Lieven Danckaert

Contact information

Blandijnberg 2

9000 Ghent (Belgium)

(+32) 09 264 79 35


Research interests

My main research topic is Latin syntax, with a special interest in the study of word order. In my current research project (entitled 'Is Latin (discourse) configurational? Information structure, word order, and the potential for structural ambiguity' (FWO, 2013-2016)), I investigate whether a configurational (i.e. phrase structure based) approach to Latin word order, as assumed in most generative work on the topic, is indeed the best way to study the synchrony and diachrony of Latin word order.

More specifically, I evaluate the hypothesis that Latin is a so-called 'discourse configurational' language, in which pragmatic notions like topic vs. comment, old vs. new information etc. are encoded structurally rather than linearly. By doing so, I try to reconcile the widely accepted idea that information structure has a strong influence on Latin word order with more recent work that approaches Latin syntax from a purely structural point of view. The empirical focus of my research is on to the much-discussed alternations between the orders OV and VO and the orders VPAux and AuxVP, which I study in a text corpus texts dating from ca. 200 BC (Cato) until 600 AD (Gregory of Tours) (ca. 3.750.000 words).

A monograph summarizing the results of my recent research on word order has now appeared with OUP (see below).

In addition, I have secondary research interests in general topics in (generative) syntactic theory, as well as in the study of discourse particles and formal approaches to poetic metre.

A detailed cv can be found here



● Danckaert, Lieven. 2012. Latin embedded clauses: the left periphery (= Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 184). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. (Reviewed by Nigel Vincent, The Classical Review 65: 107-109)

Cover book Lieven

● Danckaert, Lieven. 2017. The development of Latin clause structure: a study of the extended verb phrase (= Oxford Studies in Diachronic & Historical Linguistcs 24). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The development of Latin clause structure


● Danckaert, Lieven. 2009. Magis rythmus quam metron: structuur en colometrie van de anapestische cantica van Seneca, Handelingen van de Koninklijke Zuid-Nederlandse Maatschappij 62, 59-74.

● Danckaert, Lieven & Liliane Haegeman. 2012. Conditional clauses, Main Clause Phenomena and the syntax of polarity emphasis. In: Ackema, P., R. Alcorn, C. Heycock, D. Jaspers, J. van Craenenbroeck & G. Vanden Wyngaerd (eds.), Comparative Germanic syntax: the state of the art, Amsterdam: Benjamins, 133-167.

● Danckaert, Lieven. 2013. Magis rythmus quam metron: the structure of Seneca's anapaests, and the oral/aural nature of Latin poetry, Symbolae Osloenses 87, 148-217.

● Haegeman, Liliane & Lieven Danckaert. 2013. Multiple subjects in Flemish: the external possessor. In: Rhys, Catrin, Pavel Iosad & Alison Henry (eds.), Microvariation, minority languages, minimalism and meaning: proceedings of the Irish Network in Formal Linguistics, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2-23.

● Danckaert, Lieven. 2014a. Quidem as a marker of emphatic polarity, Transactions of the Philological Society 112, 97-138.

● Danckaert, Lieven. 2014b. The derivation of Classical Latin Aux-final clauses: implications for the internal structure of the verb phrase. In: Lahousse, Karen & Stefania Marzo (eds.), Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory 2012, Amsterdam: Benjamins, 141-159.

● Danckaert, Lieven. 2015a. Spelling out the obvious: Latin quidem and the expression of presuppositional polarityJournal of Historical Pragmatics 16, 109-141.

● Danckaert, Lieven. 2015b. The decline of Latin left peripheral presentational foci. In: Biberauer, T. & G. Walkden (eds.), Syntax over time: lexical, morphological and information-structural interactions, Oxford: OUP, 265-279.

● Danckaert, Lieven. 2015c. Studying word order changes in Latin: some methodological considerations. In: Viti, Carlotta (ed.), Perspectives on historical syntax, Benjamins, 233-250.

● Haegeman, Liliane, Andrew Weir, Lieven Danckaert, Tijs D’Hulster & Liisa Buelens. 2015. Against the root analysis of subject contact relatives in English, Lingua 163, 61-74.

● Danckaert, Lieven. 2016a. Variation and change in Latin BE-periphrases: empirical and methodological considerations. In: Adams, James & Nigel Vincent (eds.), Early and Late Latin: continuity or change?, Cambridge: CUP, 132-162.

● Danckaert, Lieven. 2016b. Review of “Oniga, Renato (2014), Latin: a Linguistic Introduction (Edited and Translated by Norma Schifano), Oxford: Oxford University Press”, Latomus 75, 522-525.

● Danckaert, Lieven. To appear. The origins of the Romance analytic passive: evidence from word order. Submitted to Mathieu, Eric & Robert Truswell (eds.), From micro-change to macro-change, Oxford: OUP.

● Danckaert, Lieven. To appear. The decline of Latin VOAux: Neg-incorporation and syntactic reanalysis. In: Martins, Ana Maria & Adriana Cardoso (eds.), Word order change, Oxford: OUP.

● Danckaert, Lieven, Liliane Haegeman & Tijs D’Hulster. To appear. Deriving idiolectal variation: English wh-raising. In: Bidese, Ermenegildo & Federica Cognola (eds.), Title TBA, Amsterdam: Benjamins.

● Danckaert, Lieven & Liliane Haegeman. To appear. Syntacticizing blends: the case of English wh-raising. In: Castroviejo, Elena & Olga Fernandez-Soriano (eds.), Boundaries, phases and interfaces: case studies in honor of Violeta Demonte, Amsterdam: Benjamins.



● 'Word order in Latin verb clusters: a diachronic perspective'. Paper presented at the workshop 'Syntactic change and syntactic reconstruction: new perspectives', Universität Zürich,  28.09.2012.

● 'Word order variation in the Latin clause: O's, V's, Aux's, and their whereabouts'. Seminar given at the University of Cambridge, 20.11.2012.

● 'Changing patterns of infinitival complementation in Latin: evidence from causatives'. Paper presented at DiGS 16, Budapest, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 04.07.2014.

● 'Assessing phonological correlates of syntactic change: the case of Late Latin BE-periphrases'. Paper presented at DiGS 17, Reykjavík, University of Iceland, 31.05.2015.