Background and activities

I hold a PhD position in Language and Linguistics at the department of Language and Literature. I have both a BA and an MA in Nordic languages and literature from NTNU, and spent a semester at UC Berkeley during my MA. 

My research project

I am part of the research group EXOGRAM, or Exoskeletal approaches to grammar, otherwise consisting of my two supervisors, professors Tor Anders Åfarli and Terje Lohndal, as well as the PhD candidates Brita Ramsevik Riksem and Ragnhild Eik. Our joint goal is to develop a formal syntactic model of a generative type, which is capable of explaining idealized monolingual data and more complex and seemingly irregular bilingual data equally well. My PhD project will specifically attempt to give a syntactic analysis of the phenomena word-internal language mixing.

The immediate background for this project is a controversy between two camps in linguistics seeking explanations for intrasentential code-switching. The first camp is a non-generative camp comprised of supporters of the Matrix Language Frame Model (MLFM), mainly developed by Myers-Scotton (1993, 2002). The second is a small generative camp pioneered by MacSwan (1999, 2014), which attempts to account for code-switching from a Minimalist perspective. 

We believe the generative camp is right in assuming that a theory of language mixing should be a Null Theory, i.e., that it should be equally well designed to handle monolingual and bilingual phenomena; but we also believe that the non-generative camp is right in assuming that word-internal language mixing should be dealt with in a theory of language mixing/code-switching, pace MacSwan. Our hypothesis is that a late-insertion exoskeletal model is capable of unifying these positions. 

In addition to giving a syntactic account of word-internal language mixing, my project will focus specifically on the verbal domain and also try to account for phenomena such as word-class flexibility and coinage. I plan to make use of data from a variety of language mixing situations, but will in particular investigate data from the heritage language American Norwegian. My main source of data is therefore the Corpus of American Norwegian Speech (Johannessen 2015). 



I am for the time being fully occupied with writing my thesis, but have previously taught the syntax and morphology part of the course NORD1102 - Scandinavian Linguistics, contemporary, as well as NORD3501 - Specialized Master's Topic I: Area of Specialization related to the Master's Thesis in Scandinavian Language and the linguistics part of EXFAC0003 - Language and LiteratureI have also made a guest appearance talking about the research on language mixing in American Norwegian in EXFAC0017 - Introduction to the Humanities, Language and Literature Studies


Scientific, academic and artistic work

A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. See all publications in the database

Journal publications

Part of book/report

  • Alexiadou, Artemis; Lohndal, Terje; Åfarli, Tor Anders; Grimstad, Maren Berg. (2015) Language mixing: A Distributed Morphology approach. NELS 45: Proceedings of the Forty-Fifth Annual Meeting of the North East Linguistic Society: Volume 1.


  • Grimstad, Maren Berg; Åfarli, Tor Anders. (2011) Brocas afasi og generativ syntaks: Trebeskjæringshypotesen (TBH) som forklaringsmodell for produksjonsvanskene til en Broca-afatiker. 2011.