daughters (Lucy and Alice) and a grandson (Peter). He lives in North London, where he enjoys walking in Alexandra Park and doing neighbourly things through 'WERA' (of which he is the webmaster). Even after retirement, his ambition is to build bridges between linguistics and psychology; and between linguistics and education. His main achievements are the theory of Word Grammar and the UK Linguistics Olympiad.
- Emeritus Professor of Linguistics, University College London
- Lecturer, Reader then Professor of Linguistics, University College London, 1970
- Emeritus Professor of Linguistics, University College London, University College London, 1989
Historical linguistics, Italian, Romance, Latin
Historical and comparative syntax of the Romance, Germanic and Celtic languages; grammatical analysis adopting and adapting the concepts and techniques of Chomskyan generative theory.
Oral and written literatures of Africa; orality, performance and genre in the popular cultures of West Africa with particular reference to Hausa-speaking regions of Nigeria and Niger
Synchronic and diachronic morpho-phonology of Germanic and Indo-Aryan language families, and psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic research on the phonological and morphological representations of the mental lexicon