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MMag. Dr. Eva Zehentner


Research Interests

  • Historical linguistics
  • Diachronic morpho-syntax
  • Language variation and change
  • Evolutionary linguistics


  • Zehentner, Eva. 2012. –AND vs. –ING: The development of present participle and verbal noun in Middle Scots. Vienna: University of Vienna diploma thesis.
  • Zehentner, Eva. 2013. On the history of plural formation in Albanian. Vienna: University of Vienna diploma thesis.
  • Zehentner, Eva, Andreas Baumann, Nikolaus Ritt & Christina Prömer. 2016. A game theoretic account of semantic subjectification in the cultural evolution of languages. In Roberts, Seán, Christine Cuskley, Luke McCrohon, Lluís Barceló-Coblijn, Olga Fehér & Tessa Verhoef (eds.). The evolution of language: proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). (http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/110.html).
  • Zehentner, Eva. 2016. On competition and cooperation in Middle English ditransitives. Vienna: University of Vienna Dissertation.
  • Zehentner, Eva. submitted. Competition, cooperation, and co-evolution in the history of the English dative alternation. 

Conference papers

  • 17th International Conference of English Historical Linguistics (ICEHL);  20-25 August 2012, Zurich, Switzerland: 'Subjectification and verbs of the type to cope (with)' (Ritt & Zehentner)  
  • 43rd Poznań Linguistic Meeting (PLM); 8-10 September 2012, Poznan, Poland: poster presentation '-and vs. -ing: Present participle and verbal noun in Middle Scots'
  • Österreichische Linguistik-Tagung (OELT) 39; 26-28 October 2012, Innsbruck, Austria: 'The gerund in Middle Scots: a corpus-based study' 
  • Österreichische Studierendenkonferenz (OESKL) 5; 16-18 November 2012, Vienna, Austria: 'Invad-ingand: present participle and verbal noun in Middle Scots' 
  • 8th International Conference on Middle English (ICOME); 2-4 May 2013, Murcia, Spain: '-and vs. -ing: Present participle and verbal noun in Middle Scots'
  • 21st International Conference on Historical Linguistics (ICHL); 5-9 August 2013, Oslo, Norway: 'On the history of the dative alternation in English'
  • 44th Poznań Linguistic Meeting (PLM); 29 August - 1 September 2013, Poznan, Poland: 'From phrase to clause(-like): on the history of non-finites in Middle Scots'
  • 46th annual meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE); 18-21 September 2013, Split, Croatia: 'Polysemous constructions: An account of ditransitives in Middle English'
  • 35th ICAME conference; 30 April - 4 May 2014, Nottingham, UK: 'From phrase to clause: on present participle and verbal noun in Middle Scots' (joint winner of the John Sinclair bursary)
  • 18th International Conference of English Historical Linguistics (ICEHL); 14-18 July 2014, Leuven, Belgium: 'On privative verbs and the double object construction in Middle English'
  • 3rd conference of the International Society for the Linguistics of English (ISLE); 24-27 August, 2014, Zurich, Switzerland: 'Evolutionary pragmatics, subjectification and verbs like to worry or to cope (with)'
  • 47th annual meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE); 11-14 September 2014, Poznań, Poland: 'Of harming, helping, and handing: the case of Middle English ditransitives' (1st prize for Best paper presentation by a Phd student; sle2015.eu/downloads/bestpresentationawards/Eva%20Zehentner.pdf)
  • GLIMS workshop on Variation and Change in Dative and Ditransitive Constructions; 24 February 2015, Gent, Belgium: 'Ditransitives in Middle English: Semantic specialisation and the rise of the dative alternation' (invited talk)

  • 13th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference (ICLC); 20-26 July 2015, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: 'Constructionalisation, competition, and the case of Middle English ditransitives'
  • 22nd International Conference on Historical Linguistics (ICHL); 27-31 July 2015, Naples, Italy: 'On argument structure changes in Middle English ditransitives' (Workshop 'The diachrony of valence: changes in argument structure') 
  • 48th annual meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE); 2-5 September 2015, Leiden, Netherlands: 'On the competition between inflections and prepositions in Middle English ditransitives'
  • 45th Poznań Linguistic Meeting (PLM); 17-19 September 2015, Poznań, Poland: 'On competition and constructionalisation in Middle English ditransitives' 
  • 11th International conference on the Evolution of Language (EVOLANG); 21-24 March 2016, New Orleans, Louisiana, US: 'A game theoretic account of semantic subjectification in the cultural evolution of languages' (Zehentner, Baumann, Ritt & Prömer)
  • 19th International Conference of English Historical Linguistics (ICEHL); 22-26 July 2016, Essen, Germany: 'On syntheticity and analyticity in the history of English ditransitives'
  • 49th annual meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE); 31 August - 3 September 2016, Naples, Italy: 'On constructionalisation in Middle English ditransitives'
  • 49th annual meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE); 31 August - 3 September 2016, Naples, Italy: 'Subjectification is driven by sceptic listeners' (Ritt & Zehentner)


  • VO History of English (SS13; with Mag. Illes)
  • AR Reading Medieval English (SS15; with Prof. Ritt)
  • PS Proseminar 1 Linguistics (WS13 - WS15)
  • PS Proseminar 2 Linguistics: Competition in language change (WS16)
  • PS Proseminar 2 Linguistics: Grammatical change in recent English (SS17)

Science-to-public activities

  • “Cool! - Musik und Historie”. Radio interview, Ö1 Radiokolleg (ORF), 25 - 28 August 2014.
  • “Die Evolution der Sprache: Sprachwandel im Laufe der Zeit”. Public dialogue, ‘Flanieren durch die Wissenschaft’, Campus Festival 2015 (part of the 650-year anniversary activities of the University of Vienna), 13 June 2015.
  • “Warum redet Oma anders als ich? Wie verändert sich Sprache?”. Lecture at the Kinderuni Wien 2016 [Children’s University Vienna 2016], 14 July 2016. 


  • 2006-2012: Mag.phil in English studies, University of Vienna
  • 2006-2013: Mag.phil in Indo-European studies, University of Vienna
  • 2009-2010: Erasmus-exchange, University of Edinburgh
  • 2012-2016: PhD student of English/ University assistant (prae-doc), Department of English, University of Vienna; successful defense (pass with distinction) in September 2016 (thesis reviewers: Prof. Timothy Colleman, University of Gent; Prof. Gunther Kaltenböck, University of Vienna)
  • 2016-2017: University assistant (post-doc), Department of English, University of Vienna





Room: 3E-O2-08A
T: +43 1  4277-424-68


Office hours:

Thur 11-12 (or by appointment)

Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik /
Department of English
Universität Wien
Campus d. Universität Wien
Spitalgasse 2-4/Hof 8.3
1090 Wien

T: +43-1-4277-424 01
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