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Nancy Hedberg


Department Chair

  • Email: hedberg@sfu.ca
  • Tel: 778-782-3554
  • Office: RCB 9101
  • Personal site: http://www.sfu.ca/~hedberg/
  • Interests: Discourse Analysis and Pragmatics, Computational Linguistics and Cognitive Science, Syntax and Semantics


  • PhD, Linguistics, University of Minnesota


After completing a B.A in Psychology, Dr. Hedberg received her Ph.D. in 1990 from the University of Minnesota, writing a dissertation under Jeanette K. Gundel on Discourse Pragmatics and Cleft Sentences in English. Prior to taking up her appointment at SFU, she held a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Cornell University, where she taught a graduate course on Topic, Focus and Generative Grammar. Her research interests primarily lie in the interactions between syntax, semantics, and pragmatics, with an aim to understanding how those subfields of linguistics can be integrated into the broader field of cognitive science. Her specific primary research expertise lies in all aspects of information structure in the world’s languages. Her approach has often focused on applying corpus linguistics methods, whereby she draws examples of the constructions under investigation from actual, everyday discourse in order to study instances of the constructions in context. Her most recent publications and presentations have investigated the relationship between syntax, prosody and meaning (questions and parenthetical verbs); cognitive status and referring expressions; and currently, the syntax, semantics and pragmatics of simple copular sentences cross-linguistically with a view to also uncovering how such sentences relate to complex copular sentences (clefts and pseudoclefts) in the various languages. She is also interested in language processing (psycholinguistics) and to that end is a member of the Experimental Syntax Lab. Inspired through her recent experiences in teaching courses in the Cognitive Science Program, she has begun expanding her interests to encompass topics such as the evolution of language and cognition, the relationship between language and music, and cognitive neuroscience.

Read more about Dr. Hedberg's work in Cognitive Science.