Geoffrey K. Pullum: Short Biography

Geoffrey K. Pullum is Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. He has worked on a broad array of topics in theoretical linguistics, but has a special interest in the grammar of Standard English and in popular misconceptions of it.

He was born in Scotland but raised in England. His first job was as a professional rock musicican (piano, organ, and occasionally guitar): he worked with Pete Gage to found the Ram Jam Band, and hired Geno Washington as vocalist. He later earned a B.A. in Language with First Class Honours at the University of York and spent a year as a research student at King's College, Cambridge. He earned the Ph.D. in General Linguistics at the University of London.

He has held visiting professorships at the University of Washington, Stanford University, and Brown University In addition to positions on the faculty at University College London, the University of California (Santa Cruz), and the University of Edinburgh, he has held visiting professorships at the University of Washington, Stanford University, and Brown University.

He has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and has been elected to both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the British Academy.

He has published a total of about 280 articles and books, ranging from technical work on syntactic theory to a handbook on phonetic transcription (Phonetic Symbol Guide, 2nd edition 1996), a collection of satirical essays about the study of language, (The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax, 1991), and a collection of often humorous articles from Language Log (Far from the Madding Gerund, with Mark Liberman, 2006). His best-known work is The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (by Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, Cambridge University Press), which is a comprehensive description of the linguistic structure of international standard English, appeared in 2002 and was awarded the the Linguistic Society of America's Leonard Bloomfield Book Award in January 2004. A textbook based on The Cambridge Grammar appeared in 2005 (A Student's Introduction to English Grammar, with Rodney Huddleston).

His latest book is Linguistics: Why It Matters (Polity Press, 2018).