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Geoffrey Keith Pullum
Born (1945-03-08) 8 March 1945 (age 77)
Irvine, Scotland
  • British
  • United States (since 1987)
Alma mater
EmployerUniversity of Edinburgh
Known for
TitleEmeritus Professor of General Linguistics
  • Joan E. Rainford (1967–93)
  • Barbara C. Scholz (1994–2011)
  • Patricia C. Shannon (2014–2016)
Awards Edit this at Wikidata

Geoffrey Keith Pullum (/ˈpʊləm/; born 8 March 1945) is a British and American linguist specialising in the study of English. He is Professor Emeritus of General Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh.[1]

Pullum is a co-author of The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (2002),[2] a comprehensive descriptive grammar of English. He was also a contributor to Language Log and Lingua Franca at The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Early life and education

Geoffrey K. Pullum was born in Irvine, North Ayrshire, Scotland, on 8 March 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.[3]

In 1995, Pullum started to collaborate with Rodney Huddleston and other linguists on The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language,[4] which won the Leonard Bloomfield Book Award of the Linguistic Society of America in 2004.[5]

In 2000, he published, in the style of Dr. Seuss, a proof of Turing's theorem that the halting problem is recursively unsolvable.[6]

In 2003, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences[7] and in 2009 a Fellow of the British Academy.[8]

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

Selected publications


  1. ^ "Geoffrey K Pullum". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  2. ^ Huddleston, Rodney; Pullum, Geoffrey K. (2002). The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-43146-0.
  3. ^ "Geoffrey K. Pullum: Redirect". Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  4. ^ Culicover, Peter W. (2004). "The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (review)" (PDF). Language. 80 (1): 127–141. doi:10.1353/lan.2004.0018. ISSN 1535-0665. S2CID 140478848.
  5. ^ "Leonard Bloomfield Book Award Previous Holders". Linguist Society of America. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  6. ^ 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".
  7. ^ "Geoffrey Keith Pullum". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  8. ^ "Professor Geoffrey K Pullum FBA". The British Academy. Retrieved 27 May 2021.