I was born in Coventry in the English Midlands and I grew up in the nearby village of Stretton-on-Dunsmore (see here and here. I went to school in the nearby town of Rugby (but not at the famous public school).

I began my higher education as an art student but I decided that I was more interested in linguistics than graphic design. I did my first degree (in Linguistics and Philosophy) at the University College of North Wales (now the University of Wales Bangor), and then did a Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh.

My first job was at the Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland, where I had the chance to learn something about Polish - a very interesting language. Then after jobs at University College London, the IBM UK Scientific Centre, Winchester, and University College Dublin, I moved to a lectureship at the University of Wales Bangor in 1986. Bangor itself is an average sort of town, but the surrounding area is one of the most fabulous in the country. (See here, here, and here.)

I was in Bangor for fourteen years, and I was awarded a Personal Chair in 1997. I decided to leave when the department decided to dismantle the syntax group, which put it on the map in the early and mid 1990ís, and to turn its back on mainstream linguistics. I was sad to leave North Wales, but pleased to move to a better department. 

I retired at the end of January 2017, but continued to do research and some PhD supervision.


Sunset, Penmon, by Sir Kyffin Williams