Academic Profiles

Research Interests

  • typology
  • morphology (especially Network Morphology)
  • morphosyntactic features
  • the Slavonic language family especially Russian
  • colour terms (joint work with Ian Davies, Psychology)

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Phone: 01483 68 2849

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Journal articles

  • Corbett GG. (2014) 'Morphosyntactic complexity: a typology of lexical splits'. Language,
    [ Status: Accepted ]
  • Fedden S, Brown DP, Corbett GG, Holton G, Klamer M, Robinson LC, Schapper A. (2013) 'Conditions on pronominal marking in the Alor-Pantar languages'. De Gruyter Linguistics, 51 (1), pp. 33-74.


    We examine the varying role of conditions on grammatical relations marking (namely animacy and volitionality) by looking at different languages of one family, using both existing descriptions and working with specially prepared video stimuli. This enables us to see the degree of variation permitted within closely related languages. We look at four Alor-Pantar languages (Teiwa, Adang, Kamang, and Abui), Papuan languages of eastern Indonesia. The conditions on argument marking are manifested in different ways. Those languages with syntactic alignment index objects with a prefix, those which have semantic alignment index objects and some subjects with a prefix. In 42 video clips we systematically varied animacy and volitionality values for participants in one and two-participant events. These clips were used in fieldwork to elicit descriptions of the events. The data show that animacy of the object is an important factor which favours indexation of the object on the verb in all four languages to varying degrees. Volitionality, on the other hand, is a factor in the semantically aligned languages only. While the presence of a prefix on the verb is semantically motivated in many instances, marking is not directly determined by verbal or participant semantics, and lexical factors must also play a role.

  • Corbett GG, Brown DP, Fedden S, Hippisley A, Marriott P. (2013) 'Grammatical typology and frequency analysis: Number availability and number use.'. Journal of Language Modelling 1.227-241, 1 (2), pp. 227-241.
  • Enger HO, Corbett GG. (2012) 'Definiteness, Gender, and Hybrids: Evidence from Norwegian Dialects'. Cambridge University Press Journal of Germanic Linguistics, 24 (4), pp. 287-324.


    In some Norwegian dialects, such as older Oslo dialect, the noun mamma ‘mother’ unexpectedly appears to be masculine. The Nordreisa dialect (Northern Norwegian) goes one step further. The word looks like it is masculine, but only in the definite form. This is an unusual “split” because gender mixture is normally based on number, not definiteness (but we find some few corroborative examples in other Norwegian dialects and different, but converging evidence on the Web). The Nordreisa example of mamma is unusual also because agreement targets are affected differently. The preference is for masculine agreement within the noun phrase, but for feminine agreement outside it. This is, therefore, an intriguing example since it combines a split based on definiteness with different gender requirements according to different agreement targets. On careful analysis, and given strict adherence to the classical, agreement-based definition of gender, the unusual behavior of mamma turns out to conform to the Agreement Hierarchy

  • Brown DP, Chumakina, M , Corbett G, Popova, G. , Spencer, A. . (2012) 'Defining ‘periphrasis’: key notions'. Springer Link Morphology, 22 (2), pp. 233-275.
  • Corbett GG. (2011) 'The penumbra of morphosyntactic feature systems'. Springer Morphology, 21 (2), pp. 445-480.


    Often features are presented as clean, neat, simple. Indeed it is the contrast with the idiosyncrasies of lexical items which gives the intuitive justification for features. But reality is more complex. There are many instances where it is arguable whether we should postulate a feature (value), as with person in Archi. We must recognize that feature systems vary: (a) according to how well founded they are, and (b) in how they distribute across the lexicon. To analyse this difficult area, the penumbra of feature systems, I start from an idealized view, and then plot the deviations from that ideal. In other words, I take a ‘canonical’ approach. Having justified this approach in general terms, I propose a specific set of converging criteria for canonical features and values, concentrating on the genuine morphosyntactic features. In brief, the overarching principles are that a canonical morphosyntactic feature is constrained by simple rules of syntax (including the claim that syntax is ‘morphology-free’) and has robust formal marking. These give us a point in the theoretical space from which to calibrate the difficult instances which abound in feature systems. In accounts of particular features, various types of what we may call non-canonical behaviour have been pointed out: e.g., non-autonomous case values (Zaliznjak 1973), minor numbers, inquorate genders. We should ask whether these problems are feature-specific or whether they recur in the different morphosyntactic features. It turns out that, at the right level of abstraction, we find similar instances of non-canonicity with the different features. Let us concentrate on the criteria contributing to ‘robust formal marking’: Criterion 1: Canonical features and their values have dedicated forms. We find non-autonomous case values (violating criterion 1), in Classical Armenian, for instance (Baerman 2002); similarly we find non-autonomous gender values (as in Romanian). Criterion 2: Canonical features and their values are uniquely distinguishable across other logically compatible features and their values. Deviations give sub-genders (Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian), sub-cases (Russian) and sub-numbers (Biak). Criterion 3: Canonical features and their values are distinguished consistently across relevant parts of speech (word classes). In the easy examples, one part of speech has values which represent a collapsing of values available on another. More interesting are systems where combinations give ad

  • Krasovitsky A, Baerman M, Brown DP, Corbett GG. (2011) 'Changing semantic factors in case selection: Russian evidence from the last two centuries'. Springer Verlag Morphology, 21 (3), pp. 573-592.


    We present a corpus-based study of variation in case assignment of the direct object of negated verbs in Russian over the past 200 years. Superficially the system of case forms available over this relatively short period has remained largely the same, but the way in which certain cases are used has been radically altered. This is particularly apparent in the treatment of the direct object of negated verbs. We argue that various semantic factors have been involved in bringing about this change, and that the role and significance of these factors has been changing over the period under investigation. This has implications for our understanding of the role of semantics in case assignment.

  • Corbett GG. (2010) 'Canonical derivational morphology'. Edinburgh University Press Word Structure, 3 (2), pp. 141-155.


    The approach of Canonical Typology has proved fruitful for investigating a range of problems in syntax, inflectional morphology and most recently in phonology. It is therefore logical to take a canonical approach to derivational morphology. It provides a new perspective on some old issues, showing how previous key ideas fit together. The criteria proposed prove to have some degree of external justification. And from the point of view of canonical typology the results are particularly promising, since the criteria are interestingly different from those proposed in other domains.

  • Corbett GG. (2010) 'A Canonical Approach to Case in Slavonic (kanonski pristup padežima u slavenskim jezicima)'. Sintaksa padeža: Zbornik radova znanstvenoga skupa: Drugi hrvatski sintaktički dani, Croatia: , pp. 57-74.
  • Corbett GG. (2010) 'Agreement in Slavic'. Glossos, 10, pp. 1-61.
  • Krasovitsky A, Long A, Baerman M, Brown D, Corbett GG. (2008) 'Predicate nouns in Russian'. Russian Linguistics, 32 (2), pp. 99-113.
  • Hippisley A, Davies IRL, Corbett GG. (2008) 'The basic colour terms of Lower Sorbian and Upper Sorbian and their typological relevance'. john Benjamins Studies in Language, 32 (1), pp. 56-92.


    Berlin & Kay's basic colour term framework claims that there is an ordering in the diachronic development of languages' colour systems. One generalisation is that primary colours, WHITE, BLACK, RED, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE, are lexicalised before derived colours, which are perceptual blends, e.g. ORANGE is the blend of YELLOW and RED. The colour systems of Lower Sorbian and Upper Sorbian offer an important typological contribution. It is already known that primary colour space can contract upon the emergence of a basic derived term; our findings indicate that derived categories also shift as colour systems develop. Tsakhur offers corroborating evidence.

  • Corbett GG. (2007) 'Canonical typology, suppletion and possible words'. Linguistic Society of America Language, 83 (1), pp. 8-42.


    We specify a typology for the extreme of inflectional morphology, namely suppletion (as in go ~ went). This is an unusual enterprise within typology, and it requires a ‘canonical’ approach. That is, we define the canonical or best instance, through a set of converging criteria, and use this point in theoretical space to locate the various occurring types. Thus the criteria establish the dimensions along which we find the specific instances of suppletion, allowing us to calibrate examples out from the canonical. The criteria fall into two main areas, those internal to the lexeme and those external to it. Moreover, we find interactions with other morphological phenomena, and discuss four of them: syncretism, periphrasis, overdifferentiation and reduplication. These remarkable instances of suppletion, particularly when in interaction with other phenomena, extend the boundary of the notion ‘possible word’. Besides laying out the possibilities for the specific phenomenon of suppletion, we show how a canonical approach allows us to make progress in typology, even in the most challenging areas.

  • Brown D, Corbett GG, Tiberius C. (2007) 'The alignment of form and function: Corpus-based evidence from Russian'. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 12 (4), pp. 511-534.
  • Chumakina M, Kibort A, Corbett GG. (2007) 'Determining a language’s feature inventory: person in Archi'. Helmut Buske Endangered Languages (special issue of Linguistische Berichte), 14, pp. 143-172.


    In descriptions of languages, we make use of morphosyntactic features such as gender, number or person. This paper shows that sometimes choosing the features and values to describe a language is not straightforward, and the decision of whether or not to use a particular feature requires careful consideration. Thus, when determining a language’s feature inventory, we should consider both why we posit a given feature, and how many values to posit for the feature. In our case study we look closely at the Daghestanian language Archi. It is usually assumed that languages have a person feature, but with Archi this is not self-evident. Archi (like some related languages) has no unique forms for agreement in person, and the standard descriptions of this language do not involve the feature person. However, the agreement patterns in Archi may be interpreted in favour of the presence of this feature, despite the absence of any phonologically distinct forms realising it. Thus, we claim that Archi does have the feature of person that had not been recognised for this language before. We also give a brief overview of the category of person in the languages of Daghestan.

  • Baerman M, Corbett GG. (2007) 'Linguistic typology: Morphology'. Linguistic Typology, 11 (1), pp. 115-117.
  • Corbett GG. (2006) 'Gender, Grammatical'. Encyclopedia of Language & Linguistics, , pp. 749-756.
  • Corbett GG, Baerman M. (2006) 'Prolegomena to a typology of morphological features'. Morphology, 16 (2), pp. 231-246.


    Morphological features characterize variations in morphological form which are independent of syntactic context. They contrast with morphosyntactic features, which characterize variations in form correlated with different syntactic contexts. Morphological features account for formal variation across lexemes (inflectional class), as well as morphosyntactically incoherent alternations within the paradigm of a single lexeme. Such morphological features are not available to the syntax, as is made explicit in the principle of 'morphology-free syntax'. Building on work on stress patterns in Network Morphology and on stems in Paradigm Function Morphology, we take initial steps towards a typology of these morphological features. We identify four types: inflectional class features (affixal and prosodic), stem indexing features, syncretic index features and morphophonological features. Then we offer a first list of criteria for distinguishing them from morphosyntactic features (independently of the principle of morphology-free syntax). Finally we review the arguments demonstrating the need to recognize morphological features. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007.

  • Corbett GG. (2005) 'Suppletion in personal pronouns: theory versus practice, and the place of reproducibility in typology'. Linguistic Typology, 9, pp. 1-23.
  • Hippisley A, Chumakina M, Corbett GG, Brown D. (2004) 'Suppletion: Frequency, categories and distribution of stems'. Studies in Language, 28 (2), pp. 387-418.
  • Chumakina M, Hippisley A, Corbett GG. (2004) 'Istoriceskie izmenenija v russkoj leksike: slucaj cereduju?cegosja suppletivizma [Historical changes in the Russian lexicon: a case of alternating suppletion]'. Russian Linguistics, 28, pp. 281-315.
  • Corbett GG. (2003) 'Agreement: The range of the phenomenon and the principles of the Surrey Database of Agreement.'. Blackwell Agreement: A Typological Perspective (special number of Transactions of the Philogical Society, 101 (2), pp. 155-202.


    Agreement is approached from the analytical decisions required for constructing a typological database. The Surrey Database of Agreement provides detailed, highly structured information on the agreement systems of fifteen genetically diverse languages. The range of material included and the criteria for inclusion are set out here. There is then detailed discussion of the difficult cases, in particular the dividing line between agreement markers and pronominal affixes. The criteria relevant to this distinction are in part drawn from the literature and in part new. The aim is that the criteria adopted should be fully clear, so that linguists of different persuasions can use the database for their varying purposes.

  • Evans N, Brown DP, Corbett GG. (2002) 'The Semantics of Gender in Mayali: partially parallel systems and formal implementation'. Language, 78 (1), pp. 111-155.
  • Corbett GG. (1999) 'Introduction'. Mouton de Gruyter Folia Linguistica, 33 (1-2), pp. 103-108.
  • Corbett GG. (1999) 'The place of agreement features in a specification of possible agreement systems'. Mouton de Gruyter Folia Linguistica, 33 (1-2), pp. 211-224.
  • Davies IRL, Sosenskaja T, Corbett GG. (1999) 'Colours in Tsakhur: First account of the basic colour terms of a Nakh-Daghestanian language'. Walter de Gruyter Linguistic Typology, 3 (2), pp. 179-207.
  • Brown DP, Corbett GG, Fraser N, Timberlake A. (1996) 'Russian Noun Stress and Network Morphology'. Linguistics, 34 (1), pp. 53-107.
  • Davies IRL, Corbett GG. (1994) 'The basic colour terms of Russian'. Walter de Gruyter Linguistics, 32 (1), pp. 65-90.
  • Davies IRL, MacDermid C, Corbett GG, McGurk H, Jerrett D, Jerrett T, Sowden P. (1992) 'Color terms in Setswana: a linguistic and perceptual approach.'. Walter de Gruyter Linguistics, 30 (6), pp. 1065-1104.
  • Hayward RJ, Corbett GG. (1988) 'Resolution rules in Qafar'. Walter de Gruyter Linguistics, 26 (2), pp. 259-280.

Conference papers

  • Corbett GG. (2011) 'Split Lexemes in Slavonic'. Sreto Tanasić (editor) Gramatika i leksika u slovenskim jezicima: Zbornik radova s međunarodnog simpozijuma, 113-123. Novi Sad / Belgrade: Matica srpska / Institut za srpski jezik SANU.,
  • Corbett GG. (2011) 'The Unique Challenge of the Archi Paradigm'. Berkeley, California : Berkely Linguistics Society Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics. Special Session on Languages of the Caucasus, Berkeley, California: 37th Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: Special Session on Languages of the Caucasus, pp. 52-67.
  • Corbett GG. (2010) 'Classic problems at the syntax-morphology interface:whose are they?'. Paris, France : CSLI Publications Proceedings of the HPSG10 Conference, Universite Paris Diderot: 17th international Conference on HPSG, pp. 255-268.
  • Baerman M, Corbett GG. (2010) 'A typology of inflectional class interaction.'. Budapest, Hungary: 14th International Morphology Meeting
  • Corbett GG. (2010) 'Features in typology'. DGfS-CNRS Leipzig: Summer School on Linguistic Typology
  • Corbett GG, Baerman M. (2010) 'Deep irregularity: when the expected lexical splits follow the wrong pattern'. Budapest, Hungary: 14th International morphology Meeting
  • Corbett GG. (2009) 'WORDS: forms, uses and complexity.'. University of Edinburgh: Linguistics Association of Great Britain, Golden Jubilee Meeting
  • Corbett GG. (2009) 'Canonical inflectional classes.'. Somerville, MA : Cascadilla Proceedings Project Selected Proceedings of the 6th Décembrettes: Morphology in Bordeaux, Athénée Municipal in Bordeaux: Décembrettes 6, pp. 1-11.


    The author uses a 'canonical' approach to offer a new perspective on the complex phenomenon of inflectional classes. This means extrapolating from what there is to what there might be, in order to define the theoretical space into which real instances fit. To do this, the author proposes eight criteria, grouped under two overarching principles. These are: I. distinctiveness: canonical inflectional classes are as clearly distinct as possible; and II. independence: the distribution of lexical items over canonical inflectional classes is unmotivated. The author investigates the various deviations from these principles, by considering in turn the more detailed criteria which exemplify them. While one might reasonably expect that 'canonical inflectional class' is an ideal without exemplars, the author finds an example which comes remarkably close to canonical.

  • Corbett GG. (2009) 'Gradience in morphosyntactic features'.
  • Corbett GG. (2009) 'Politeness as a feature: so important and so rare.'. Osnabruck: 31st Annual Meeting of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Sprachwissenschaft
  • Corbett GG, Brown DP, Chumakina M. (2008) 'Prolegomena to a typology of periphrasis'. Vienna: 13th International Morphology Meeting
  • Corbett GG. (2007) 'Morphosyntactic features: issues in typology and theory'. MPI Leipzig
  • Corbett GG. (2007) 'Justifying morphosyntactic features and their values and The typology of features'. Stanford University: LSA LInguistic Institute
  • Corbett GG. (2007) 'Deponency, syncretism and what lies between.'. Oxford : British Academy and Oxford University Press Deponency and Morphological Mismatches., Workshop on Deponency, British Academy, pp. 21-43.
  • Corbett GG. (2007) 'The typology of morphosyntactic features can we keep it simple?'. University of York:
  • Corbett GG. (2007) 'Gradience in morphosyntactic features'. 43rd Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society
  • Corbett GG. (2006) 'Features: Germanic and typological aspects'. The University at Illinois, Urbana-Champaign : Twelth Germanic Linguistics Annual Conference (GLAC-12)
  • Corbett GG. (2006) 'Determining features and their values'. Freie Universität, Berlin : International Workshop "New Perspectives on Morphological Change
  • Corbett GG. (2006) 'Gender as a key morphosyntactic feature'. Eastern Michigan University : Ontology Workshop


  • Corbett GG. (2013) The Expression of Gender. Berlin, Germany : De Gruyter Mouton 6
  • Chumakina M, Corbett GG. (2012) Periphrasis. The Role of Syntax and Morphology in Paradigms. Oxford University Press/British Academy


    Periphrasis straddles the border between two major linguistic components, morphology and syntax. It describes a situation where a grammatical meaning, such as a tense, which could be expected to be expressed morphologically within a word, is instead expressed by a syntactic phrase. Inclusion of syntactic phrases in morphological paradigms creates analytical and theoretical problems that have yet to be resolved by linguists, who have been hampered by the rather narrow range of data available for consideration and by a lack of adequate theoretical devices. This book addresses the challenge by broadening the range of phenomena under discussion and presenting new theoretical approaches to the problem of periphrasis. Part I takes four key languages from diverse families - Nakh-Daghestanian, Gunwinyguan (Australian), Uralic and Indo-European - as examples of languages in which periphrasis poses particular problems for current linguistic theories. Part II views periphrasis in different contexts, determining its place within the morphological and syntactic systems of the languages it is found in, its relations to other linguistic phenomena, and the typological variation represented by periphrastic constructions. Treating periphrasis as a morphological and syntactic phenomenon at the same time and applying the criteria worked out within the Canonical Typology approach allows linguists to view periphrasis as a family of phenomena within a typological space of syntactic constructions used to fulfil grammatical functions.

  • Brown DP, Chumakina M, Corbett GG. (2012) Canonical Morphology and Syntax. Oxford University Press


    This is the first book to present Canonical Typology, a framework for comparing constructions and categories across languages. The canonical method takes the criteria used to define particular categories or phenomena (eg negation, finiteness, possession) to create a multidimensional space in which language-specific instances can be placed. In this way, the issue of fit becomes a matter of greater or lesser proximity to a canonical ideal. Drawing on the expertise of world class scholars in the field, the book addresses the issue of cross-linguistic comparability, illustrates the range of areas - from morphosyntactic features to reported speech - to which linguists are currently applying this methodology, and explores to what degree the approach succeeds in discovering the elusive canon of linguistic phenomena.

  • Corbett GG. (2012) Features. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press


    Features are a central concept in linguistic analysis. They are the basic building blocks of linguistic units, such as words. For many linguists they offer the most revealing way to explore the nature of language. Familiar features are Number (singular, plural, dual, …), Person (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and Tense (present, past, …). Features have a major role in contemporary linguistics, from the most abstract theorizing to the most applied computational applications, yet little is firmly established about their status. They are used, but are little discussed and poorly understood. In this unique work, Corbett brings together two lines of research: how features vary between languages and how they work. As a result, the book is of great value to the broad range of perspectives of those who are interested in language.

  • Kibort A, Corbett GG. (2010) Features: perspective on a key notion in linguistics.. Oxford : Oxford University Press


    Offers new perspectives on basic elements of linguistic analysis Subject is of interest to all linguists Important for both theoretical and empirical research Written by prominent, international scholars This book presents a critical overview of current work on linguistic features and establishes new bases for their use in the study and understanding of language. Features are fundamental components of linguistic description: they include gender (feminine, masculine, neuter); number (singular, plural, dual); person (1st, 2nd, 3rd); tense (present, past, future); and case (nominative, accusative, genitive, ergative). Despite their ubiquity and centrality in linguistic description, much remains to be discovered about them: there is, for example, no readily available inventory showing which features are found in which of the world's languages; there is no consensus about how they operate across different components of language; and there is no certainty about how they interact. This book seeks at once to highlight and to tackle these problems. It brings together perspectives from phonology to formal syntax and semantics, expounding the use of linguistic features in typology, computer applications, and logic. Linguists representing different standpoints spell out clearly the assumptions they bring to different kinds of feature and describe how they use them. Their contrasting contributions highlight the areas of difference and the common ground between their perspectives. The book brings together original work by leading international scholars. It will appeal to linguists of all theoretical persuasions. Readership: Linguists of all theoretical persuasions - including syntacticians, morphologists, computational linguists, and typologists - and their postgraduate students.

  • Baerman M, Corbett GG, Brown DP. (2010) Defective Paradigms: missing forms and what they tell us. Oxford : Oxford University Press 163


    An important design feature of language is the use of productive patterns in inflection. In English, we have pairs such as 'enjoy' ~ 'enjoyed', 'agree' ~ 'agreed', and many others. On the basis of this productive pattern, if we meet a new verb 'transduce' we know that there will be the form 'transduced'. Even if the pattern is not fully regular, there will be a form available, as in 'understand' ~ 'understood'. Surprisingly, this principle is sometimes violated, a phenomenon known as defectiveness, which means there is a gap in a word's set of forms: for example, given the verb 'forego', many if not most people are unwilling to produce a past tense. Although such gaps have been known to us since the days of Classical grammarians, they remain poorly understood. Defectiveness contradicts basic assumptions about the way inflectional rules operate, because it seems to require that speakers know that for certain words, not only should one not employ the expected rule, one should not employ any rule at all. This is a serious problem, since it is probably safe to say that all reigning models of grammar were designed as if defectiveness did not exist, and would lose a considerable amount of their elegance if it were properly factored in. This volume addressed these issues from a number of analytical approaches - historical, statistical and theoretical - and by using studies from a range of languages.

  • Corbett GG, Noonan M. (2008) Case and grammatical relations: studies in honor of Bernard Comrie. Amsterdam : John Benjamins Publishing Company


    The papers in this volume can be grouped into two broad, overlapping classes: those dealing primarily with case and those dealing primarily with grammatical relations. With regard to case, topics include descriptions of the case systems of two Caucasian languages, the problems of determining how many cases Russian has and whether Hungarian has a case system at all, the issue of case-combining, the retention of the dative in Swedish dialects, and genitive objects in the languages of Europe. With regard to grammatical relations, topics include the order of obliques in OV and VO languages, the effects of the referential hierarchy on the distribution of grammatical relations, the problem of whether the passive requires a subject category, the relation between subjecthood and definiteness, and the issue of how the loss of case and aspectual systems triggers the use of compensatory mechanisms in heritage Russian.

  • Baerman M, Corbett , Brown DP, Hippisley AR. (2007) Deponency and Morphological Mismatches. Oxford University Press
  • Chumakina M, Brown DP, Quilliam H, Corbett GG. (2007) Slovar´ arčinskogo jazyka (arčinsko-russko-anglijskij) [A dictionary of Archi: Archi-Russian-English]. Makhachkala : Delovoj Mir, xxiv + 410 pp.


    A Dictionary of the Archi (Daghestanian) Language including word sounds and illustrations.

    Archi is spoken by about 1200 people in a remote mountain region in Daghestan. The language is characterised by remarkable phonetics, a very high degree of irregularity in all its inflecting word classes and by its morphological system, with extremely large paradigms. Archi culture is one of the most distinctive and best-preserved cultures of Daghestan

  • Corbett GG. (2006) Agreement. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press , pp. 1-328.
  • Baerman M, Brown DP, Corbett GG. (2005) The Syntax-Morphology Interface: a Study of Syncretism. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press. xix + 281pp.
  • Corbett GG, Brown D, Tiberius C. (2003) (Eds.) Agreement: A Typological Perspective. Special Issue of Transactions of the Philological Society 101 (2).. Oxford: Blackwell
  • Comrie B, Corbett GG. (2002) The Slavonic Languages. Taylor & Francis
  • Corbett GG. (2000) Number.
  • Corbett GG. (1991) Gender. Cambridge Univ Pr

Book chapters

  • Baerman M, Corbett G. (2013) 'Person by other means'. in Bakker D, Haspelmath M (eds.) Languages Across Boundaries: Studies in Memory of Anna Siewierska. Berlin : De Gruyter , pp. 1-14.
  • Corbett GG. (2012) 'Periphrasis and possible lexemes'. in (ed.) Periphrasis. The Role of Syntax and Morphology in Paradigms Oxford University Press/British Academy Article number 7 , pp. 169-189.
  • Corbett GG. (2012) 'Canonical morphosyntactic features.'. in Brown D, Chumakina M, Corbett GG (eds.) Canonical morphology and syntax Oxford University Press
  • Corbett GG. (2012) 'Grammatical Relations in a typology of agreement systems'. in Suihkonen P , Comrie B, Solovyev V (eds.) Argument Structure and Grammatical Relations: A crosslinguistic typology Amsterdam : John Benjamins Publishing Company XV, pp. 37-54.


    It has been suggested that grammatical relations should be sufficient to determine agreement relations within the clausal domain. Three types of counter-example to this proposal are presented. Then evidence is presented which suggests that the rules for agreement require access to thematic roles and to communicative functions. In addition, they need to refer to surface case. While grammatical relations provide a useful part of a typology of agreement, they are far from sufficient.

  • Corbett GG. (2011) 'Higher order exceptionality in inflectional morphology.'. in Simon H, Wiese H (eds.) Expecting the unexpected: Exceptions in grammar. Berlin : Mouton de Gruyer Article number 6 , pp. 107-126.
  • Corbett GG. (2010) 'Implicational hierarchies'. in Jae Jung Song (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Language Typology Oxford : Oxford University Press , pp. 190-205.
  • Krasovitsky A, Baerman M, Brown D, Corbett G, Williams P. (2010) 'Morphosyntactic Change in Russian: A Corpus-based Approach'. in Hansen B, Grković-Major J (eds.) Diachronic Slavic syntax: Gradual changes in focus. München-Berlin-Wien : Verlag Otto Sagner 74, pp. 109-119.
  • Baerman M, Corbett GG. (2010) 'Defectiveness: Typology and diachrony'. in Baerman M, Corbett GG, Brown DP (eds.) Defective Paradigms: Missing Forms and What They Tell Us. Oxford University Press , pp. 1-18.
  • Corbett GG, Kibort A. (2010) 'Introduction'. in Kibort A, Corbett G (eds.) Features: perspectives on a key notion in linguistics Oxford University Press
  • Corbett GG. (2010) 'Features: essential notions'. in Kibort A, Corbett G (eds.) Features: perspectives on a key notion in linguistics Oxford University Press Article number 2
  • Corbett GG. (2010) 'Morphology-free syntax:two counter-examples from Serbo-Croat.'. in Franks S, CHidambaran V, Joseph B (eds.) A Linguist's Linguist: Studies in South Slavic Linguistics in Honor of E.Wayles Browne Bloomington, Indiana: Slavica
  • Brown DP, Tiberius C, Chumakina M, Corbett GG, Krasovitsky A. (2009) 'Databases designed for investigating specific phenomena.'. in Everaert M, Musgrave S, Dimitriadis A (eds.) The Use of Databases in Cross-Linguistic Studies Mouton De Gruyter 41, pp. 117-154.


    In this chapter we consider databases which have been constructed to investigate particular linguistic phenomena. Data entered into a database with little thought or attention to its categorisation are at best usless, and in the worst case harmful if used to make spurious generalizations. So there is a requirement that we are explicit about our analyses and the phenomena under investigation, and that serious thought is given to the structure of the database.

  • Corbett GG. (2009) 'Suppletion: Typology, markedness, complexity'. in Steinkrüger MKP (ed.) On Inflection Berlin : Moution de Gruyter , pp. 25-40.
  • Corbett GG. (2009) 'Universals and Features'. in Sergio Scalise , Magni E, Bisetto A (eds.) Universals of language today Heidelberg : Springer , pp. 129-143.
  • Corbett GG. (2009) 'Agreement'. in Berger T, Gutschmidt K, Kempgen S, Kosta P (eds.) Die Slavische Sprachen/The slavic Languages: An international Handbook of their Structure, their History and their Investigation, Vol 1 Berlin : Walter de Gruyter , pp. 342-354.


    In many respects the agreement systems of Slavonic languages are close to canonical. Controllers of agreement are often present, they have overt expression of features, and they take consistent agreements. The target has obligatory bound expression of agreement, and there is matching of features values (for person, number and gender). However, Slavonic also shows several very interesting instances of agreement choices, induced by a range of different controller types. These agreement choices provide good evidence for the constraints of the Agreement Hierarchy and the Predicate Hierarchy, as well as for various types of condition on agreement, notably animacy and precedence.

  • Corbett GG, Browne W. (2009) 'Serbo-Croat: Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, Serbian'. in Comrie B (ed.) The World¹s Major Languages 2nd Edition. London : Routledge Article number 18 , pp. 330-346.
  • Corbett GG. (2009) 'Morphosyntactic features: the special contribution of the Slavonic languages.'. in Birzer S, Finkelstein M, Mendoza I (eds.) Proceedings of the Second International Perspectives on Slavistics Conference (Regensburg 2006) Munich : Otto Sagner , pp. 68-74.
  • Chumakina M, Corbett GG. (2008) 'Archi: the challenge of an extreme agreement system.'. in A. V. Arxipov , L. M. Zaxarov , A. A. Kibrik , A. E.Kibrik , I. M. Kobozeva , O. F. Krivnova , Ljutikova EA, Fëdorova OV (eds.) Fonetika i nefonetika: K 70-letiju Sandro V. Kodzasova Moscow : Jazyki slavjanskix kul´tur , pp. 184-194.
  • Corbett GG. (2008) 'Determining morphosyntactic feature values: the case of case.'. in Corbett G, Noonan M (eds.) Case and Grammatical Relations: Studies in honor of Bernard Comrie Amsterdam: John Benjamins
  • Corbett GG. (2007) 'Gender and Noun Classes'. in Shopen T (ed.) Language Typology and Syntactic Description: III: Grammatical categories and the lexicon 2nd Edition. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press[Revised version sent off 13.7.98, soft copy sent 15.1.02] , pp. 241-279.
  • Corbett GG. (2006) 'Linguistic Features'. in Brown K (ed.) Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd edition, Vol 7 Oxford, Elsevier
  • Corbett GG. (2006) 'Grammatical Gender'. in (ed.) Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd edition, Vol 4 Oxford, Elsevier
  • Corbett GG. (2006) 'Number'. in Brown, K (eds.) Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd Edition, Vol 8 Oxford, Elsevier
  • Corbett GG. (2005) 'Systems of nominal classification I: Gender oppositions'. in Cruse DA, Hundsnurscher F, Job M, Lutzeier PR (eds.) Lexicology: An international Handbook on the Nature and Structure of Words and Vocabularies: II Berlin : de Gruyter , pp. 986-994.
  • Corbett GG. (2005) 'Sex-based and Non-sex-based Gender (chapter and map)'. in Martin Haspelmath MD (ed.) World Atlas of Language Structures Oxford : Oxford University Press , pp. 130-133.
  • Corbett GG. (2005) 'The canonical approach in typology'. in Zygmunt Frajzyngier AHADSR (ed.) Linguistic Diversity and Language Theories (Studies in Language Companion Series 72) Amsterdam : Benjamins , pp. 25-49.
  • Corbett GG. (2005) 'The Number of Genders (chapter and map)'. in Martin Haspelmath MD, Dryer MS, Gil D, Comrie B (eds.) The World Atlas of Language Structures Oxford University Press , pp. 126-137.
  • Corbett GG. (2005) 'Systems of Gender Assignment (chapter and map)'. in Martin Haspelmath MD (ed.) World Atlas of Language Structures Oxford : Oxford University Press , pp. 134-137.
  • Corbett GG. (2004) 'The Russian Adjective: A pervasive yet elusive category'. in Aikhenvald RMWDAAY (ed.) Adjective classes: A cross-linguistic typology Oxford : Oxford University Press , pp. 199-222.
  • Corbett GG. (2003) 'Types of typology, illustrated from gender systems'. in (.) FP (ed.) Noun Phrase Structure in the Languages of Europe (Empirical Approaches to Language Typology EUROTYP 20-7) Berlin : Mouton de Gruyter , pp. 289-334.
  • Corbett GG. (2003) 'Introduction'. in Brown D, Corbett G, Tiberius C (eds.) Agreement: A Typological Perspective (special number of Transactions of the Philological Society 101, no 2), 151-154 101, pp. 151-154.
  • Corbett GG, Browne W. (2003) 'Serbo-Croatian'. in Fawley WJ (ed.) International Encyclopedia of Linguistics: Second Edition IV Edition. Oxford : Oxford University Press , pp. 47-51.
  • Corbett GG. (2003) 'Agreement: overview'. in Frawley WJ (ed.) International Encyclopedia of Liguistics: Second Edition 1st Edition. Oxford : Oxford University Press , pp. 53-55.
  • Corbett GG. (2003) 'Agreement: canonical instances and the extent of the phenomenon.'. in Booij G, DeCesaris J, Ralli A, Scalise S (eds.) Topics in Morphology: Selected papers form the Third mediterranean Morphology Meeting (Barcelona, Sep 20-22, 20001), 109-128. Barcelona: Universitat Pompeu Fabra
  • Corbett GG, Brown D, Evans N. (2002) 'Morphology, typology, computation. In: S. Bendjaballah, W.U. Dressler, O.E. Pfeiffer and M. Voeikova (eds) Morphology 2000, Selected papers from the 9th Morphology Meeting, Vienna, 24-25 February 2000'. in Bendjaballah S, Dressler U, Pfeiffer OE, Voeikova M (eds.) Morphology 2000: Selected Papers from the 9th Morphology Meeting, Vienna 24-28 February 2000 Amsterdam : Benjamins , pp. 91-104.
  • Baerman M, Brown DP, Corbett GG. (2002) 'Case syncretism in and out of Indo-European'. in Andronis M, Ball C, Elston H, Neuvel S (eds.) Papers from the 37th Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. Chicago : Chicago Linguistic Society 1, pp. 15-28.
  • Corbett GG. (2001) 'Why linguists need languages'. in (.) LM (ed.) On Biocultural Diversity: Linking Language, Knowledge, and the Environment Washington : Smithsonian Institution Press , pp. 82-94.
  • Corbett GG. (2001) 'Number'. in Martin Haspelmath EK (ed.) Language Typology and Linguistic Universals: An International Handbook Berlin : de Gruyter , pp. 816-831.
  • Corbett GG. (2001) 'Grammatical gender'. in Baltes NJSAPB (ed.) International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences: IX Amsterdam : Elsevier , pp. 6335-6340.
  • Corbett GG. (2001) 'Asymmetries of morphological marking'. in Christopher Schaner-Wolles JRRAFN (ed.) Naturally! Linguistic studies in honour of Wolfgang Ulrich Dressler presented on the occasion of his 60th birthday Torino : Rosenberg & Sellier , pp. 87-95.
  • Corbett G, Baerman M, Brown D. (2001) 'Domains of syncretism: a demonstration of the autonomy of morphology'. in Andronis M, Ball C, Elston H (eds.) CLS 37: The Panels. Papers from the 37th Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, Vol. 2. , pp. 385-398.
  • Evans N, Brown D, Corbett GG. (2001) 'Dalabon pronominal prefixes and the typology of syncretism: a Network Morphology analysis. In: G. Booij and J. van Marle (eds) Yearbook of Morphology 2000'. in Marle GBJV (ed.) Yearbook of Morphology 2000 Dordrecht : Kluwer , pp. 187-231.
  • Corbett GG. (2001) 'Grammatical number'. in Baltes NJSAPB (ed.) International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences: IX Amsterdam : Elsevier , pp. 6340-6342.
  • Corbett GG, Hippisley A, Brown D, Marriott P. (2001) 'Frequency, regularity and the paradigm: a perspective from Russian on a complex relation. In: J. Bybee and P. Hopper (eds) Frequency and the Emergence of Linguistic Structure'. in Hopper JBAP (ed.) Frequency and the Emergence of Linguistic Structure Amsterdam : John Benjamins , pp. 201-226.
  • Corbett GG, Fraser NF. (2000) 'Default genders'. in Unterbeck B, Rissanen M, Nevalainen T, Saari M (eds.) Gender in Grammar and Cognition Berlin:Mouton de Gruyter 55-97. [Reprinted 2002 in the Mouton Jubilee collection "Mouton Classics: From syntax to Cognition: From Phonology to text", volume 1, 297-339] 124


  • Evans R, Tiberius C, Brown DP, Corbett G. (2003) Russian Lemmatisation with DATR.

Internet publications

  • Baerman M, Corbett GG, Brown D. (2009) The Surrey Defectiveness Database (consisting of a Typological Database and a 100-language Survey). University of Surrey
  • Krasovitsky A, Baerman M, Brown D, Corbett GG, Long A, Quilliam H. (2009) Database of Short Term Morphosyntactic Change: variation in Russian 1801-200..
  • Palmer W, Brown D, Corbett G, Quilliam H. (2008) Turning Owners into Actors. Possessive morphology as subject-indexing in the languages of the Bougainville region. Surrey Morphology Group, School of English and Languages, University of Surrey
  • Corbett GG, Trippel T, Maxwell M, Prince C, Manning C, Grimes S, Moran S. (2008) Lexicon Schemas and Related Data Models: when standards meet users.
  • Chumakina M, Corbett GG, Brown D, Quilliam H. (2007) A Dictionary of the Languages of the Archi villages, south Daghestan [Available at: ].
  • Baerman M, Corbett G, Brown D, Hippisley A. (2006) The Surrey Deponency databases [Available at: ].


    Cross-linguistic database and typological database

  • Corbett GG, Brown D, Chumakina M, Hippisley A. (2005) Resources for suppletion: A typological database and a bibliography..


    On-line proceedings of the 4th Mediterranean Morphology Meeting (MMM4), Catania, Sicilia 21-23 Sep 2003

  • Corbett GG, Krasovitsky A, Long A, Baerman M, Brown D. (2005) Predicate nouns in Russian.
  • Corbett GG, Brown D, Chumakina M, Hippisley A. (2004) The Surrey Suppletion database.
  • Corbett GG, Brown D, Chumakina M, Hippisley A. (2004) Inflectional Syncretism and Corpora..
  • Corbett GG, Tiberius C, Brown D, Barron J. (2002) The Surrey Database of Agreement.
  • Corbett GG, Brown D, Baerman M. (2002) The Surrey Syncretism Database.
  • Corbett GG, Tiberius C, Barron J. (2002) Agreement: A bibliography.

Other publications

  • Corbett GG. (2009) Preface to New challenges in Typology. Transcending the Borders and Refining the Distinctions. Berlin, Germany : Walter de Gruyter , pp. V-Vi.
  • Chumakina M, Brown D, Corbett G, Quilliam H. (2008) Archi: A dictionary of the language of the Archi People, Daghestan, Caucasus, with sounds and pictures (reference edition, DVD for Windows).
  • Corbett GG. (2005) Higher Order exceptionality in inflectional morphology.
  • Corbett GG. (2004) Grammatical relations in a typology of agreement systems..
  • Corbett GG, Tiberius C, Brown D. (2003) Ambiguity in Russian Morphology. Lancaster 790
  • Corbett GG, Brown D, Tiberius C. (2003) Qualitative typological databases: the Surrey experience..


  • Corbett GG, Baerman M, Brown D, Krasovitsky A, Long A. (2008) Animacy in the development of the Russian predicative adjective in the 19th and 20th centuries. 13th International Morphology Meeting, Vienna
  • Corbett GG, Kibort A. (2007) Where do features come from? Phonological Primitives in the Brain, the Mouth and the Ear. University of Paris 3 (Sorbonne-nouvelle)
  • Corbett GG, Baerman M, Brown D, Krasovitsky A, Long A. (2005) Diachronic processes in Russian morphosyntax (a corpus based approach). Corpora 2006, St Petersburg

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