Elizabeth Closs Traugott (born April 9, 1939 in the UK) is an American linguist and Professor of Linguistics and English, Stanford University. She is best known for her work on grammaticalization, subjectification, and constructionalization. Traugott earned her BA in English Language at Oxford University in 1960 and her PhD in English Language at the University of California, Berkeley in 1964. She was a pioneer in generative historical syntax. Dissatisfaction with generative models led her to collaborate with Paul Hopper (Carnegie Mellon University) and develop a functional approach to grammaticalization, understood as the change whereby lexical items and constructions come in certain linguistic contexts to serve grammatical functions (Hopper and Traugott 1993, revised ed. 2003). More recently she has worked with Graeme Trousdale (University of Edinburgh) on constructionalization. Based in Construction Grammar, constructionalization provides a framework that incorporates several aspects of grammaticalization and lexicalization within a unified theory of how meaningnew-formnew constructions arise. Other interests include the development of pragmatic markers, especially those in utterance-final position.


Elizabeth Traugott's initial appointment was in the English Department at the University of California, Berkeley (1964-1970). After year-long teaching appointments at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and University of York, UK, she was appointed Associate Professor of Linguistics and English at Stanford University in 1970, and Professor in 1977. She served as Chair of the Department of Linguistics at Stanford University from 1980-1985 and as Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies from 1985-1991. Elizabeth Traugott was honored with honorary doctorates from Uppsala University (2006) and The University of Helsinki (2010).[1]

Awards and distinctionsEdit

Traugott held a Guggenheim fellowship in 1983[2] and a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in 1983-84. She was President of the International Society for Historical Linguistics (ISHL) in 1979, of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) in 1987,[3] and of the International Society for the Linguistics of English (ISLE) in 2007-2008.[4] She is currently a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).


Selected Books

1972 A History of English Syntax. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

1980 (Elizabeth Closs Traugott and Mary L. Pratt) Linguistics for Students of Literature. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, Inc.

1986 (Elizabeth Closs Traugott, Alice ter Meulen, Judith Snitzer Reilly, and Charles A. Ferguson, eds.) On Conditionals, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

1991 (Elizabeth Closs Traugott and Bernd Heine, eds.) Approaches to Grammaticalization, 2 Vols., Amsterdam: Benjamins.

1993 (Paul Hopper and Elizabeth Closs Traugott) Grammaticalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2002 (Elizabeth Closs Traugott and Richard B. Dasher) Regularity in Semantic Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2003 (Paul Hopper and Elizabeth Closs Traugott) Grammaticalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, revised 2nd edition.

2005 (Laurel J. Brinton and Elizabeth Closs Traugott) Lexicalization and Language Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2010 (Elizabeth Closs Traugott and Graeme Trousdale, eds.) Gradience, Gradualness and Grammaticalization. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

2012 (Terttu Nevalainen and Elizabeth Closs Traugott, eds.) The Oxford Handbook of the History of English. New York: Oxford University Press.

2013 (Elizabeth Closs Traugott and Graeme Trousdale) Constructionalization and Constructional Changes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


  1. ^ "The New Sesquipedalian". September 17, 2010. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  2. ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Elizabeth C. Traugott". Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  3. ^ "Presidents | Linguistic Society of America". Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  4. ^ "ISLE Committees". ISLE - The International Society for the Linguistics of English. Retrieved July 12, 2015.

External linksEdit