Christopher Hicks

PhD Student of Linguistics at the
University of Manchester

Photo of Christopher Hicks

About Me

I'm a 2nd year PhD student in Linguistics at University of Manchester, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. I mainly work on theoretical Minimalist syntax. My current interests include: the syntax of DPs, phi-features, the acquisition of grammatical features, and agreement.

Work and Publications

Draft article submitted to Studia Linguistica. 2016.
An earlier version of this paper appeared in Cambridge Occasional Papers in Linguistics, vol. 9.

Poster presented at LOT Summer School. 2016.


University of Manchester
PhD in Linguistics

2015 to present

My research project has two initial key objectives:

1. I aim to determine "what it takes to be a phi-feature" - is the title based on semantic concepts required for reference, or is it a purely syntactic feature? If the semantic concepts are required for reference, what can the variation in how languages translate these concepts to phi-features (or similar) tell us about the link between syntax and semantics? Also, with that in mind, to what extent are the distinctions within phi-features important, e.g. number and distribution of Gender feature values (or noun classes)?

2. I aim to determine the importance of agreement in the acquisition of phi-features - is the sharing/spreading of a phi-feature through agreement important to indicate to the acquirer the presence and distribution of phi-features within the system? How do phi-features fare in languages with little to no agreement?

University of Cambridge
MPhil in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

2014 to 2015

My studies and research were in theoretical linguistics: formal (Chomskyan) syntax, morphology and language typology more specifically. The course at Cambridge provided useful experience of independent research in an academic environment and, in addition to participating in seminars and lectures, I followed courses in research methods and statistics to develop transferable skills for a future in research.

My dissertation aimed to provide a theory for the Number feature, its behaviour, and its interaction with numerals. A number of languages are considered and points of parametric variation suggested. The findings are based both in morphosyntactic and semantic terms. A system for the generation of complex cardinal numerals is also proposed, which captures a range of observations from numeral systems cross-linguistically. A theory is also provided for how numerals fit into the nominal projection, and how the Number feature can both constrain, and be constrained by, a numeral.

University of York
BA in English Language and Linguistics

2009 to 2012

This degree provided a broad understanding of a wide range of subfields in linguistics. I followed more specialised courses in syntax, semantics and information structure, as well as receiving teaching in the fundamentals of phonetics, phonology and sociolinguistics.


PGR Student Representative
University of Manchester

Representing the views of postgraduate research students of linguistics to staff at regular committee meetings.

Treasurer for Manchester Forum in Linguistics 2017
University of Manchester

Responsible for the funding, financial planning and budgeting of an established postgraduate and early career researcher conference in linguistics.

Teaching Assistant for "Language, Mind & Brain" module
University of Manchester

Leading seminars for first year undergraduate students and grading their assessed work.

Marker for "Minimalism" module
University of Manchester

Grading all final examination scripts for third year undergraduate students according to division and university marking criteria and standards.

Reviewer for Journal of Linguistics

Reviewing submissions concerned with phi-features within the nominal domain.

Staff-Student Liaison Committee Representative
University of Cambridge

Providing a link between fellow linguistics Masters students and the department.