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Tim Nisbet


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Personal profile

Research Interests

Construction grammar; grammatical description and theory (especially argument structure); teaching and assessing academic writing in English.



After graduating with a BA degree in French and German, I spent a year in Greece teaching English and then returned to the UK to train as a language teacher. In 1993 I was appointed Lecturer in German at the University of Wolverhampton where I remained for 9 years, teaching German language, German studies, general linguistics and translation studies. I completed a PhD in Germanic linguistics at the University of Reading in 2007 and have since worked at Coventry University mainly teaching academic English and English linguistics. I have also given language teacher training and presently manage the University’s German language provision.




My main research interest is in grammatical theory and description, with a particular interest in ‘non-derivational’ or ‘constraint-based’ approaches such as Construction Grammar, though I remain convinced that an adequate theory of grammar is not ‘usage-based’ but one that takes grammar to be a form of acquired mental knowledge which remains throughout life relatively unaffected by the pressures of usage. I am presently working on an article investigating the relationship between ‘idiomatic’ and ‘non-idiomatic’ forms of ditransitive verbs in English.


Areas of Expertise:

  • Grammatical description
  • Syntactic theory
  • German language
  • Germanic linguistics

Education/Academic qualification

Linguistics, Doctorate, University of Reading


  • P Philology. Linguistics
  • syntax
  • construction grammar

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