Professor Sebastian Hoffmann

Sebastian Hoffmann received his doctoral degree from the University of Zurich, where he also worked for several years - first as a research assistant to Prof. Gunnel Tottie and then as a 'Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter'. Before moving to Trier, he spent three years at Lancaster University (UK) as Lecturer in English Linguistics (2006 - 2009). He was also a visiting professor at the University of Tampere, Finland (2014 - 2017). 

He was was Chair of the Board of the Board of the International Computer Archive of Modern and Medieval English (ICAME) from 2017 to 2023 and Vice-President for the Profession of the International Society for the Linguistics of English from 2018 to 2023.

As a dedicated corpus linguist, his research predominantly focuses on the application of usage-based approaches to the study of language. Recent research topics include:

  • syntactic change (e.g. the grammaticalization of complex prepositions)
  • the development of World Englishes
  • corpus-based investigations of phonological phenomena (intrusive /r/, the Principle of Rhythmic Alternation, etc.)
  • the historical development and present-day use of tag questions
  • verb complementation (in particular ditransitive verbs) 
  • corpus linguistic methodology, in particular the methodological and practical issues involved in using Internet-derived data for corpus linguistic analyses 
  • aspects of fixedness (e.g. collocations)

Sebastian Hoffmann is a co-author of BNCweb, a user-friendly web-interface to the British National Corpus. BNCweb can be accessed for free via a server at Lancaster University. The URL for sign-up is

Administrative Duties 

Sebastian Hoffmann was Dean of the Faculty of Languages, Literatures and Media Studies from 2017 to 2023. 

Office hours

Sebastian Hoffmann is currently on sabbatical. Individual office hours can be arranged by email.

Selected Publications


  • Hoffmann, Sebastian, Evert, Stefan, Smith, Nicholas, Lee David YW and Ylva Berglund Prytz. 2008. Corpus Linguistics with BNCweb - a Practical Guide. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. (Sample Chapter 1; see also
  • Hoffmann, Sebastian. 2005. Grammaticalization and English Complex Prepositions. A Corpus-Based Study. London: Routledge.

Edited volumes:

  • Hoffmann, Sebastian, Sand, Andrea, Arndt-Lappe, Sabine & Lisa Marie Dillmann. 2018. Corpora and Lexis. Leiden: Brill. 
  • Hoffmann, Sebastian, Andrea Sand & Sabine Arndt-Lappe. 2017. Exploring Recent Diachrony: Corpus Studies of Lexicogrammar and Language Practices in Late Modern English. Studies in Variation, Contacts and Change in English. Vol. 18. Helsinki: eVarieng. Available at
  • Hoffmann, Sebastian, Fischer-Starcke, Bettina & Andrea Sand. 2013. Current Issues in Phraseology. Special issue of the International Journal of Corpus Linguistics. 18(1). (reprinted as: Hoffmann, Sebastian, Fischer-Starcke, Bettina & Andrea Sand. 2015. Current Issues in Phraseology. Amsterdam: Benjamins.)
  • Hoffmann, Sebastian, Rayson, Paul and Geoffrey Leech. 2012. English Corpus Linguistics: Looking back, Moving forward.Papers from the 30th International Conference on English Language Research on Computerized Corpora (ICAME 30). Amsterdam: Rodopi.
  • Rayson, Paul, Hoffmann, Sebastian and Geoffrey Leech. 2011. Methodological and Historical Dimensions of Corpus Linguistics. Studies in Variation, Contacts and Change in English. Vol. 6. Helsinki: eVarieng. Available at

Journal articles and book chapters:

  • Brems, Lieselotte & Sebastian Hoffmann. 2017. “Approaches to Grammaticalization and Lexicalization.” In: Laurel Brinton (ed.) English Historical Linguistics: Approaches and Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 131–157.
  • Gabrielatos, Costas, Torgersen, Eivind Nessa, Hoffmann, Sebastian and Susan Fox. 2010. "A Corpus-Based Sociolinguistic Study of Indefinite Article Forms in London English." Journal of English Linguistics, 38(4): 297-334.
  • Hoffmann, Sebastian. 2018. “I would like to Request for your Attention: On the Diachrony of Prepositional Verbs in Singapore English.” In: Kaunisto, Mark, Mikko Höglund and Paul Rickman (eds.) Changing Structures. Studies in Constructions and Complementation. [SLCS 195]. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 171–196.
  • Hoffmann, Sebastian. 2011. “Interview with Terttu Nevalainen.” Journal of English Linguistics, 39(4): 359-370.
  • Hoffmann, Sebastian. 2007. "Processing Internet-Derived Text - Creating a Corpus of Usenet Messages." Literary and Linguistic Computing 22:2. 151-65.
  • Hoffmann, Sebastian, Blass, Anne-Katrin & Joybrato Mukherjee. 2014. “Canonical Tag Questions in Asian Englishes: Forms, Functions and Frequencies in Hong Kong English, Indian English and Singapore English.” In: Markku Filppula, Juhani Klemola & Devyani Sharma (eds.) Oxford Handbook of World Englishes. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199777716.013.025.
  • Hoffmann, Sebastian, Sabine Arndt-Lappe und Peter Uhrig. 2022. "Rhythm in World Englishes – Evidence from a Quantitative Analysis of Co- occurrence Patterns in a Corpus of L1 and L2 Varieties of English." In: Paula Rautionaho, Hanna Parviainen, Mark Kaunisto und Arja Nurmi (eds.) Social and Regional Variation in World Englishes. London: Routledge. 191–213.
  • Mukherjee, Joybrato & Sebastian Hoffmann. 2006. "Describing Verb-Complementational Profiles of New Englishes: A Pilot Study of Indian English." English World-Wide 27:2, 147-173.
  • Smith, Nicholas, Hoffmann, Sebastian and Paul Rayson. 2008. “Corpus Tools and Methods, Today and Tomorrow: Incorporating Linguists’ Manual Annotations.” Literary and Linguistic Computing, 23(2): 163-180.
  • Torgersen, Eivind Nessa; Gabrielatos, Costas; Hoffmann, Sebastian. 2017. “A Corpus-based Analysis of the Pragmatic Marker You Get Me.” In: Eric Friginal (ed.) Studies in Corpus-Based Sociolinguistics. London: Routedge. 178–198.
  • Tottie, Gunnel & Sebastian Hoffmann. 2006. "Tag Questions in British and American English." Journal of English Linguistics 34:4. 283-311.
  • Tottie, Gunnel and Sebastian Hoffmann. 2009. “Tag Questions in English – The First Century.” Journal of English Linguistics, 37(2): 130-161.