Dr. Eitan Grossman

Research Field: 

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics and the School of Language Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem since 2012, and hold an Alon Fellowship for 2013-2016. In 2013, I was appointed a member of the interdisciplinary Language, Logic and Cognition Center. Before this, I was a postdoctoral researcher in the Ramses Project (and later a Visiting Professor) at the University of Liège, a Kreitman Fellow at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and spent 2010-2012 at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows in Jerusalem. I also spent some time in 2011 as a Senior Research Fellow of the TOPOI project at Humboldt University in Berlin.

The problems that trouble me tend to revolve around the questions: Why are languages the way that they are? How do they become the way they are? My research and teaching focus on three main areas. The first is descriptive linguistics and philology of Coptic-Egyptian, an Afroasiatic language attested for about 4000 years. The second is language variation and change, with special interest in grammaticalization and contact-induced change. The third is language typology, the field of linguistics that attempts to uncover the limits to linguistic diversity. These interests often converge.

There are several projects that I’m currently busy with. The first is a study of the typology of borrowing of adpositions and other case-markers. A three-year project (2013-2016) funded by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF 248/13), the goal of this research is to understand the cross-linguistic patterning of contact-induced change involving adpositions and case-marking. While the project has officially only just begun, colleagues and I have already held a thematic workshop on the topic at the 2013 meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea in Split. Other ongoing projects involve research on contact-induced change in transitivity and valency patterns (on which we held a workshop this year in Poznan), long-term and cyclical grammatical change in Coptic-Egyptian (with Stéphane Polis), and case, agreement, and information structure (with Giorgio Iemmolo). A common theme of all of these projects is the investigation of the role of language *usage*, i.e., online performance of speakers and listeners, in the eventual evolution of linguistic structure.

I teach courses in historical linguistics, typology, language contact, and Coptic-Egyptian descriptive linguistics, as well as the Introduction to Linguistics, which is perhaps the class I most enjoy teaching.

Recent publications include:

  • Grossman, E., M. Haspelmath, and T.S. Richter, 2014. Egyptian-Coptic linguistics in typological perspective. De Gruyter Mouton.
  • Grossman, E., St. Polis, and J. Winand. 2012. Lexical Semantics in Ancient Egyptian (= Lingua Aegyptia Studia Monographica 9). Hamburg: Kai Widmaier Verlag.
  • Grossman, E., St. Polis, A. Stauder and J. Winand. 2014. On Forms and Functions: Studies in Ancient Egyptian Grammar (= Lingua Aegyptia Studia Monographica 15). Hamburg: Kai Widmaier Verlag.
  • Grossman, E. & St. Polis. 2014. 'On the pragmatics of subjectification: the emergence and modalization of an Allative Future in Ancient Egyptian,’ Acta Linguistica Hafniensia 46/1: 25-63.

For a recent discussion on linguistics in the 21st century, see: http://dlc.hypotheses.org/754

Curriculum Vitae: