On language and speech


On June 13 and 14 2011 Prof. J. Lachlan Mackenzie conducted the seminar "Understanding English grammar from the angle of psycholinguistics and dialogue analysis".

CV details

Prof. Lachlan Mackenzie is Honorary Professor of Functional Linguistics at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam since 2007. At this university he started his career as a lecturer after completing, in 1973, a 5-year MA course in French and German at the University of Aberdeen, and obtaining a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh in 1978. His expertise is in European languages, with a specialization in English linguistics.

This expertise has allowed him to work as a consultant in languages and linguistics, with over 30 years of experience. Apart from English, language and linguistics, and typology, his research interests comprise lexicology, morphology, semantics and pragmatics. Throughout his career, he has actively collaborated with universities and research centres across Europe. Based in Portugal, he has worked for the last 7 years as a researcher for the "Discourse and Literacy" group of the Institute for Theoretical and Computational Linguistics (ILTEC) in Lisbon. His research there is focused on the relation between Functional Discourse Grammar and dialogue.

Prof. Lachlan Mackenzie combines his work as a researcher at the Portuguese Institute and as a consultant with the following academic activities: the editing of the major journal of functional linguistics, Functions of Language; the work derived from his position of Research Manager of the Santiago-based international research programme SCIMITAR, a programme investigating the grammar-discourse interface from the perspective of language typology, information processing and language acquisition; and a range of undertakings in Functional Discourse Grammar.

Among Prof Mackenzie’s most recent publications are the following: the well-known 2008 monograph, co-authored with Kees Hengeveld, Functional Discourse Grammar: A Typologically-Based Theory of Language Structure (Oxford University Press), and  about to come out is the second edition of Writing in English: A Guide for Advanced Learners ( A. Francke), co-authored with Dirk Siepmann, John D. Gallagher and Mike Hannay. Earlier monographs are Principles and Pitfalls of English Grammar (2nd ed. 2002, Coutinho) and Effective Writing in English: A Sourcebook (2002, Coutinho), with Mike Hannay.

Prof. Mackenzie has been honoured with two Festschrifts:

  • Aertsen, H., M. Hannay and R. Lyall (eds), 2004. Words in their places: A Festschrift for J. Lachlan Mackenzie, Amsterdam: VU University Amsterdam
  • Hannay, M. and G.J. Steen (eds), 2007. Structural-functional studies in English grammar: In honour of Lachlan Mackenzie. Amsterdam and Philadelphia PA: Benjamins.

Outline of the seminar

Discussion of some English-language dialogue fragments in transcription; background on the relation between grammar and language production; incrementality; end-points and transitions; the cognitive adequacy of grammars; priming and alignment; and analysis of English-language dialogue fragments in the light of the discussion.

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