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 Dept. of Aesthetics & Communication 
 Section for English 
 Research Programme in
Language and Linguistics

DANSK version af denne side

Sten Vikner

Professor, dr. phil. habil.

Section for English
Department of Aesthetics & Communication        
University of Aarhus
Jens Chr. Skous Vej 4
DK-8000 Århus C, Denmark

       I have four home pages (sorry!):
  ·   ENG very brief
  ·   ENG detailed (this one)
  ·   DAN very brief
  ·   DAN detailed
See also
"Sten Vikner" in Google Scholar

"Sten Vikner" in Microsoft Academic Research
Contact: Tel. +45 8716 2639 (direct)
Tel. +45 8716 2564 (section secretary)
E-mail: sten.vikner@hum.au.dk
Office: Building 1481 (Jens Chr. Skous Vej 4), Room 330
This page: clock
Office hour
Present position
Research interests
Past appointments

      (separate page)

      (separate page)
Min danske hjemmeside    Danish flag    My Danish home page
My other web pages: comments
Project on
clauses and nominals

DanDiaSyn project
(Danish dialect syntax)

Project on
Object Positions

pointing hand
Optimality Theory
Syntax Project

Transcription of English Vowels
      (as ps or pdf)
Linguistics and the
Theory of Science

      (my own page)
Der yiddisher alef-beys
(The Yiddish alphabet)

      (in English)
Three Yiddish Phrases
Sproget er et genetisk determineret organ
      (in Danish)
English Dept.
Relay Race Team

Various WWW-links


Office hour (Room 330, Building 1481):

Monday 16:15-17:30
        (or by appointment: sten.vikner@hum.au.dk)


Classes (Autumn 2013):

Syntax, Semantics & Pragmatics 1 (lectures, 1st semester, BA)
       Monday 13:15-14:00, Lecture Hall A1, room 012, Building 1441
Current Topics in English Linguistics (obligatory subject, 1st semester, MA)
       Monday 14:15-16:00, room 264, Building 1481
Comparative Syntax (Elective, 3rd semester, BA)
       Tuesday 10:15-12:00, Room 262, Building 1481
Syntax, Semantics & Pragmatics 1 (Group D, 1st semester, BA)
       Wednesday 08:15-09:30, Room 235 B, Building 1485

Course Catalogue for all of AU
Timetables for Arts/AU
Classes taught in previous semesters


Present position

I am a professor with special responsibilites in theoretical and comparative linguistics (see e.g. my inaugural lecture, the press release on the faculty web site (in Danish), or a cutting from the university newspaper Campus (also in Danish)). I am part of the Section for English which is again part of the Department of Aesthetics & Communication at Aarhus University.

I am head of the PhD programme "Language, Linguistics and Cognition", and a member of the research committee of the Department of Aesthetics & Communication. I am also a member of the Research Programme in Language and Linguistics, where I head a research group on syntax and morphology.

From January 2009 to December 2013, I am the head of the section Cognition, Language and Music within the neuroscientific research cluster MindLab. The entire cluster is headed by Leif Østergaard and Andreas Roepstorff, and the other sections are headed by Eva Vedel Jensen, Armin Geertz, Dorthe Berntsen, and Troels Staehelin-Jensen. The entire cluster is financed by the Ministry for Science, Techology and Innovation.

From 2008 to 2011, I was the leader of a research project on clauses and nominals, which also included Steffen Krogh, Henning Nølke and Johanna Wood, all from the Department of Aesthetics & Communication. The project also included post doc Eva Engels and Ph.D. student Katrine Planque Tafteberg, and it was financed by the Danish Research Council for the Humanities (Forskningsrådet for Kultur og Kommunikation).

From 2007 to 2008, I was part of the research project DanDiaSyn (on Danish dialect syntax), which was headed by Henrik Jørgensen from the Scandinavian Institute, and which also included Karen Margrethe Pedersen of the University of Copenhagen. The project was financed by the Danish Research Council for the Humanities (Forskningsrådet for Kultur og Kommunikation).

From 2005 to 2007, I was the leader of a research project on object positions, which also included Henrik Jørgensen from the Scandinavian Institute. The project was financed by the Danish Research Council for the Humanities (Forskningsrådet for Kultur og Kommunikation).

I have been the supervisor of the following PhD students, Tanja Schmid (defense Oct. 5, 2002, Univ. of Stuttgart), Ken Ramshøj Christensen (defense Sept. 22, 2005, Aarhus Univ.), Anne Kjeldahl (defense Sept. 29, 2010, Aarhus Univ.), and Johannes Kizach (defense Sept. 30, 2010, Aarhus Univ.). I have been the co-supervisor of Gunnar Hrafn Hrafnbjargarson (defense June 10, 2004, Aarhus Univ.), Laura Winther Balling (defense March 16, 2009, Aarhus Univ.), and Anne Mette Nyvad (expected defense January 16, 2014, Aarhus Univ.).

I am one of two main editors of the Nordic Journal of Linguistics, together with Catherine Ringen of the University of Iowa. I am furthermore a member of the editorial boards of Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics, of the journal Studia Linguistica, and of the book series Linguistics Today.

Finally, I was the head of the Århus groups under ScanDiaSyn (Scandinavian Dialect Syntax) and NORMS (Nordic Centre of Excellence in Microcomparative Syntax).

Nordic Journal of Linguistics




Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics    Studia Linguistica    Linguistics Today


Verb Movement and Expletive Subjects in the Germanic Languages

Optimality-theoretic Syntax

Research interests

(See also e.g. the article "Method in the Madness" in the booklet University of Aarhus 2004.)

My main research interest is the syntax of English, Danish, and the related Germanic languages (Norwegian, Swedish, Faroese, Icelandic, Yiddish, German, Swiss German, Dutch, Afrikaans, Frisian) and also the syntax of French and Italian.

The linguistic framework of most of my research is generative grammar, which I consider to be the most adequate and promising of the existing linguistic theories. This does not mean, however, that I think that one can ignore the work that has been done within other linguistic theories or frameworks. On generative grammar, see e.g. "Frequently asked questions about linguistics" and "Det særlige ved sproget " (in Danish); on the relation between generative grammar and the theory of science, see e.g. "Linguistics and the Theory of Science"; and on the relation between generative grammar and other linguistic frameworks, see e.g. my inaugural lecture "Theoretical and Comparative Linguistics" from 2006, or my article in Danish from 2004 "Nødvendigheden af en formel tilgang til sprogvidenskab" [The necessity of a formal approach to linguistics], or this quote from Newmeyer 1998.

One of my research goals is to find out which syntactic properties of English, Danish, or any other of the above languages is found only in that particular language, and which ones are shared with other languages, where I try to account for as many empirical surface differences as possible by deriving them from as few theoretical underlying differences as possible.

At the moment, I am contiuing to work on the projects mentioned above on similarities and differences between clauses and nominals, on Danish dialect syntax and on object positions and their interpretation, and furthermore I am still working on verb movement within Optimality Theory syntax, and the link between the richness of verbal inflection and Vo-to-Io movement.

List of activities
List of publications

Studies in Comparative Germanic Syntax

Deutsche Satzstruktur - Grundlagen der syntaktischen Analyse


Past appointments

From 1984 to 1990, I was assistant professor at the University of Geneva. From 1990 to 2001, I was assistant professor at the University of Stuttgart, where I was one of eight founding members of the Ph.D. programme in Linguistics, Linguistic Representations and their Interpretation. From 2001 to 2005, I was assistant professor at the University of Aarhus.

I have furthermore been a visiting scholar at M.I.T. (Sept.-Dec. 1987), at the University of Lund (Jan.-March 1988), and at the University of Tromsø (April-June 1988), visiting assistant professor at Rutgers University (Sept.-Dec. 1996), a fellow at N.I.A.S. (Feb.-June 1997), and visiting professor at the Dept. of Linguistics, University of Aarhus (Sept.-Oct. 1998).

In the autumn of 2008 and the spring of 2009, I was a visiting professor at the Department of Linguistics, University of Cambridge, where I was associated with the research projects Structure and Linearization in Disharmonic Word Orders and The Development of Negation in the Languages of Europe.

From January 1999 to December 2001, Gereon Müller and I were the principal investigators in a research project on optimality theory syntax financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation).

From 1994 to 2002, I was the secretary of the board of GLOW ("Generative Linguists in the Old World").



University of London Københavns Universitet  1984: M.A. (Linguistics)
University of London
Université de Genève Universität Tübingen
1987:Cand. phil. (English) [≈ M.A.]
University of Copenhagen
1990:Docteur ès lettres [≈ Ph.D.]
University of Geneva
2002:Dr. phil. habil.
University of Tübingen

    This document is http://www.hum.au.dk/engelsk/engsv/
First posted: March 1997 (as http://pinguin.philosophie.uni-stuttgart.de/ifl/Vikner.html)
March 2001 (here, i.e. http://www.hum.au.dk/engelsk/engsv/)
Last modified:  September 30, 2013
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