Thomas Shannon

Thomas Shannon

Professor of Germanic Linguistics and Dutch Studies

Office: 5333 Dwinelle

Thomas F. Shannon, Professor of Germanic Linguistics, member of the Dutch Studies Program faculty, and former director of the UC exchange program in Germany, has been in our department since 1980. He holds Master’s degrees in German (SUNY Albany) and Theoretical Linguistics (Indiana) and a Ph.D. in Germanic Linguistics (Indiana). His areas of specialization are modern German and Dutch, particularly syntax and phonology, and he has published widely on a variety of topics, including naturalness, syllable structure, complementation and control, ergative phenomena, passivization, perfect auxiliary selection, and word order. He is particularly interested in functional and cognitive approaches, e.g. the affects of various semantic, pragmatic, and processing factors on syntactic phenomena. Working from actual texts, he is presently studying several word order phenomena in Dutch and German, especially the ordering of elements in the middle field as well as historical change in West Germanic, including Afrikaans, Low German, and Yiddish. Shannon has taught and conducted research in the Netherlands at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen on a Fulbright grant and researched at the Institut für deutsche Sprache in Mannheim. Active professionally, he serves on MLA Executive Committees, the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Germanic Linguistics, and the Executive Committee of the American Association of Netherlandic Studies (AANS), and was formerly Vice President of the Society for Germanic Philology. He is also editor of the AANS Publications series, and co-editor with Johan Snapper of the Berkeley Conference on Dutch Literature and Linguistics series. Professor Shannon is a faculty member of the Germanic Linguistics Specialization composed of six upper division and thirteen graduate level courses. As such the Specialization imbues the Humanities with a scientific component; thus priority to the carefully rotated linguistics courses is given for achieving the essential competence in Germanic Linguistics.



  • 1987: Aspects of complementation and control in modern German. (= Göppinger Arbeiten zur Germanistik, 424.) Göppingen: Kümmerle.
  • 1989: The Berkeley Conference on Dutch Literature 1987. New perspectives on the modern period. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. Coedited with Johan P. Snapper.
  • 1991: The Berkeley Conference on Dutch Linguistics 1989. Issues and controversies, old and new. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. Coedited with Johan P. Snapper.
  • 1993: The Berkeley Conference on Dutch Literature 1991. Europe 1992: Dutch literature in an international context. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. Coedited with Johan P. Snapper.
  • 1995: The Berkeley Conference on Dutch Linguistics 1993: Dutch linguistics in a changing Europe. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. Coedited with Johan P. Snapper.
  • 1996: Vantage points: Festschrift for Johan Snapper. Lanham, MD: University Press ofAmerica. Coedited with Blake Lee Spahr & Wiljan van den Akker.
  • 1997: The Berkeley Conference on Dutch Literature 1995. Dutch poetry in a modern context. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. Coedited with Johan P. Snapper.
  • 2000a: The Berkeley Conference on Dutch Linguistics 1997: Dutch linguistics at the millennium. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. Coedited with Johan P. Snapper.
  • 2000b: The Low Countries and the new world(s): Travel, discovery, early relations. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. Coedited with Johanna C. Prins, Bettina Brandt & Timothy Stevens.
  • 2004: Janus at the millennium: Perspectives on time in the culture of the Low Countries. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. Coedited with Johan P. Snapper.
  • To appear: The Low Countries: Crossroads of cultures. Münster: Nodus. Coedited with Ton Broos & Margriet Lacy.
  • 1987a: “On some recent claims of relational grammar.” In Aske, Jon, Natasha Beery, Laura Michaelis and Hana Filip (eds.), Berkeley Linguistics Society. Proceedings of the thirteenth annual meeting, February 14-16, 1987, 247–262. Berkeley:Berkeley Linguistics Society.
  • 1987b: “The rise and fall of final devoicing.” In Anna Ramat, Onofrio Carruba, and Giuliano Bernini (eds.), Papers from the 7th international conference on historical linguistics, 545–559. (= Current issues in linguistic theory, 48.) Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins.
  • 1988a: “Prolegomena to a theory of control.” In Francis Gentry (ed.), Semper idem et novus. Festschrift for Frank Banta, 133–172. Göppingen: Kümmerle.
  • 1988b: “Relational grammar, passives, and dummies in Dutch.” In Ton Broos (ed.), Papers from the Third Interdisciplinary Conference on Netherlandic Studies, 237–268.Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
  • 1989a: “On different types of naturalness in morphological change.” Zeitschrift für Phonetik, Sprachwissenschaft, und Kommunikationsforschung 42/1: 20–33.
  • 1989b: “Perfect auxiliary variation as a function of transitivity and Aktionsart.” In Joseph Emonds et al. (eds.), Proceedings from the Western Conference on Linguistics. WECOL 88. Vol. 1, 254–266. Department of Linguistics: CaliforniaState University, Fresno.
  • 1989c: “The naturalness of noun plurals in German, Dutch, and English.” In Irmengard Rauch and Gerald Carr (eds.), The semiotic bridge: Trends from California, 385–408. Berlin: Mouton/de Gruyter.
  • 1990a: “Nederlands tussen Engels en Duits: A typological comparison.” In Magriet Lacy (ed.), The Low Countries: Multidisciplinary studies, 45–60. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
  • 1990b: “The unaccusative hypothesis and the history of the perfect auxiliary in Germanic and Romance.” In Henning Andersen and Konrad Koerner (eds.),Historical linguistics 1987. Papers from the 8th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, 461–488. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • 1991a: “On the relation between morphology and syllable structure: Universal preference laws in Dutch.” In Thomas F. Shannon & Johan P. Snapper (eds.), The BerkeleyConference on Dutch Linguistics 1989, 172–205. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
  • 1991b: “On the syllabic motivation of inflectional suffixes in Germanic.” In Elmer Antonsen & Hans Heinrich Hock (eds.), Stœfcrœft: Selected papers from the Symposia on Germanic Linguistics, 169–183. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • 1992: “Toward an adequate characterization of relative clause extraposition in modern German.” In Irmengard Rauch, Gerald Carr & Robert L. Kyes (eds.), On Germanic Linguistics. Issues and methods, 253–281. Berlin: Mouton/de Gruyter.
  • 1993a: “Split intransitivity in German and Dutch: Semantic and pragmatic parameters.” In Rosina Lippi-Green (ed.), Recent developments in Germanic Linguistics, 97–113.Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • 1993b: “To be or not to be in Dutch: A cognitive account of some puzzling perfect auxiliary phenomena.” In Robert S. Kirsner (ed.), Beyond the Low Countries, 85–96. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
  • 1993c: “Focus and the extraposition of noun phrase complement clauses in Dutch.” In Frank Drijkoningen & Kees Hengeveld (ed.), Linguistics in the Netherlands 1993, 117–128. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • 1995: “Extraposition of NP complements in Dutch and German: Results of an empirical comparison.” In Thomas F. Shannon & Johan P. Snapper (eds.), TheBerkeley conference on Dutch linguistics 1993, 87–116. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
  • 1996: “Explaining perfect auxiliary variation: Some modal and aspectual effects in the history of Germanic.”  American Journal of Germanic Linguistics and Literatures7/2: 129–163.
  • 1997: “Word order change in Dutch as reflected in the Ulenspieghel.” Northwest European Language Evolution 31/32: 361–88.
  • 1998: “Shakespeare’s stage pronunciation: Part of “Proto-American English?” Coauthor, Herbert Penzl. International Journal of Germanic Linguistics and Semiotics 3/1: 141–162.
  • 2000: “On the order or (pro)nominal arguments in Dutch and German.” In Thomas F. Shannon & Johann P. Snapper (eds.), The Berkeley Conference on Dutch Linguistics 1997: Dutch linguistics at the millenium, 145–195. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
  • 2003: “Drift in Dutch: Fleshing out the factors of syntactic change.” In Arie Verhagen & Jeroen M. van de Weijer (eds.), Usage-based approaches to Dutch, 123–167.Utrecht: LOT.
  • 2004: “Janus and the order of adverbials in Dutch and English.” In Johan P. Snapper & Thomas F. Shannon (eds.), Janus at the millennium, 245–264. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. Co-authored with Michael P. Coffey.
  • In prep.: “Word order change in early modern Dutch.”

Recent Courses

Morphology and Syntax of Modern German; Introduction to German Linguistics; Contrastive Grammar

Research Areas

Germanic linguistics; Modern German and Dutch; Syntax and phonology; Functional and cognitive approaches, e.g. the affects of various semantic, pragmatic, and processing factors on syntactic phenomena