Geoffrey Pullum
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Geoffrey Pullum
Geoffrey K. Pullum
Geoffrey Keith Pullum

(1945-03-08) March 8, 1945 (age 74)
Irvine, Scotland
  • British
  • United States (since 1987)
Alma mater
EmployerUniversity of Edinburgh
Known for
TitleProfessor of General Linguistics
  • Joan E. Rainford (1967-93)
  • Barbara C. Scholz (1994-2011)
  • Patricia C. Shannon (2014-2016)

Geoffrey Keith Pullum (; born March 8, 1945) is a British-American linguist specialising in the study of English. Since 2007 he has been Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh.

Pullum is a co-author of The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (2002), a comprehensive descriptive grammar of English. He is also a contributor to Language Log and Lingua Franca at The Chronicle of Higher Education.


Geoffrey K. Pullum was born in Irvine, North Ayrshire, Scotland, on March 8, 1945, and moved to West Wickham, England, while very young. He left secondary school at age 16 and toured Germany as a pianist in the rock and roll band Sonny Stewart and the Dynamos. A year and a half later, he returned to England and co-founded a soul band, Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band, with Pete Gage.

After the band broke up, Pullum enrolled in the University of York in 1968, graduating in 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts with first class honours. In 1976 he completed a PhD in Linguistics at University College London.

Pullum left Britain in 1980, taking visiting positions at the University of Washington and Stanford University. In 1987, he became a United States citizen. He worked at the University of California, Santa Cruz, from 1981 to 2007.

In 2000, he published, in the style of Dr. Seuss, a proof of Turing's theorem that the Halting Problem is recursively unsolvable.[1]

In 2002, Pullum wrote The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language with Rodney Huddleston and other linguists, which won the Leonard Bloomfield Book Award of the Linguistic Society of America in 2004.

In 2003, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2009 a Fellow of the British Academy.

In 2007, he moved to the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, University of Edinburgh, where he is currently Professor of General Linguistics and was formerly Head of Linguistics and English Language.

Selected publications

  • Gazdar, Gerald; Klein, Ewan; Pullum, Geoffrey K.; and Sag, Ivan A. (1985). Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar. Basil Blackwell, Oxford. ISBN 0-631-13206-6
  • Pullum, Geoffrey K. (1991). The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax and Other Irreverent Essays on the Study of Language, University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-68534-9. (See also Eskimo words for snow)
  • Pullum, Geoffrey K., and Ladusaw, William A. (1996). Phonetic Symbol Guide, University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-68535-7
  • Huddleston, Rodney D., and Pullum, Geoffrey K. (2002). The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43146-8
  • Huddleston, Rodney D., and Pullum, Geoffrey K. (2005). A Student's Introduction to English Grammar, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-61288-8
  • Liberman, Mark, and Pullum, Geoffrey K. (2006). Far from the Madding Gerund and Other Dispatches from the Language Log, William, James & Company. ISBN 1-59028-055-5


  1. ^ Pullum, Geoffrey K. (2000) "Scooping the loop snooper: An elementary proof of the undecidability of the halting problem". Mathematics Magazine 73.4 (October 2000), 319-320. A corrected version appears on the author's website as "Scooping the loop snooper: A proof that the Halting Problem is undecidable".

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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