Dr Florent Perek

Dr Florent Perek

Department of English Language and Linguistics
Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Linguistics
Deputy Director of the Centre for Corpus Research

Contact details

Frankland Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a cognitive linguist, a quantitative corpus linguist, and a construction grammarian. I teach classes on topics surrounding the grammar and semantics of English.


  • PhD in English Linguistics from the University of Freiburg, Germany and the University of Lille 3, France (co-tutelle)
  • MA in Linguistics and Natural Language Processing, University of Lille 3
  • Engineer’s degree (software engineering) from the Institut de Génie Informatique et Industriel, Lens, France


Hailing from France, I first graduated in computer science in Lens before studying linguistics in Lille. I completed my PhD in English linguistics in Freiburg, Germany, in 2012. I spent my postdoc years as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Psychology in Princeton University, USA, and as a Teaching and Research Fellow at the English department in Basel, Switzerland. I joined the Department of English Language and Linguistics in Birmingham as a Lecturer in April 2016.


I teach on and/or convene the following modules on the BA and campus MA programmes:

  • Approaches to Grammar (BA, year-long module)
  • Describing Language (MA, with Lee Oakley)
  • Sounds, words, and structures (BA, with Lee Oakley)
  • Lexical Semantics (BA, with Bodo Winter)

Postgraduate supervision

Florent Perek would be happy to take on prospective PhD students interested to pursue a project in cognitive linguistics with a particular focus on the syntax, morphology, or semantics of English (and/or other European languages), and preferably using corpus-based and/or experimental methods.

Find out more - our PhD English Language and Applied Linguistics  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My main research interests lie in the study of grammar from a cognitive and corpus linguistic perspective. I focus in particular on how syntactic constructions are mentally represented, how they are learned, and how they change over time.

Other activities

I am a board member of the French Cognitive Linguistics Association (AFLiCo), and webmaster of their website. I am also an editor for the journal CogniTextes.


Recent publications


Perek, F 2015, Argument Structure in Usage-Based Construction Grammar: Experimental and Corpus-based Perspectives. Constructional Approaches to Language, vol. 17, John Benjamins, Amsterdam. <https://www.jbe-platform.com/content/books/9789027268754>


Perek, F & Patten, A 2019, 'Towards an English constructicon using patterns and frames', International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 354–384. https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.00016.per

Perek, F & Hilpert, M 2017, 'A distributional semantic approach to the periodization of change in the productivity of constructions', International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 490-520. https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.16128.per

Perek, F & Goldberg, A 2017, 'Linguistic generalization on the basis of function and constraints on the basis of statistical preemption', Cognition, vol. 168, pp. 276-293.

Perek, F 2016, 'Recent change in the productivity and schematicity of the way-construction: a distributional semantic analysis', Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory. https://doi.org/10.1515/cllt-2016-0014

Perek, F 2016, 'Using distributional semantics to study syntactic productivity in diachrony: A case study', Linguistics, vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 149-188. https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2015-0043

Perek, F & Goldberg, A 2015, 'Generalizing beyond the input: The functions of the constructions matter', Journal of Memory and Language, vol. 84, pp. 108-127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2015.04.006

Hilpert, M & Perek, F 2015, 'Meaning change in a petri dish: Constructions, semantic vector spaces, and motion charts', Linguistics Vanguard, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 339-350. https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2015-0013

Perek, F & Hilpert, M 2014, 'Constructional tolerance: Cross-linguistic differences in the acceptability of non-conventional uses of constructions', Constructions and Frames, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 266-304. https://doi.org/10.1075/cf.6.2.06per

Perek, F 2012, 'Alternation-based generalizations are stored in the mental grammar: Evidence from a sorting task experiment', Cognitive Linguistics, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 601-635. https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2012-0018

Perek, F & Lemmens, M 2010, 'Getting at the meaning of the English at-construction: the case of a constructional split', CogniTextes, vol. 5. <https://cognitextes.revues.org/331>

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Patten, A & Perek, F 2019, Pedagogic applications of the English Constructicon. in Pedagogic Construction Grammar: Data, Methods, and Applications. De Gruyter.


Perek, F 2014, Rethinking constructional polysemy: The case of the English conative construction. in D Glynn & J Robinson (eds), Corpus Methods for Semantics: Quantitative studies in polysemy and synonymy. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 61-85. https://doi.org/10.1075/hcp.43

Conference contribution

Perek, F 2014, Vector spaces for historical linguistics: Using distributional semantics to study syntactic productivity in diachrony. in Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Short Papers). Baltimore, Maryland, USA, pp. 309-314. <http://acl2014.org/acl2014/P14-2/pdf/P14-2051.pdf>

Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Perek, F & Goldberg, A 2014, Konstruktionsgrammatik. in C Dürscheid & S Schierholz (eds), Wörterbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft (WSK) Online, Band 1: Grammatik. vol. 1, De Gruyter. <http://www.degruyter.com/view/WSK/wsk_id_wsk_artikel_artikel_27125>

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