Dr Florent Perek

Dr Florent Perek

Department of English Language and Linguistics
Lecturer in Cognitive Linguistics

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.


  • Perek, F. (2016). Using distributional semantics to study syntactic productivity in diachrony: A case study. Linguistics, 54(1), 149–188.
  • Perek, F. (2015). Argument structure in usage-based construction grammar: Experimental and corpus-based perspectives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Hilpert, M. & Perek, F. (2015). Meaning change in a petri dish: Constructions, semantic vector spaces, and motion charts. Linguistics Vanguard, 1(1), 339–350.
  • Perek, F. & Goldberg, A. (2015). Generalizing beyond the input: The functions of the constructions matter. Journal of Memory and Language, 84, 108–127.
  • Perek, F. & Hilpert, M. (2014). Constructional tolerance: Are argument structure constructions equally powerful across languages? Construction and Frames, 6(2), 266–304.
  • Perek, F. (2014). Rethinking constructional polysemy: the case of the English conative construction. In Glynn, D. & Robinson, J. (Eds.), Polysemy and Synonymy. Corpus Methods and Applications in Cognitive Linguistics (pp. 61–85). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • 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, Baltimore, Maryland USA, June 23-25 2014 (pp. 309–314). East Stroudsburg, PA: ACL.
  • Perek, F. (2012). Alternation-based generalizations are stored in the mental grammar: evidence from a sorting task experiment. Cognitive Linguistics, 23(3), 601–635.
  • Perek, F. & Lemmens, M. (2010). Getting at the meaning of the English at-construction: the case of a constructional split. CogniTextes, 5. 

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