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About us Practical matters How to find us prof. dr. M.H. (Marjolijn) Verspoor

prof. dr. M.H. (Marjolijn) Verspoor

Interim Professor of Language Learning
Profile picture of prof. dr. M.H. (Marjolijn) Verspoor

Dr. Marjolijn Verspoor is Professor of English Language and Chair of the English Department and teaches courses in Applied Linguistics and English Language and Culture.


Supervision and examinee of PH D candidates

Supervision and examinee of MA and BA candidates

Teaching Experience


Third-party funded research project 

Board and management functions 


Dynamic system theory

Forthcoming Dynamic patterns in development of accuracy and complexity: a longitudinal case study in the acquisition of Finnish with Marianne Spoelman. Accepted by Applied Linguistics
Forthcoming Several chapters in A dynamic approach to second language development: methods and techniques (co-edited with Kees de Bot and Wander Lowie). Amsterdam: Benjamins
2009 Dynamic interactions: accuracy versus complexity in Finnish learner language. (With Marianne Spoelman) Anela-conferentie bundel.

De ontwikkeling van schrijfvaardigheid in het Fins als vreemde taal: een dynamisch perspectief .(With Marianne Spoelman). TTWiA September 2009


Input and Second Language Development from a Dynamic Perspective (with De Bot, C.L.J., and Lowie, W.M.). In Piske, Thorsten & Young-Scholten, Martha (Eds.). Input Matters. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.


Variability in L2 development from a dynamic systems perspective (with Lowie, W.M &Van Dijk, M.) Modern Language Journal , pp. 214-231.


A dynamic view as a complementary perspective (with De Bot, C.L.J., and Lowie, W.) Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 10 (1), 2007, 51-55


A Dynamic Systems Theory approach to second language acquisition (with De Bot, C.L.J., and Lowie, W. (2007). Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 10 (1), 2007, 7–21


Dynamic Systems Theory and Applied Linguistics: the ultimate “so what”? (with C.L.J. de Bot and W.M. Lowie) International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 15 (1), 116-118.


Dynamic systems theory and variation: a case study in L2 writing. (with C.L.J. de Bot and W.M. Lowie). InH. Aertsen, M. Hannay & R. Lyall, Words in their places: a Festschrift for J. Lachlan Mackenzie. Amsterdam : VU. pp. 407-421


Effects of bilingual education


Tweetalig onderwijs: vormgeving en prestaties Onderzoeksrapportage (met

J. Schuitemaker – King, E.M.J. van Rein, K. de Bot en P. Edelenbos)


English as a Foreign Language: The role ofout-of-school input (in Festschrift)

2009 Tweetalig Onderwijs: Beter geschoolde leerlingen in 2024. (With Peter Edelenbos) in De Graaff, R & D.Tuin (Eds) De Toekomst van het Talenonderwijs: Nodig? Anders? Beter?. IVLOS: Utrecht
2007 Engels in het voortgezet onderwijs, de rol van buitenschools taalcontact. (with de Bot, C.L.J. and van der Heiden, F.) Levende Talen . 8.3. pp. 3-10


Effects of Cognitive Insights into Second Language Development, processingand teaching

Forthcoming Using Metaphors in Teaching English Articles. KNOWING IS SEEING: Metaphor and Language Pedagogy . Edited by Constanze Juchem-Grundmann & Susanne Niemeier. Berlin: Moutn de Gruyter.

Cognitive Linguistics and Second Language Learning. (with Tyler, A.) In Ritchie, W.C. and Bhatia T. K. (eds) The New Handbook of Second Language Acquisition, Elsevier (pp160-174))


Cognitive Grammar and teaching English Articles to Asian Students (with Nguyen Thu Huong) in Lapaire, J.R (Ed) From Gram to Mind: Grammar as Cognition. Presses Universitaires de Bordeaux.


What bilingual word associations can tell us. In: Boers, F. & Lindstromberg, S., Cognitive Linguistic Approaches to Teaching Vocabulary and Phraseology. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.


Cognitive linguistics and its applications to second language teaching. In J. Cenoz and N. H. Hornberger (eds), Encyclopedia of Language and Education, 2nd Edition, Volume 6: Knowledge about Language, pp. 79-91


Input versus Transfer? --The role of frequency and similarity in the acquisition of L2 prepositions. (with W.M. Lowie) In Achard, Michel and Susanne Niemeier (eds.), Cognitive Linguistics, Second Language Acquisition, and Foreign language Teaching. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.


Making Sense of Polysemous Words (with W.M. Lowie) Language Learning 53 / 3 pp. I 547-586


The acquisition and retention of polysemous words in a foreign language” (with Wander Lowie) Toegepaste taalwetenschap in artikelen65, 9-21


Making sense of prepositions: The role of frequency and similarity in the acquisition of L2 prepositions” in Van der Meer, Geart and Alice ter Meulen. Making Sense from Lexeme toDiscourse . Groningen: Groningen Arbeiten in Germanistischen Linguistik (with Wander Lowie)


“True blue: a cognitive approach to vocabulary acquisition” in Smieja, Birgit and Meike Tasch (eds) in Human Contact Through Language and Linguistics: Festschrift for Rene Dirven. 203-217. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Verlag


Cognitive Linguistic Approach to English Complementation


Conceptual Distance and Cognitive processing levels: Iconicity in English Complement Constructions.In: Kaoru Horie (ed). Complementation: Interface of Cognitive, Functional and Typological Perspectives. Amsterdam: Benjamins.


Hubert Cuyckens & Marjolijn Verspoor, "On the road to to". In:Johan Van der Auwera, Frank Durieux, and Ludo Lejeune (eds.), English as a human language. München: Lincom Europa, München, pp. 57-72


“To-infinitives” In: Stadler, L de, Eyrich, C (red.), Issues in cognitive linguistics, 1993 Proceedings of the international cognitive linguistics conference, Mouton de Gruyter, Berlijn-New York, pp. 505-526


“Predicate Adjuncts and Subjectification” in Verspoor, Marjolijn, Kee Dong Lee and Eve Sweetser (eds). Lexical and Syntactical Constructions and the Construction of Meaning. 433-449. Amsterdam: Benjamins


“Small Clause Constructions and Subjectification,” Working paper in Series A: General and Theoretical Papers, Paper No. 362, L.A.U.D., Duisburg


“The story of -Ing: A subjective perspective” in Pütz, Martin and René Dirven The Construal of Space in Language and Thought 417-154 Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter


"Subjectiviteit in Engelse complementszinnen: een cognitief perspectief." Forum derLetteren , Jaargang 36 Afleve­ring 2 108-120


"To-infinitive and NP XP constructions: a cognitive analysis." In Language and Cognition 3 229-238 Boer, Ale, Jelly de Jong, and Rita Landeweerd


"Semantic Triggering of Sentential Complement Selection: The Case of To/Ing Non-Finite clauses." In Language: Usage and Description. Essays offered to N.E. Osselton 149-159. Eds. John Frankis and Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade; Rodopi, Amster­dam (co-authored with Frits Beukema)


"Semantic Properties of English Matrix Verbs pertinent to Sentential Complement Selection." In Mid-America Linguistics Conference Papers


Semantic Criteria in English Complement Selection. Unpublished Ph.D. Dis­sertation, Rijksuniversiteit Leiden



Recent research on foreign language teaching and learning in the Netherlands 2002-2006 (with Cremer, M.) Language Teaching no, pp. 183-211.


Colorful bits of experience: From Bluestocking to blue movie (with Bie-Kerékjártó, Ágnes) “English Studies, Volume 87, Number 1, February 2006, pp. 78-98(21)


"Introduction" in Puetz, Martin and Marjolijn Verspoor (eds) ix-xvi Explorations into linguistic relativity. Amsterdam: Benjamins


Verspoor, Marjolijn and Harris Winitz.“Assessment of the Lexical-Input Approach for Intermediate Language Learners” International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching XXXV/1 (1997). 61-75


Text books
A dynamic approach to second language development: methods and techniques (co-edited with Kees de Bot and Wander Lowie). Amsterdam: Benjamins

An introduction to Second language Acquistion: an Advanced resource book(co-authored with Kees de Bot and Wander Lowie). London: Routledge


A Cognitive Exploration of Language and Linguistics. Dirven, René and MarjolijnVerspoor. Amsterdam: Benjamins(new edition) [Meanwhile translations have appeared in 13 languages among which German, Spanish, Afrikaans, Korean, Italian, Greek and French.]


English Sentence Analysis : an introductory course Amsterdam: Benjamins. with Kim Sauter


Cognitieve inleiding tot taal en taalwetenschap, ACCO, Leuven/Amersfoort, Dirven, R, Verspoor, M (red) [Dutch translation of book above]


A Cognitive Exploration of Language and Linguistics. Dirven, René and Marjolijn


Channels: A basic Guide for Writers. Scott, Foresman/Litt­le Brown (co-authored with Mona Oliver and Linda Hart) [remedial textbook for native speakers of English]


English Syntax. Little Brown and Co, Boston (under married name Stevenson) [textbook for non-native speakers of English]


Edited books

Explorations into linguistic relativity. Puetz, Martin and Marjolijn Verspoor (eds) Amsterdam: Benjamins


Lexical and Syntactical Constructions and the Construction of Meaning. Verspoor, Marjolijn, Kee Dong Lee and Eve Sweetser (eds). Amsterdam: Benjamins


Editorial work

Managing editor of series: Converging Evidence in Language and Communication Research.Amsterdam: Benjamins (Eleven volumes have appeared)

Member of the board of editors of series: Cognitive Linguistics in Practice. Amsterdam: Benjamins

Regular reviewer for Research in Cognitive Linguistics, Cognitive Linguistics, Modern language journal and Language learning


Invited Presentations, Symposia and workshops

Over the last few years I have given numerous papers at conferences. Below I will just mention the theme sessions I organized, the workshops I gave and papers I was invited for.


Foreign language writing development from a dynamic systems perspective. Invited speaker at Symposium at AILA 2010


Cognitive Linguistics in the Second Language Classroom. Symposium at AILA 2008


Variation in L2 writing development from a DST perspective. Invited speaker at University of Basel. February 1, 2007


Variation in L2 writing development from a DST perspective. Invited speaker at ACLC 24 November te Amsterdam


De zin en onzin van het grammatica onderwijs. (Does it make sense to teach grammar?) Plenary speaker. Conferentie Platform voor 1e en 2e graads opleiders Levende Talen. 24 november te Arnhem


Applications of CL to Issues in Second Language Learning. Symposium organized at ICLC10 Krakow July 2008


Variation in L2 development from a DST perspective. Invited speaker at AAAL symposium on DST and Second language Acquisition funded by Language Learning in Montral 2006


Words and their meanings. Invited Speaker, University of Bremen

Supervision and examinee of PH D candidates

Rasmus Steinkrauss. Frequency and Function in WH Question Acquisition: A Usage based Case Study of German L1 Acquisition. RUG. November 26 2009

Suzanne Matula. Temporal Extensions of Spatial Particles: An Experimental Approach. Referent. Georgetown University. June 2007

Huong Nguyen Thu. Vietnamese Learners Mastering English articles. 23 May 2005. PPSW, RUG

Jenny Schuitemaker-King. Didactic aspects of bilingual education. RUG.

Hana Smiskova. The emergence of Formulaic language in L2 English. RUG.

Katrien van der Valck. The acquisiton of basic level concepts. Co-promotor. (Universiteit van Gent)

Supervision and examinee of MA and BA candidates

Over the last 15 years I have supervised numerous MA and BA theses in the area of theoretical linguistics, metaphor theory, vocabulary acquisition, sociolinguistics, teaching methods, second language development and so on.

Teaching Experience

Below I have mentioned all the courses I have taught; some courses were taught repeatedly and therefore no dates have been given. On the whole, the courses are in the area of English linguistics (syntax and grammar), English cognitive linguistics, sociolinguistics, pragmatics, cultural approaches to language, and in applied linguistics.

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, US (1973-1976)

Undergraduate courses:

  • German I and II   

Northe­ast Louisiana University, Monroe, US (1976-1989)

Undergraduate courses: 

  • German I-IV
  • French I and II
  • English as a Second Language I-V 
  • English 100, 101 

University of Missouri, Kansas City, US (1989-1991)

Undergraduate courses: 

  • English for Academic purposes I-V (all levels and skills)
  • Training for Foreign Teaching Assistants

Graduate course (Applied Linguistics):

  • Teaching English as a Second Language   

University of Groningen , Groningen, Netherlands (1991-present)

Undergraduate Proficiency courses 

  • English Proficiency I-VI (all levels and skills)  

Undergraduate English Linguistics courses:

  • Engelse Syntax and Phonetics 
  • Introduction to English Linguistics 
  • Introduction to Cognitive Linguistics 
  • Language and Mind 
  • Practical Grammar and Translation
  • Psycholinguistics 
  • Sociolinguistics
  • American English
  • Varieties of English
  • Language in use (pragmatics) 
  • Word knowledge acquisition  

Graduate English Linguistics courses: 

  • Teaching English as a Second Language
  • Cognitive Linguistics
  • Metaphors we live by
  • Forms and Functions
  • Word knowledge Acquisition
  • Dynamic Aspects of Second Language Development
  • Is a “rose” a “roos”(Psycholinguistic course)
  • What variability can tell us about Second language Development

Undergraduate Applied Linguistics courses

  • Language Acquisition: a linguistic perspective

Graduate Applied Linguistics courses 

  • Research methodology and statistics for applied linguistics
  • Teaching and Learning Aspects of a second or foreign language
  • Theoretical Perspectives on Language Learning

Graduate course in Communication Department 

  • Language, Communication and Culture  

Penn State Summer Institutes in Applied Linguistics (Summer 2005 and 2009) 

  • Cognitive Linguistics and Its Applications to Second-Language Learning.

Winterschool at Tilburg University (Winter 2008) 

  • A Dynamical approach to Second Language Development .
2009 - present

Chair Applied Linguistics

2005 - 2009

Study adviso r and coordinator MA program Applied Linguistics-Teaching English as a foreign language

1994 - present

University Lecturer, English Department, Applied Linguistics. Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

1995 - 2005

Chair National Exam Board (CEVO: VWO-HAVO) for English (Responsible for content of national English exam)

1991 - 1994

Instructor, English Department, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

1989 - 1991

Assistant Professor; English Department; Uni­versity of Missouri; Kansas City, Mis­souri . (Coordinator of 'Academic English for International students' program)

1976 - 1989

Instructor of German, French and English as a Second Language in Foreign Language Department; instructor of English (to native speakers) in English Department; Northe­ast Louisiana University; Monroe, Louisiana

1973 - 1976

Research Assistant and Teaching Assistant in German; German Department; Louisiana­­ State University; Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Third-party funded research project 
2007 - 2009

Effectiveness study in bilingual education. Funded by Dutch Ministry of Education, European Platform and Network of Bilingual schools in the Netherlands involving 500 students.   

Board and management functions
2008 - present

Chair BeNeCla (Belgium Netherlands Cognitive Linguistics Association)

2007 - present

Chair “Women’s Network Faculty of Arts”

2005 - present

Treasurer Anela (Dutch applied linguistics association)

2005 - 2008

Chair AOI (Adviesraad Onderwijs Instituut) Faculty Advisory Committee

2003 - present

Coordinator MA program Applied Linguistics-Teaching English as a foreign language

2001 - 2006

Chair Faculty Council (Liberal Arts)

2001 - 2005

Secretary and Treasurer International Cognitive Linguistics Associati­on

2000 - 2005

Chair “ Universiy Committee Emancipation Affairs”

1999 - 2001

Member Faculty Council (Liberal Arts)

1997 - 2000

Founder and vice-president of “Women’s Network Faculty of Arts”

1996 - 1998

Acting Chair English Language Section

1995 - 1997

Secretary “Executive Board, English Department ”

1995 - 1996

Member Europhil project, Socrates

1995 - 1996

Member Organizing Committee ICL97 (Amsterdam)

1994 - 1996

Member “Universiy Committee Emancipation Affairs”

1994 - 1995

Member Organizing Committee ICL95 (Albuquerque)

1994 - 1995

Member “Executive Board, English Department”

1993 - 1995

Member “UniversityCommittee Student Affairs”

1993 - 1999

Secretary and Treasurer International Cognitive Linguistics Associati­on


Last modified:25 June 2022 4.41 p.m.