Joel C. Wallenberg

About Me:

Image I am currently Lecturer in Language Change at Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, and a Principle Investigator at Newcastle's Centre for Behaviour and Evolution (CBE). I was recently an NSF post-doctoral fellow at the University of Iceland, where my collaborators and I built a syntactically parsed, diachronic corpus of Icelandic,

  • The Icelandic Parsed Historical Corpus (IcePaHC)
  • .

    Take this little baby. He doesn't know shit about social stratification.
    --William Labov, p.c.

    Current Research

    I work on syntactic theory (especially scrambling and testing predictions of the Antisymmetry Hypothesis), morphosyntactic variation, language change in all its aspects, methods for building and analyzing diachronic syntactically parsed corpora, and poetic metrics. I am particularly interested in using the syntactic variation (both historical and modern) among the Germanic languages and dialects to investigate questions in these areas, especially with regard to the relationship between syntactic change, language acquisition, and language contact.

    I'm recently most excited about three new areas of my research:
      1) applying models from mathematical evolutionary theory to the acquisition and
      spread of new linguistic changes
      2) sociolinguistic variation and its place in the grammar, especially deriving the
      difference between stable variation and change in progress from independent
      principles of language change
      3) birdsong syntax, and the poorly studied area of corvid song


    I received my Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania, and it focused on scrambling, the Antisymmetry Hypothesis, and syntactic change (especially in Germanic). The thesis is entitled Antisymmetry and the Conservation of C-Command: Scrambling and Phrase Structure in Synchronic and Diachronic Perspective.

    Curriculum Vitae

    Selected Publications

    Extraposition is Disappearing Language 92: 4, e237-e256

    2013 with Caroline Heycock
    Explaining the loss of verb movement: How embedded V2 and V-in-situ conspired against V-to-T. Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 16, 2-3: 127--157

    2013 Scrambling, LF, and Phrase Structure Change in Yiddish. Lingua 133: 289-318

    To appear Antisymmetry and Heavy NP Shift Across Germanic, PDF DRAFT. Syntax over Time: Lexical, Morphological and Information-Structural Interactions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Presented at DIGS 12, 2009. Slides

    2012 Language Acquisition in German and Phrase Structure Change in Yiddish, PDF DRAFT. Parameter Theory and Linguistic Change . Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Presented at DIGS 11, 2009. Slides

    To appear with Josef Fruehwald and Jonathan Gress-Wright
    Phonological Rule Change: The Constant Rate Effect, PDF
    Proceedings NELS 40
    Presented at NELS 40, 2009

    2008 with Mark Dredze
    Further Results and Analysis of Icelandic Part of Speech Tagging, PDF
    Technical Report MS-CIS-08-13, Department of Computer and Information Science, University of Pennsylvania

    2008 with Mark Dredze
    Icelandic Data Driven Part of Speech Tagging, PDF
    Proceedings of The 46th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computation Linguistics (ACL)
    Presented at ACL 46

    2007 English Weak Pronouns and Object Shift, PDF
    Proceedings of the 26th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, 27-29 April, 2007, University of California at Berkeley. Cascadilla Press.

    2006 Formal linguistics meets the Boojum: metrical variation in Lewis Carroll’s verse, PDF
    Proceedings of the 31st Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, University of California at Berkeley
    Presented at BLS 31

    2005 The Story of the American –self: a case study in morphological variation, PDF
    Penn Working Papers in Linguistics Vol. 11.1: Proceedings of the 28th Annual Penn Linguistics Colloquium
    Presented at PLC 28

    Selected Presentations

    A theory of variational specialization across domains of the grammar Slides
    Talk presented at the 7th International Conference on Formal Linguistics
    Nankai University, Tianjin, China
    December 3, 2016

    Towards a model of variational specialization in acquisition Slides
    Talk presented at project meeting
    University of Iceland
    October 6, 2016

    (with Anne-Marie Karatzenis, Josef Fruehwald, and Danielle Turton)
    Gender and linguistic variation: a role for hormonal organising effects
    Poster presented at the UK Language Change and Variation (UKLVC) 10
    University of York
    September 2, 2015

    (with Betsy Sneller) Allophonic Emergence: three ways allophonic rules come to be Slides
    Presented at the Formal Ways of Analyzing Variation (FWAV) Workshop
    Háskóli Íslands
    May 28, 2015

    Gender and linguistic variation: a role for hormonal organising effects? Slides and video!
    Presented at the Workshop on Language Variation and Change and Cultural Evolution
    University of York
    February 14, 2015

    A unified theory of stable variation, syntactic optionality, and syntactic change. Slides
    Presented at 15th Diachronic Generative Syntax (DiGS) Conference. DiGS 15
    University of Ottawa (L'Úniversité d'Ottawa).
    August 2, 2013

    2013     with Josef Fruehwald
    Optionality is Stable Variation is Competing Grammars. Slides
    Presented at 25th Scandinavian Conference of Linguistics, Formal Ways of Analyzing Variation (FWAV) Workshop. SCL 25
    Háskóli Íslands (University of Iceland).
    May 15, 2013

    2012     with Anton Karl Ingason and Einar Freyr Sigurðsson
    Antisocial Syntax: Disentangling the Icelandic VO/OV parameter and its lexical remains. Slides
    Presented at 14th Meeting of the Diachronic Generative Syntax (DIGS) Conference DIGS 14
    University of Lisboa.
    July 6, 2012

    2012     Diachrony as a Laboratory for Syntactic Theory: the two Germanic subject positions and change in English. Slides
    University of York.
    January 25, 2012.

    2011     with Anton Karl Ingason and Einar Freyr Sigurðsson
    Distinguishing change and stability – a quantitative study of Icelandic oblique subjects Slides
    Presented at 13th Meeting of the Diachronic Generative Syntax (DIGS) Conference DIGS 13
    University of Pennsylvania.
    June 4, 2011

    2011     with Caitlin Light
    On the use of passives across Germanic Slides
    Presented at 13th Meeting of the Diachronic Generative Syntax (DIGS) Conference DIGS 13
    University of Pennsylvania.
    June 5, 2011

    2011     Towards A Field of Comparative Quantitative Information Structure Slides
    Presented at 9th Meeting of the Symposium on Historical English Syntax (SHES) SHES 9
    University of Leiden.
    April 17, 2011

    2010     What Doesn’t Change, Doesn’t Change:
    antisymmetry and HNPS across Germanic.
    Handout Slides
    Presented at 12th Meeting of the Diachronic Generative Syntax (DIGS) Conference DIGS 12
    Queens College, University of Cambridge.
    July 14, 2010

    2010     Antisymmetry and the Information Structure
    of Heavy NP Shift Across Germanic.
    Presented at 25th Meeting of the Comparative Germanic Syntax Workshop CGSW 25
    University of Tromsø, Norway.
    June 11, 2010

    2010     with Anton Karl Ingason and Einar Freyr Sigurðsson
    Extending the Comparative Dimension of Diachronic Syntax:
    A Parsed Corpus of Icelandic from the 12th Century to Modern Times
    . Slides
    Presented at University of Massachusetts, Amherst May 11, 2010
    and at New York University, May 14 2010

    2010     with Anton Karl Ingason and Einar Freyr Sigurðsson
    12th Century Homilies: the cutting edge in parsing. Slides
    Presented at Íslensk Máltækni 2010
    Háskólinn í Reykjavík (Reykjavík University) April 15, 2010