Background and activities

I am Full Professor of English linguistics in the Department of Language and Literature at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Before I came to Trondheim, I did my PhD in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Maryland in the United States under the supervision of Professor Paul Pietroski. And before that, I did an undergraduate degree in linguistics and Nordic languages at the University of Oslo in Norway.

I am the director of the PhD program in language and linguistics at the Faculty of Humanities. I am also leading the research group Linguistic Complexity in the Individual and Society (LCIS), which is funded by the Faculty of Humanities from 2014-2017. I am also serving as Deputy Head of Research at the Department of Language and Literature.

In addition to my full time appointment at NTNU, I have a 20% additional appointment as a Professor II at UiT The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø. Here I am a member of the LAVA research group, directed by Professor Marit Westergaard.

I am an associate member of the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM) at the University of Reading, and affiliate of the Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan (MultiLing) at the University of Oslo, and the Center for the Study of Mind in Nature (CSMN), also at the University of Oslo.


I study how words are put together to sentences and what the meanings of those sentences are. So far I have particularly been concerned with how to account for certain constraints that human languages exhibit on displacement (e.g., why you can say "What did John say that Peter wrote?" but you cannot say "What did John kick the ball because Mary played?") and with how we can give a ‘simple’ theory of how structures and meanings combine to yield utterances. I am especially concerned with cross-linguistic variation, both within and across languages.

Today I am spending a lot of time working on developing an exoskeletal theory of language mixing (which includes code switching). This is done together with Professor Tor Anders Åfarli and three PhD candidates: Ragnhild EikMaren Berg Grimstad, and Brita Ramsevik Riksem. Together we conssitute the research group Exoskeletal Approaches to Grammar (EXOGRAM). I am also interested in how we understand the grammatical category gender, and together with postdoc Guro Busterud, in collaboration with Marit Westergaard (Tromsø) and Yulia Rodina (Tromsø), we have investigated the acquisiton of gender in the Trondheim dialect.

My recent book, Phrase structure and argument Structure: a case study of the syntax-semantics interface, presents a new theory of the syntax-semantics interface. It is an extensively rewritten version of my PhD dissertation Without Specifiers: Phrase Structure and Events. Specifically, I argue that a theory of phrase structure that does not make use of specifiers and a theory using Neo-Davidsonian logical forms offer exactly the right match. This, in turn, raises issues about the syntax and the semantics components, and what we mean by ‘simplicity’ and ‘transparency’.

I am also interested in the history of modern grammatical theory, and how particular frameworks differ and how and why they evolved. In addition, I have a deep interest in fundamental philosophical questions as they pertain to linguistics. These include: What is the capacity for language? How does it arise in the individual? How is it put to use? More specifically, I focus on how to characterize linguistic knowledge and whether such knowledge involves notions such as truth and reference when it comes to the meaning of sentences.

Besides linguistics, I am also interested in the humanities and higher education more generally. I often write about such issues in Norwegian newspapers and journals.

Scientific, academic and artistic work

Displaying a selection of activities. See all publications in the database

Journal publications


  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Phrase Structure and Argument Structure: A Case Study of the Syntax-Semantics Interface. Oxford University Press. 2014. ISBN 9780199677115.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2013) In search of universal grammar : from Old Norse to Zoque. John Benjamins Publishing Company. 2013. ISBN 978-90-272-5585-3. Linguistik Aktuell Linguistics Today (202).

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.
  • Haegeman, Liliane; Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Be careful how you use the left periphery. Structures, Strategies and Beyond: Studies in honour of Adriana Belletti.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Uriagereka, Juan. (2014) Principles and Parameters/Minimalism. The Routledge Handbook of Syntax.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2013) Introduction. In search of universal grammar : from Old Norse to Zoque.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Haegeman, Liliane. (2013) Negation. The Bloomsbury Companion to Syntax.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Lasnik, Howard. (2013) Brief overview of the history of generative syntax. The Cambridge Handbook of Generative Syntax.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Lasnik, Howard. (2013) Noam Chomsky. Oxford Bibliographies - Linguistics.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Samuels, Bridget. (2013) Linearizing Empty Edges. Syntax and its Limits.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2012) Towards the end of argument structure. The End of Argument Structure?.
  • Westergaard, Marit; Vangsnes, Øystein A; Lohndal, Terje. (2012) Norwegian som: The complementizer that climbed to the matrix Left Periphery and caused Verb Second violations. Enjoy Linguistics! Papers offered to Luigi Rizzi on the occasion of his 60th birthday.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2009) The Copula Cycle. Cyclical Change.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2007) On the structure and development of nominal phrases in Norwegian. Nominal determination. Typology, context constraints, and historical emergence.


  • Kush, Dave; Lohndal, Terje; Sprouse, Jon. (2015) Experimental syntax and the cross-linguistic variation of island effects in Norwegian and Swedish. LSA Annual Meeting . LSA; Portland. 2015-01-08 - 2015-01-11.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Arvespråks unike betydning for teoretisk lingvistikk. Fagdag om Amerika-norsk . Institutt for språk og litteratur; NTNU. 2015-03-27 - 2015-03-27.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Aspects of the Grammar of Bilingual Speakers: Towards a Formal Model. Workshop on Bilingual Acquisition and Bilingual Education: Linguistic and Cognitive Effects . Aristotle University of Thessaloniki; Thessaloniki. 2015-04-23 - 2015-04-24.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Boka som tok språket inn i matematikkens verden. [Internett]. 2015-01-30.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Erna ønsker flere toppforskere. Adresseavisen [Avis]. 2015-02-24.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Gender across generations and populations. Exploring Complexity . University of Stuttgart; Stuttgart. 2015-01-28 - 2015-01-28.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Heritage speakers as native speakers?. DAAD Workshop 3: Monolingual, bilingual and second language acquisition . Universität Stuttgart; Stuttgart. 2015-03-23 - 2015-03-23.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Hjernen er programmert for grammatikk. Verdibørsen NRK [Radio]. 2015-01-16.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Jomfrufødsel bekreftet. Morgenbladet [Avis]. 2015-12-24.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Language Mixing and the Architecture of Grammar. Towards a late-insertion exoskeletal model. Gjesteforelesning . Sophia University; Tokyo. 2015-01-14 - 2015-01-14.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Language mixing in American Norwegian: Dissociating syntax and morphology. Guest lecture . University of Edinburgh; Edinburgh. 2015-05-01 - 2015-05-01.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Liv og lære: Terje Lohndal. Dagens Næringsliv [Avis]. 2015-06-05.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Lohndal ble medlem av DNVA. Gemini [Internett]. 2015-03-26.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Norges yngste professor nytt medlem i vitenskapsakademi. Adresseavisen [Avis]. 2015-03-26.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Norsk språk i utvikling. Fagdag for norsklærere, Vest-Agder fylkeskommune . Kristiansand Katedralskole Gimle; Kristiansand. 2015-04-07 - 2015-04-07.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Slår ned på misbruk av tellekantordningen. Universitetsavisa [Internett]. 2015-05-28.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Tel, tel ikkje. Forskningsetikk [Fagblad]. 2015-03-01.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Terje Lohndal tatt opp i prestisjetungt vitenskapsakademi. Lyngdals Avis [Avis]. 2015-03-27.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Westergaard, Marit. (2015) Gender Attrition in American Norwegian Heritage Language. International Symposium on Bilingualism 10 . Rutgers University; New Brunswick. 2015-05-20 - 2015-05-24.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Westergaard, Marit; Alexiadou, Artemis. (2015) The category of gender in heritage grammars. Workshop on morphosyntactic interference in heritage languages . University of the West of England; Bristol. 2015-06-11 - 2015-06-11.
  • Riksem, Brita Ramsevik; Grimstad, Maren Berg; Lohndal, Terje; Åfarli, Tor Anders. (2015) Language mixing within verbs and nominal phrases in American Norwegian. International Symposium on Bilingualism 10 . Rutgers University; New Brunswick. 2015-05-20 - 2015-05-24.
  • Åfarli, Tor Anders; Lohndal, Terje. (2015) Genus vs. bøyingsklasse?. Møte om norsk språk MONS 16 . Universitetet i Agder; Kristiansand. 2015-11-25 - 2015-11-27.
  • Alexiadou, Artemis; Lohndal, Terje; Åfarli, Tor Anders; Grimstad, Maren Berg. (2014) Language Mixing: A Distributed Morphology Approach. NELS 45 . MIT; Boston. 2014-10-31 - 2014-11-02.
  • Grimstad, Maren Berg; Riksem, Brita Ramsevik; Åfarli, Tor Anders; Lohndal, Terje. (2014) The inadequacy of feature-based lexicalist theories: A case-study of American Norwegian. 5th Annual Workshop on Immigrant Languages in the Americas . UCLA; Los Angeles. 2014-10-17 - 2014-10-19.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Best uten tall. Dagens Næringsliv [Avis]. 2014-01-24.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Dagens gjest. P1 - Her og Nå [Radio]. 2014-01-13.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Det motsatte av norsk finnes ikke. Prosa: Tidsskrift for sakprosa [Fagblad]. 2014-02-28.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) "Etterpå jeg skal ta alle de brus": Rødblyant eller hurrarop? Språklig kreativitet fra et skoleperspektiv. Fagdag . Sør-Trøndelag fylkeskommune; Charlottenlund videregående skole. 2014-11-28 - 2014-11-28.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Forskerkometen hedres. Universitetsavisa [Internett]. 2014-03-07.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Får prestisjetung forskerpris. Farsunds Avis [Avis]. 2014-03-11.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) God helg. NRK P1 [Radio]. 2014-05-03.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Historisk prisvinner fra Lyngdal. Farsunds Avis [Avis]. 2014-06-05.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) How words are put together: A linguistic perspective on language evolution. Open day at Litteraturhuset . The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters; Oslo. 2014-04-05 - 2014-04-05.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Humanister må bli synligere. Samfunnsviterne [Fagblad]. 2014-06-23.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Hva er norsk språk anno 2014? Språkblanding og flerspråklighet: Teoretiske og didaktiske perspektiver. LNUs landskonferanse ; 2014-03-21 - 2014-03-22.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Lingvistikkens Mozart fra NTNU. Adresseavisen [Avis]. 2014-03-11.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Lohndal er tidenes yngste vinner. Universitetsavisa [Internett]. 2014-03-11.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Lohndal tidenes yngste Nils Klim-vinner. [Internett]. 2014-03-11.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Mysteries of Nature: Language and Cognition. D-lab . Kavli Institute of Systems Neurosience; NTNU Trondheim. 2014-01-24 - 2014-01-24.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) NTNU dyrker verdensmestere. Adresseavisen [Avis]. 2014-06-23.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Nils Klim-intervjuet 2014. [Internett]. 2014-03-11.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Norske universitet kan læra av NTNUs talentsatsing. Uniforum [Avis]. 2014-04-15.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Piff opp norsktimene med engelsk. Gemini [Fagblad]. 2014-08-25.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Språkblanding. P5 [Radio]. 2014-08-25.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Terje (28) droppet realfagene og fulgte magefølelsen. Dagens Næringsliv Talent [Internett]. 2014-03-11.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Terje Lohndal er nå professor. Lyngdals Avis [Internett]. 2014-04-24.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Terje Lohndal får prestisjetung forskerpris. Lyngdals Avis [Avis]. 2014-03-11.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2014) Tidenes yngste Nils Klim-prisvinner. På Høyden [Internett]. 2014-03-11.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Alexiadou, Artemis. (2014) The Nils Klim Conversation 2014. Holberguken . Universitetet i Bergen; 2014-06-02 - 2014-06-02.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Alexiadou, Artemis. (2014) The structural configurations of categorization. Labels and Roots - Conference of the German Society for Linguistics (DGfS) . Universität Marburg; Marburg. 2014-04-05 - 2014-04-07.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Riksem, Brita Ramsevik; Grimstad, Maren Berg; Eide, Kristin Melum; Åfarli, Tor Anders; Mæhlum, Brit Kirsten. (2014) Finnes det lette og vanskelige språk?. Researchers' Night 2014 . NTNU; Trondheim. 2014-09-26 - 2014-09-26.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Westergaard, Marit. (2014) Gender Attrition in American Norwegian Heritage Language. 5th Annual Workshop on Immigrant Languages in the Americas . UCLA; Los Angeles. 2014-10-17 - 2014-10-19.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Åfarli, Tor Anders. (2014) A non-lexicalist model of language mixing. Invited colloquium talk . University of Oxford; Oxford. 2014-05-05 - 2014-05-05.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Åfarli, Tor Anders. (2014) An exoskeletal approach to language mixing. Invited colloquium talk . University of Cambridge; Cambridge. 2014-05-06 - 2014-05-06.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Åfarli, Tor Anders. (2014) Language Mixing and Language Contact: The Case of Dakkhini. The emergence of linguistic competence in multi-language contexts . Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study; Wassenaar. 2014-04-10 - 2014-04-11.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Åfarli, Tor Anders. (2014) Morphological aspects of language mixing: Insights from Mandarin Chinese-Norwegian and Dakkhini. DAAD: The syntax-morphology interface: Evidence from multilingualism . Universität Stuttgart; Stuttgart. 2014-05-26 - 2014-05-26.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Åfarli, Tor Anders. (2014) On the syntax of gender. DAAD project Stuttgart-Trondheim - The syntax-morphology interface: Evidence from multilingualism. Workshop 2: Distributed Morphology and Language Mixing . DAAD project Stuttgart-Trondheim; NTNU, Trondheim. 2014-12-01 - 2014-12-01.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Åfarli, Tor Anders; Grimstad, Maren Berg; Riksem, Brita Ramsevik. (2014) DP-internal language mixing: An exoskeletal perspective. CASTL colloquium ; 2014-10-03 - 2014-10-03.
  • Voss, Friederike Ingeborg; Vulchanova, Mila Dimitrova; Lohndal, Terje. (2014) The influence of visual actions and information structure on ambiguous pronoun processing in German children, eye tracking design, implementation and data analysis. Tobii Technology: LanPercept Workshop . Tobii Technology; Stockholm. 2014-10-27 - 2014-10-28.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2013) From the monolingual speaker to the multilingual speaker. The International Conference of Under-resourced Languages (FASSBL) ; Dubrovnik. 2013-10-08.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2013) Humaniora - nyttig for hva?. Forskningskonferansen 2013 . UHR; Litteraturhuset, Oslo. 2013-08-15.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2013) Humanister viktig for samfunnsutviklingen. Unio [Internett]. 2013-08-15.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2013) Hvem er sjarlatanen?. Morgenbladet [Avis]. 2013-07-26.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2013) Oversettelse og grammatisk teori. Oversetterseminaret . Norsk faglitterær forfatter- og oversetterforening; Soria Moria, Oslo. 2013-11-16.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2013) Slutt klagingen. null [Internett]. 2013-08-16.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2013) Utviklingstrekk i moderne generativ lingvistikk. Møte om norsk språk (MONS) 15 . Universitetet i Oslo; Oslo. 2013-11-23.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2013) Vil redde Jesu morsmål. NRK [Avis]. 2013-02-01.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2013) Å prestere: Flaks, talent, eller bare hardt arbeid?. Prestasjonskonferansen . Olympiatoppen; Oslo. 2013-11-14 - 2013-11-15.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Alexiadou, Artemis. (2013) On the division of labor between roots and functional structure. Little v workshop . Universitetet i Leiden; Leiden. 2013-10-25.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Eide, Kristin Melum; Grimstad, Maren Berg; Åfarli, Tor A; Riksem, Brita Ramsevik. (2013) Grammatikk og flerspråklighet. Researchers' Night 2013 . NTNU; Trondheim. 2013-09-27.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Grimstad, Maren Berg; Åfarli, Tor A. (2013) Aspects of a formal theory of bilingualism. Tromsø International Conference on Language Diversity . Universitetet i Tromsø; Tromsø. 2013-11-06 - 2013-11-08.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Grimstad, Maren Berg; Åfarli, Tor A. (2013) Language mixing without features. Features in Phonology, Morphology, Syntax, and Semantics: What are they? . Universitetet i Tromsø; Tromsø. 2013-11-01.
  • Melvær, Knut; Lohndal, Terje. (2013) Språk og generativ grammatikk å prate om Terje Lohndal med. udannet (podcast) [Internett]. 2013-12-03.
  • Voss, Friederike Ingeborg; Vulchanova, Mila Dimitrova; Knoeferle, Pia; Lohndal, Terje. (2013) Discourse reference and situation models in situated child language comprehension. Cognition and Language in Developmental Disorders Conference . University of Seville; Seville. 2013-11-21 - 2013-11-22.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2012) A conjunctive syntax-semantics interface. Colloquium . University of Chicago; 2012-04-27.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2012) Are the humanities useful?. 50th Anniversary of Agder Academy of Science and Letters . Agder Vitenskapsakademi; 2012-10-27.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2012) Commentary on "Can Machines Be Creative Enough to Invent Their Own Language"?. Turing Anniversary . Universitetet i Bergen; 2012-11-05.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2012) Den fantastiske språkevnen. Greveakademiet . Greveskogen videregående skole; Tønsberg. 2012-12-05.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2012) Grammar and the Lexicon. Colloquium . Norwegian University of Science and Technology; 2012-03-16.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2012) Han skriver seg inn i historiebøkene. Farsunds Avis [Avis]. 2012-09-17.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2012) Hva vil det si å være menneske?. Språkteigen [Radio]. 2012-09-23.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2012) Hvorfor er lingvister uenige om så mye?. Lingvistisk studentforening ; Universitetet i Oslo. 2012-11-26.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2012) NTNU har to av de ti beste. Universitetsavisa [Internett]. 2012-09-14.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2012) Sentential subjects and reprojection. CASTL Colloquium . Universitetet i Tromsø; 2012-11-09.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2012) Specifiers and the Subject Requirement in English. Colloquium . University of Manchester; 2012-03-19.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2012) Språkorganisten. Morgenbladet [Avis]. 2012-09-14.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2012) Stjernelingvist med beina på jorda. Uniforum [Internett]. 2012-06-14.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2012) The syntax-semantics mapping and its implications for movement and serial verbs. Colloquium . Norwegian University of Science and Technology; 2012-03-15.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2012) Tok doktorgrad i rekordfart. Farsunds Avis [Avis]. 2012-03-05.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2012) Unge forskere. Dagsnytt 18, NRK [Radio]. 2012-09-20.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Olsen, Dag Rune. (2012) Roper på næringslivet. Dagens Næringsliv [Avis]. 2012-10-12.
  • Lohndal, Terje; Samuels, Bridget. (2012) On how null elements and unpronounced copies are different. GLOW Workshop: Empty Categories in Syntax: Are There Any? . University of Potsdam; 2012-03-31.
  • Westergaard, Marit; Vangsnes, Øystein A; Lohndal, Terje. (2012) Microvariation as diachrony. Decennium: The first 10 years of CASTL . CASTL; Tromsø. 2012-09-12 - 2012-09-14.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2011) Cognizing Language: I-Meanings and Semantic Competence. Harvard-Australia Workshop on Language, Logic and Learning . Macquarie University; 2011-08-22.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2011) Commentary on "Advanced Cartography: Charting Elevation" by Gillian Ramchand and Peter Svenonius. CASTL Decennium . Universitetet i Tromsø; 2011-09-14.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2011) Domains of Agreement. Colloquium . University of California at Santa Cruz; 2011-01-27.
  • Lohndal, Terje. (2010) Freezing Effects and Objects. Colloquium . Universität Leipzig; 2010-04-23.