Prof Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm


Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm [maˈriːa kɔpˈt͡ʃɛfskaja ˈtam] graduated from the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at the Lomonosov University in Moscow in 1979 and acquired her PhD degree at the Department of linguistics, Stockholm university in 1988 where she has been working since then. She was appointed as full Professor in 2001 and was head of the Section for General Linguistics between 2004 - 2011.

She has published extensively on various aspects of semantically oriented typology,
where she often combines synchronic and diachronic approaches. A large portion
of her work focuses on the interplay between lexical and grammatical semantics,
in particular on the interaction of the lexical semantics of different classes
of words with their possible syntactic and pragmatic functions and how this
interaction is reflected in their morphosyntax. The phenomena studied include
nominalisations, adnominal possession, quantification, mass/count distinctions
(including the domain of pluralia tantum), kin-terms, proper names, finiteness

An important direction in Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm’s work has been areal typology,
with the main focus on the European and, particularly, the circum-Baltic
languages. She was a member of the Noun Phrase Group within the ESF Programme
on the Typology of the European Languages (EUROTYP, 1989–1994) and contributor
to the World Atlas of Language Structures (

Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm’s most recent interests include cross-linguistic research on
lexical typology (temperature terms, motion verbs), she has published work on
the methodology of lexical-typological research and has been active in
promoting lexical typology at various conferences and in courses at several
European universities and summer schools.

Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm is a fellow
of Academia Europaea (
and also a member of its Section Committee for Linguistic Studies. She is the
editor of Linguistic Typology (
She is a member of the Editorial Board of the journals Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung and Studia Linguistica (earlier also of Rivista di Linguistica), and of the open-access book series Studies in Linguistic Diversity at Language
Science Press. She is a member of the Board of Consulting Editors of Linguistics, a member of the Advisory
Board of Legon Journal of the Humanities,
and a member of the Scientific Council at Amsterdam Center for Language and
Communication (ACLC). She was a member of the Review Panel for the EUROCORES
(European Collaborative Research) Programme “EuroBABEL: Better Analyses Based
on Endangered Languages”, ESF, 2008.

Publication list in DiVA (Academic Archive On-line)


Hot and cold - universal or language-specific?
01/01/2009 - 31/12/2011
The proposal focuses on the conceptualisation of temperature in natural languages as reflected in their systems of central temperature terms (hot, cold, to freeze, etc). The project is envisaged as an integrated lexical-typological study of the temperature domain with the aim of ...

Core vocabulary in a typological perspective: semantic shifts and form/meaning correlations
19/10/2006 - 19/04/2009
The general aim of the project is to reveal and describe cross-linguistically recurrent semantic shifts and form/meaning correlations (e.g. patterns of polysemy, lexical connotations, lexical motivation in general) in the core vocabulary of human languages and to achieve a better...

Nominal juxtaposition: a cross-linguistic study of a maltreated morpho-syntactic phenomenon
01/01/2002 - 31/12/2005
A "prototypical nominal juxtaposition" refers to a syntactic construction where two nominals (i.e., nouns with or without modifiers, or full noun phrases) occur side by side, with word order and prosody as the only grammatical markers of their relation. An example is the Swedish ...

The programme "Language typology with particular reference to the languages around the Baltic Sea (Circum-Baltic languages)"
01/01/1991 - 31/12/1998
The aim of the programme (the Faculty of Humanities, Stockholm University) has been to study the various areal phenomena in the languages spoken around the Baltic Sea (the circum-Baltic languages). The main question has been whether it is possible to talk of a Sprachbund, a lingu...

Last updated on 2018-07-05 at 14:04