Research & funding

My preferred theoretical framework is usage-based/experience-based linguistics. My research interests all broadly fall within the remit of variationist linguistics and variation studies, including their interfaces with typology, geolinguistics, and psycholinguistics. I view linguistic variation as a window into the hidden structure of human language and the nature of linguistic knowledge. My research interests specifically include:

  • variation studies (synchronic & diachronic)

  • probabilistic grammar

  • sociolinguistics and register analysis

  • language complexity

  • geolinguistics, dialectology & dialectometry, and dialect typology

  • learner language


Recent representative publications

  • Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt, Jason Grafmiller & Laura Rosseel (2019). "Variation-Based Distance and Similarity Modeling: a case study in World Englishes". Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence 2:23.
    DOI: 10.3389/frai.2019.00023 | open access here

  • Ehret, Katharina & Benedikt Szmrecsanyi (2019). "Compressing learner language: an information-theoretic measure of complexity in SLA production data". Second Language Research 35(1): 23-45.
    DOI: 10.1177/0267658316669559 | manuscript

  • Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt, Jason Grafmiller, Joan Bresnan, Anette Rosenbach, Sali Tagliamonte & Simon Todd (2017). "Spoken syntax in a comparative perspective: the dative and genitive alternation in varieties of English". Glossa: a journal of general linguistics. 2(1): 86.
    DOI: 10.5334/gjgl.310 (open access)

  • Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt (2016). "An analytic-synthetic spiral in the history of English". In: Elly van Gelderen (ed.), Cyclical Change Continued. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 93-112.
    DOI: 10.1075/la.227.04szm | uncorrected page proofs

  • Hinrichs, Lars, Benedikt Szmrecsanyi & Axel Bohmann (2015). "Which-hunting and the Standard English relative clause". Language 91(4): 806-836.
    DOI: 10.1353/lan.2015.0062 | uncorrected page proofs


Current funded projects

  • The register-specificity of probabilistic grammatical knowledge in English and Dutch
    Applicant and PI, with Jason Grafmiller and Freek Van de Velde (Co-PIs)
    Funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) (grant # G0D4618N, budget: €229,000)
    2018-2021
    project website

  • Nephological Semantics: using token clouds for meaning detection in variationist linguistics
    Co-PI with Dirk Geeraerts, Stefania Marzo & Dirk Speelman
    Funded by a C1 grant awarded by the KU Leuven Research Council (grant # 3H150305, budget: €1,271,200)
    2015-2021
    project website


Past funded projects

  • Exploring probabilistic grammar(s) in varieties of English around the world
    Applicant and PI
    Funded by a Type II Odysseus grant awarded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) (grant # G0C5913N, budget: €856,260)
    2013-2018
    project website