Dr Jason Grafmiller

Dr Jason Grafmiller

Department of English Language and Linguistics
Lecturer in corpus-based sociolinguistics

Contact details

Frankland Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a lecturer in corpus-based sociolinguistics in English Language and Linguistics. My research focuses on the quantitative analysis of grammatical variation.


  • PhD in Linguistics, 2013, Stanford University
  • BA with distinction in Linguistics, 2006, The Ohio State University


I joined the Department of English Language and Linguistics in June 2017. Before coming to the University of Birmingham, I was a postdoctoral fellow in the Quantitative Lexicology and Variational Linguistics (QLVL) research unit in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium.


At the undergraduate level in academic year 2017-18, I will be teaching the modules Research Skills in English Language and Sounds, Structures, and Words. At the postgraduate level, I’ll be teaching the Sociolinguistics and English as an International Language modules.

Postgraduate supervision

I am interested in supervising MA and PhD research in linguistic variation of all stripes, particularly work focused on investigating usage-based models of social and/or cognitive factors shaping morphosyntactic variation in English (or other languages).

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


My research aims to better understand the nature of syntactic variation in the context of natural language use. Most recently I have been investigating grammatical alternations in World Englishes, e.g. the particle placement alternation (I picked the book up ~ I picked up the book). Other areas of interest include: the interaction of syntactic, semantic and other cognitive factors in stylistic variation across registers and genres; the nature of so-called "end-weight" effects in word order variation; and the role of semantic features (esp. agency and animacy) in argument realization and transitivity alternations.

Other activities


  • Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt, Jason Grafmiller, Joan Bresnan, Anette Rosenbach, Sali Tagliamonte & Simon Todd. To appear. Spoken syntax in a comparative perspective: the dative and genitive alternation in varieties of English. Glossa.
  • Röthlisberger, Melanie, Jason Grafmiller & Benedikt Szmrecsanyi. To appear. Cognitive indigenization effects in the English dative alternation. Cognitive Linguistics.
  • Grafmiller, Jason, Benedikt Szmrecsanyi & Lars Hinrichs. Restricting the restrictive relativizer: Constraints on subject and non-subject English relative clauses. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory. Online ahead of print. doi: 10.1515/cllt-2016-0015.
  • Heller, Benedikt, Benedikt Szmrecsanyi & Jason Grafmiller. Stability and fluidity in syntactic variation world-wide: The genitive alternation across varieties of English. Journal of English Linguistics 45(1). DOI: 10.1177/0075424216685405.
  • Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt, Jason Grafmiller, Benedikt Heller & Melanie Röthlisberger. 2016. Around the world in three alternations: Modeling syntactic variation in global varieties of English. English World Wide 37(2). DOI: 10.1075/eww.37.2.01szm.
  • Shih, Stephanie, Jason Grafmiller, Richard Futrell & Joan Bresnan. 2016. Rhythm's role in genitive and dative construction choice in English. In R. Vogel and R. van de Vijver (eds). Rhythm in Phonetics, Grammar, and Cognition. De Gruyter, 207-234.
  • Grafmiller, Jason. 2014. Variation in English genitives across modality and genres. English Language and Linguistics, 18(3): 471-496. DOI: 10.1017/S1360674314000136.
  • Levin, Beth & Jason Grafmiller. Do you always fear what frightens you? In T. H. King and V. de Paiva (eds) From Quirky Case to Representing Space. CSLI Publications, Stanford, 21-32.

View all publications in research portal