Accessibility statement

Julia Kolkmann



I joined the Department of Language and Linguistic Science in 2015 after spending six years at the University of Manchester. I currently work at the interface between grammar and pragmatics, with a particular interest in the linguistic underdeterminacy of various types of noun phrase (e.g. Obama's government, the Obama government and the government of Obama). My PhD thesis dealt with the semantics and pragmatics of attributive possession in English, asking how interlocutors overcome the various problems posed by semantically underspecified but referentially determinate noun phrases in communication.


  • 2012-2015: Teaching Assistant, University of Manchester
  • 2008-2009: Teaching Assistant, Universität Paderborn


  • 2012-2016: PhD in English Language, University of Manchester
  • 2011-2012: MA in Linguistics, University of Manchester
  • 2009-2011: BA (Hons) in English Language, University of Manchester
  • 2007-2009: Undergraduate study in English and American Literature and Culture and English Linguistics, Universität Paderborn

Departmental roles

  • Outreach Coordinator
  • First-Year Coordinator
  • Careers and Skills Officer



  • Introduction to semantics
  • Introduction to pragmatics
  • The language of turn and sequence

External activities

Invited talks and conferences

  • 2017. (with Tine Breban & John Payne) The alternation of proper noun modifiers and determining genitives: Findings from a corpus and a production study. 7th Biennial Conference on the Linguistics of Contemporary English, University of Vigo, September 2017.
  • 2017. Nominal interpretation at the semantics-pragmatics interface. The 15th International Pragmatics Conference (IPrA), Belfast, July 2017.
  • 2016. Full but only half-saturated? New perspectives on primary pragmatic processes. UCL Pragmatics Reading Group, University College London, October 2016.
  • 2016. Definite expressions, pragmatic saturation and utterance comprehensibility. Semantics and Pragmatics in the North, University of York, June 2016.
  • 2015Lexical and pragmatic possession in EnglishThe future (and past) of categories in English (and beyond). A one-day event in honour of Professor David Denison. University of Manchester, April 2015.
  • 2015. (with Tine Breban & John Payne) Is the Ghana problem Ghana's problem?: Differing interpretations of two English NP Constructions. The 14th International Pragmatics Conference (IPrA), Antwerp, July 2015.
  • 2015English pre-nominal possessives as an instance of default interpretations: a pragmatic re-analysis. Annual meeting of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft (DGfS), AG8: Normalität in der Sprache, University of Leipzig, March 2015.
  • 2014Is John's mother his mother? English pre-nominal possessives in context. Langwidge Sandwidge, University of Manchester, December 2014.

  • 2014. (with Ingrid L. Falkum) English possessives - a semantic or pragmatic phenomenon? 6th International Conference on Intercultural Pragmatics and Communication, University of Malta, June 2014.
  • 2014. (with Ingrid L. Falkum) Genitive semantics revisited: the case of English pre-nominal possessives. Germanic Genitives workshop, Freie Universität Berlin, May 2014.

Outreach and Widening Participation work

Aside from my teaching and research, I am very passionate about the topic of social responsibility and making academic knowledge and experience available to the wider public. I believe that the study of language is important in that it is one of the many ways in which we can gain an understanding of human nature.

In my outreach and Widening Participation work, I place a strong emphasis on critical thinking about the things we often take for granted as well as the promotion of non-judgmental attitudes towards linguistic differences in speech communities.

I have planned and conducted workshops, event days and introductory lectures on a broad range of topics, including:

  • dialectology
  • accentology and the perception of accents
  • language change
  • sociolinguistics
  • psycholinguistics
  • syntax

The Back-to-school Project

As outreach co-ordinator at York, I have developed, jointly with Tamar Keren-Portnoy and Angela O'Flaherty, the Back to School project, which pairs current students of English Language and Linguistics with their old schools to spread the language bug. Recruiting new EL/L students throughout the year, we run different kinds of events depending on the school's needs and preferences. In 2015/2016, we visited 5 schools across Yorkshire and the Humber to give taster sessions and student life talks. We also ran one on-campus day visit, which was very successful.  For more information, click: Calling all ELL students (PDF , 66kb).

Contact details

Julia Kolkmann
Department of Language and Linguistic Science
Vanbrugh College B Block
Room : V/B/222

Tel: (01904) 324225