Christopher Hicks

PhD Student in Linguistics


I'm a 3rd year PhD student of Linguistics at the University of Manchester specialising in Minimalist syntax with primary interests in the syntax of noun phrases and the links between morphosyntax, semantic interpretation and language acquisition.

My PhD is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.


  • PhD Linguistics

    2015 - present

    University of Manchester

    My thesis explores the syntax-semantics interface of the nominal phrase by looking at the marking and acquisition of typically 'functional' categories of nouns, such as gender and number. The study, which draws its typological data from both descriptive grammars and an online speaker survey, aims to assess the correlation between how these concepts are marked in languages, when they are acquired, and how they are grammaticalised within the syntax.
    Based on the links between the morphosyntactic representation of semantic concepts and their acquisition points, I propose a novel approach to functional projections as structural positions which are only acquired based on the transparency of the link between phonetic and semantic content.

  • MPhil Theoretical & Applied Linguistics (Distinction)

    2014 - 2015

    University of Cambridge

    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.

  • BA English Language & Linguistics (First)

    2009 - 2012

    University of York

    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.


  • Clerk to Governors

    Just A Sec
    2018 - present

  • Content Editor

    Opsis Consulting
    2015 - 2016

  • Copywriter

    Creative Brand Design

  • Business Analyst

    2012 - 2014

  • Website Creator

    University of York




  • Acquiring and grammaticalising individuation

    2018 Annual Meeting of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain
    University of Sheffield
    September 2018

  • Interdependencies in Chinese noun phrases (with Kersti Börjars & John Payne)

    23rd International Lexical-Functional Grammar Conference
    University of Vienna
    July 2018

  • Interdependencies in Chinese noun phrases (with Kersti Börjars & John Payne)

    25th South of England LFG Meeting
    May 2018

  • The marking and acquisition of individuation: English and Mandarin compared

    'The Count-Mass Distinction - A Linguistic Misunderstanding?' workshop
    Ruhr-University Bochum
    May 2018

  • How many or how much? - Counting and measuring in Chinese

    Manchester Forum in Linguistics
    University of Manchester
    April 2017

  • The Parameterisation of Number

    LOT Summer School
    Utrecht University
    July 2016


  • Reviewer of submitted articles

    Journal of Linguistics
    2016 - present

  • Reviewer of presentation abstracts

    Manchester Forum in Linguistics

Teaching and other student-related activity

  • Lecturer (part-time)

    Theory of Grammar, 2018

  • Associate Fellow

    Higher Education Academy, July 2018

  • Teaching Assistant

    Theory of Grammar, 2017
    Introduction to Syntactic Theory, 2017
    Language, Mind & Brain, 2016

  • Exam Marker

    Language Acquisition, 2018
    Minimalism, 2016

  • Academic Tutor

    Manchester Access Programme, 2017

Other Experience

  • PGR Student Representative

    University of Manchester
    2016 - 2018

  • Treasurer

    Manchester Forum in Linguistics
    2016 - 2017

  • Staff-Student Liaison Committee Representative

    University of Cambridge
    2014 - 2015


Christopher Hicks

Division of Linguistics and English Language
University of Manchester
Oxford Road