Aarhus Universitets segl

Jan Rijkhoff


Emeritus, PhD (University of Amsterdam, 1992)

Primær tilknytning

Jan Rijkhoff




From 1990 to 1994 I was a core member of the EuroTyp project (funded by the European Science Foundation) and in 1995 I held a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung at the University of Konstanz (Germany). Before coming to the University of Aarhus (Denmark), I was a visiting scholar at the University of Texas at Austin (1997–1999). I hold a BA in Dutch language and literature from the Free University Amsterdam (VU) and an MA and a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

My main areas of research are linguistic typology, parts-of-speech, lexical semantics (especially nominal aspect and Seinsart) and grammatical theory, in particular semantic and morpho–syntactic parallels between the NP and the sentence within the theoretical framework of Simon C. Dik’s Functional Grammar (Dik 1997) and its successor Functional Discourse Grammar (Hengeveld & Mackenzie 2008).

I have authored or co-authored papers in these areas for Journal of Linguistics, Journal of Semantics, Linguistics, Studies in Language, Linguistic Typology, Functions of Language, Acta Linguistica Hafniensia, Italian Journal of Linguistics (Rivista di Linguistica), Language and Linguistics Compass, Belgian Journal of Linguistics and contributed to various anthologies, handbooks etc., such as Approaches to the Typology of Word Classes (Vogel & Comrie eds. 2000), Theory and Practice in Functional-Cognitive Space (M. de los Ángeles Gómez González et al. eds. 2014), International Handbook of Typology (Haspelmath et al. eds. 2001), The Expression of Possession (McGregor ed. 2009), Rethinking Universals: How rarities affect linguistic theory (Wohlgemuth & Cysouw eds. 2010), Handbook of Mereology (H. Burkhardt, J. Seibt & G. Imaguire eds. 2017), Elsevier’s International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (2nd edition, 2015), the Oxford Handbook of Word Classes (Eva van Lier ed. 2023) and the Oxford Handbook of Determiners (Martina Wiltschko & Solveiga Armoskaite eds. – to appear).

My book The Noun Phrase (Oxford University Press 2002Hb/2004Pb) investigates NPs in a representative sample of the world’s languages and proposes a four-layered, semantic model to describe their underlying structure in any language. It examines the semantic and morpho-syntactic properties of the constituents of NPs, and in doing so it shows that the NP word order patterns of any language can be derived from three universal ordering principles. On this topic, see also Rijkhoff 2024, 'Nouns and Iconicity of Distance: when syntactic proximity to the noun mirrors semantic closeness', in Laure Gardelle et al. (eds.), Nouns and the Morphosyntax / Semantics Interface, 295-349. London: Palgrave Macmillan. A five-layered meaning-function based NP structure was proposed in an anthology I edited with Daniel García Velasco (Universidad de Oviedo, Spain): The Noun Phrase in Functional Discourse Grammar (2006 – Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter).

My current research is concerned with categories, modification, the parts-of-speech hierarchy, the semantics of flexible word classes, the relation between form and function, and various aspects of NPs in Functional Discourse Grammar. My most recent book publication (2013) is an anthology entitled Flexible Word Classes (co-editor: Eva van Lier) for Oxford University Press.

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