Greenberg Award

The Joseph Greenberg Award recognizes and honours the best piece of typological research embodied in a doctoral dissertation or equivalent in the award period. It was named to remember Joseph Greenberg’s (1915-2001) fundamental contributions to typology and the interest he showed in encouraging young researchers. Between 1998 and 2006, it was known as the “ALT Junior Award”. It is one of two ALT awards aimed at PhD dissertations, the other being the Pāṇini Award.

Current Award Submissions:

Submissions for the 11th Greenberg Award are due February 29, 2024, for a dissertation accepted by a university between 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2023. Please click here to see the PDF announcement for detailed information.

Award Recipients and Honourable Mentions

Please note that the affiliations listed for the Award Recipients are the institutions where they submitted their dissertations.

10th: 2022

Stephanie Evers (State University of New York at Buffalo, USA)
To ‘the’ or not to ‘the’: Cross-linguistic correlations between existing morpho-syntax and the emergence of definite articles

The following aspects of Evers’ work stood out for the jury: Firstly, the conscientious and constant connection between theoretical concepts and their application to individual language systems. Secondly, the methodology which combines two levels of analysis: a typological overview and two discourse-based case studies, each featuring advanced quantitative analysis. This approach offers a statistical underpinning of hypotheses and intuitions proposed in previous functional-typological literature. The jury particularly signals the use of corpus-based case-studies as a welcome development in typology: such studies may function as examples for descriptive linguists, who could conduct similar analyses as part of descriptive grammar writing. Finally, the structure and style of the thesis are very transparent.

Honourable Mention
Klaas Seinhorst (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
The complexity and learnability of phonological patterns: simulations, experiments, typology

The jury decided to give an honourable mention to this work for a number of reasons. First, as the subtitle indicates, this thesis involves a triangulation of simulation-based methods, experiments and typology. As such, the jury thinks it is a very good example of how typology can be connected to other linguistic sub-disciplines and how their methodologies can be combined to answer fundamental linguistic questions. In addition, Seinhorst’s work contributes to typological work in phonology, which still tends to attract less attention than morpho-syntactic typological studies.
Secondly, the jury was impressed by Seinhorst’s ability to integrate insights not only from phonological typology, but also emergentism and language acquisition, computational linguistics and psycholinguistics. Seinhorst’s crystal clear and succinct writing shows his command of this highly diverse literature. While Seinhorst thesis does not add typological data, it engages thoroughly with existing typological databases.
Last but not least, all the data and the R code used for this thesis are open access. The jury applauds these practices and hopes that they will set an example for our community of typologists, and beyond.

9th: 2019

Shelece Easterday (University of New Mexico, Albuquerue, USA)
Highly Complex Syllable Structure: A Typological Study of its Phonological Characteristics and Diachronic Development

Honourable Mention
Dana Louagie (KU Leuwen)
A Typological Study of Noun Phrase Structures in Australian Languages

Honourable Mention
Raina Heaton (University of Hawai’i at Manoa, USA)
A Typology of Antipassives, With Special Reference to Mayan

8th: 2017

Ksenia Shagal (University of Helsinki, Finland)
Towards a typology of participles

7th: 2015

Katarzyna Janic (Université Lumirère Lyon 2, France)
L’antipassif dans les langues accusatives (The antipassive in accusative languages)

6th: 2013

Eva van Lier (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Parts of speech and dependent clauses: a typological study

Honourable Mention
Natalia Stoynova (Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia)
2012. Типология глагольных показателей рефактива: модели полисемии и структура семантической зоны (Typology of the verbal markers of refactive: Polysemy patterns and structure of the semantic zone)

Honourable Mention
Alena Witzlack-Makarevich (University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany)
2010. Typological variation in grammatical relations.

5th: 2009

Caterina Mauri (University of Pavia, Italy)
Coordination relations in the languages of Europe and beyond

Honourable Mention
Jan Wohlgemuth (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig)
A Typology of Verbal Borrowing

4th: 2007

Aleksandr Arkhipov (Moscow State University, Russia)
Tipologija komitativnyx konstrukcij
(Typology of comitative constructions)

Honourable Mentions
Valentin Gousev (Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Linguistics, Moscow, Russia)
Tipologija specializirovannyx glagol’nyx form imperativa
(Typology of dedicated verbal forms of the imperative)

Olesya Khanina (Moscow State University, Russia)
Jazykovoe oformlenie situacii želania (opyt tipologičeskogo issledovania)
(Linguistic encoding of ‘wanting’: a typological approach)

René Schiering (University of Konstanz, Germany)
Cliticization and the Evolution of Morphology: a Cross-linguistic Study on Phonology in Grammaticalization)

3rd: 2005

Matti Miestamo (University of Helsinki, Finland)
Clausal negation: a typological study

Honourable Mentions
Oliver Iggesen (Universität Bremen, Germany)
Case-asymmetry: a world-wide typological study on lexeme-class-dependent deviations in morphological case inventories

Hsiu-chuan Liao (University of Hawai’i, USA)
Transitivity and ergativity in Formosan and Philippine languages

Adam Saulwick (University of Melbourne, Australia)
Aspect of the verb in Rembarrnga: a polysynthetic language of northern Australia

2nd: 2001

Michael Cysouw (Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen, The Netherlands)
The paradigmatic structure of person marking

Michael Daniel (Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia)
Tipologija associativnoj množestvennosti
(The typology of associative plurality)

Honourable Mention
Elena Filimonova (Lomonosov University, Russia, 1999)
Universal’nye anomalij licnyx mestoimenij
(Universal anomalies of personal pronouns)

1st: 1999

Konstantin Kazenin (Moscow State University, Russia)
Sintaksičieskie ograničenija i puti ix ob’jasnenija (na materiale dagestanskix jazykov)
(“Syntactic constraints and ways of explaining them (based on Daghestanian languages)”)

Sergej Tatevosov (Moscow State University, Russia)
Typological problems of quantification in natural language (based on quantifiers expressing totality)

Honourable Mentions
Sonia Cristaforo (University of Pavia, Italy)

Holger Diessel (University at Buffalo, USA)
Demonstratives in crosslinguistic and diachronic perspective

Ekaterina Ljutikova (Moscow State University, Russia)
Intensifikatory i tipologija reflexiva
(“Intensifiers and the typology of reflexives“)