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.


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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