Dr Dagmar DivjakDagmar Divjak

BA (KULeuven, Belgium), MA (KULeuven, Belgium), Academic Teacher Training (KULeuven, Belgium), Specialization in Polish Language and Culture (UJ Krakow, Poland), PhD (KULeuven, Belgium)

Reader in Slavonic Languages and Linguistics

Contact details

Telephone: +44 (0)114 222 7401

Email : d.divjak@sheffield.ac.uk


After obtaining my PhD in Russian Linguistics from the KULeuven in 2004, I spent one year at the UNC at Chapel Hill (USA, 2004-2005) and one year at the University of Stockholm (Sweden, 2005-2006) as a Postdoctoral Fellow specializing in Slavic Comparative Linguistics.

I joined the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies at the University of Sheffield (UK) in September 2006 as a Lecturer in Slavonic Languages and Linguistics and was promoted to Reader in January 2012. I am Director of Russian & Polish Studies, serve as Research Ethics Coordinator for the School of Languages & Cultures and co-direct the Centre for Linguistic Research.

Research interests

My main research interests are in understanding how our cognitive capacities give rise to the patterns and structures we see in language and in charting what language has to offer the learner in his/her quest for meaning. Because of my background in usage-based cognitive linguistics, frequency in all its guises plays a central role in my work. (For a more detailed description of my research follow the link).

Among other duties, I am president of the Slavic Cognitive Linguistics Association (SCLA) and sit on the editorial boards of the journals Cognitive Linguistics and Linguistics. I am outgoing linguistics stream organizer for BASEES, the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies.

Research students

Jane Klavan (Tartu University, Estonia) successfully defended her PhD November 2012. She worked on constructional synonymy using corpus-based and experimental techniques. Click here to access the dissertation.

Nina Szymor is working on a cognitive, corpus-based study of semantic differences in the expression of modality between translated and non-translated Polish texts. Her work links in with the SemNet project (The Structure of Semantic Networks in Translation) led by Dr Gert De Sutter (Ghent University, Belgium), on which I am co-investigator.

I am co-supervisor for David Lloyd (motion lexicalisation in Spanish and Catalan) and second supervisor for Teresa Wigglesworth-Baker (the status of Russian in Tatarstan) and Dario Lečić (morphological variation in Croatian).

I am a member of the dissertation committee for Lore Vandevoorde (SemNet, Ghent University).

Selected recent publications


  • [under contract] Frequency in Language. Context, Memory and Attention. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 2010. Structuring the Lexicon: a Clustered Model for Near-Synonymy. Berlin: De Gruyter. [Cognitive Linguistics Research 43].

Edited volumes

  • [under contract]. The Mouton Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics. Berlin: De Gruyter. (together with Ewa Dąbrowska)

  • 2012. Frequency effects in language learning and processing. Volume 1. Berlin: De Gruyter. [Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs. 244.1] (together with Stefan Gries)

  • 2012. Frequency effects in language representation. Volume 2. Berlin: De Gruyter. [Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs. 244.2] (together with Stefan Gries) 

  • 2007. Cognitive Paths into the Slavic Domain. Berlin: De Gruyter. [Cognitive Linguistics Research 38]. (together with Agata Kochańska)

Divjak 2010



Divjak & Kochanska 2007

Peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters

  • 2013. Extracting prototypes from exemplars. What can corpus data tell us about concept representation? Cognitive Linguistics, 24 (2): 221-274 (with Antti Arppe)
  • 2009. Mapping Between Domains. The Aspect-Modality Interaction in Russian. Russian Linguistics, 33 (3): 249-269
  • 2008. On (in)frequency and (un)acceptability. In Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk (ed.). Corpus Linguistics, Computer Tools and Applications - state of the art. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1-21
  • 2008. Clusters in the Mind? Converging evidence from near-synonymy in Russian. The Mental Lexicon, 3 (2): 188-213 (with St. Th. Gries)
  • 2006. Ways of Trying in Russian. Clustering Behavioral Profiles. Journal of Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, 2 (1): 23-60 (with St. Th. Gries)
  • 2006. Ways of Intending: Delineating and Structuring Near-Synonyms. In Gries, St. & Stefanowitsch, A. (eds.) Corpora in cognitive linguistics. Corpus-based Approaches to Syntax and Lexis. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 19-56.

Recent keynote presentations

  • 2013. Man against machine: how well can we predict native speakers' lexical preferences from textual data alone? Invited lecture at Constructional and Lexical Semantic Approaches to Russian, Saint Petersburg (Russia), 12-14 September 2013.
  • 2013. Something from nothing: grounding concepts in language use. Keynote lecture at the 5th International Aflico conference, Lille (France), 15-17 May 2013.
  • 2012. Which frequencies count? Keynote lecture at CogLingDays 5, Biannual BeNeCla conference, Groningen (The Netherlands), 14-15 December 2012.


Linguistics, in collaboration with Professor Neil Bermel

  • RUS 3633 The Russian language and society (module coordinator; Inquiry-based learning)
  • RUS 3622 The Structures of Russian: aspect
  • MDL 104 Introduction to Linguistics: syntax & semantics

Russian, in collaboration with Mrs Linda Hanna, Mr Adam Fergus, Ms Marianna Ivanova and Ms Liudmila Nedialkova

  • RUS 103/104 Beginners' Russian: linguistic concepts
  • RUS105/106 and 207/208 Post-A-level/Intermediate Russian: grammar

Polish, in collaboration with Mrs Anna Socha-Michalik

  • RUS123/124 and RUS 309/310 Polish Language and Culture for Beginners: grammar (module coordinator, not in 2013-2014)
  • RUS350/351 Intermediate Polish: grammar (module coordinator, not in 2013-2014)
  • RUS383/384 Advanced Polish: grammar (module coordinator, not in 2013; materials developed with CEELBAS grants)
  • RUS386 Project in Polish studies: UG dissertation supervisor

I supervise teaching on all other modules offered within the Polish program and oversee the development of innovative teaching materials

  • RUS125/126 History of East Central Europe: Polish History
  • RUS250 Studies in Polish Culture (inquiry-based materials developed with a CILASS grant)
  • RUS6088 Polish/English Translation
  • RUS6570 and 6660 Directed Reading in Slavonic Languages and Linguistics