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Elly van Gelderen

Professor of English, Arizona State University

Elly van Gelderen is a syntactician interested in language change. Her work shows how regular syntactic change (grammaticalization and the linguistic cycle) provides insight into the faculty of language. Her 2011 book, "The Linguistic Cycle: Language Change and the Language Faculty" (Oxford University Press) shows how cyclical change can be accounted for through an economy principle. Her "Clause Structure" (Cambridge University Press, 2013) examines a number of current debates in theoretical syntax. She is currently working on the history of argument structure, such as how unaccusatives and unergatives change in very different directions in "The Diachrony of Meaning" (Routledge 2018). Her related interests are the evolution of language, biolinguistics, prescriptivism, authorship debates, and code switching.

Elly is the author of eleven books and eighty or so articles/chapters in journals such as Linguistic Analysis, Studia Linguistica, Word, and Linguistic Inquiry. She is also the co-editor of two book series and has herself edited or co-edited eight books and special issues. Elly has taught at ASU since 1995.


  • –present
    Professor of English, Arizona State University