This blog is written by a bunch of young linguists: Suzanne, Nik, Sandra, George, Jeremy, Don, Hanna and Hedvig. You can read more about us below. 

The blog was started by Suzanne and Hedvig while there were working at MPI Nijmegen on a grammatical survey of African languages. 

We write about things that concern linguistic diversity and description, particularly current research or useful information and resources that are accessible to the public, but not wildly known. That also entails evolutionary/historical linguistics, psycholinguistics, variation etc. Our focus is not on a basic introduction to linguistics, however we are very happy to go over some basics when it is relevant or recommend other blogs or outlets that do this well.

We enjoy moving gifs, somewhat informal language, being funny and accessible to the public. We do however write about serious topics in linguistics and would like to bring some, well, seriousness into the popular linguistics on the internet from the perspective of comparativists and descriptivists. 

Seriousness + Silliness
Humans Who Read Grammars

You don't need to be a linguist to enjoy this blog, we try and keep it accessible to non-linguists too. If we fail at this, please let us know.

You can also find us on

Pick whichever outlet is most suitable to your consumption patterns. Just know that posts from this blog are fed directly into the other outlets. Any corrections or updates are primarily made at the post on the blog hosted by blogspot/blogger, so go here for the latest version.

This blog used to be only on tumblr, but later we moved. There's lots of old posts, why not go to tumblr and read everything we did before we moved to blogger? In particular, check out the tags Free Online Linguistic Databases and Goodie From Grammar Reading. The tag for everything before blogger is "humanswhoreadgrammarsbeforeblogger".

Why “Humans”?
The blog is called Humans Who Read Grammars because a few of the authors have a boss who likes to contrast them to (and perhaps also would like to replace them with…) Computers Who Read Grammars. Thus, we are Humans Who Read Grammars.

First time I read the url I read it as “Humans Whore Ad Grammars”! Did you know?! HAHA!!

Yes, we know. You're not the first one, by far. It's a funny thing that, that the priming for the word "whore" trumps the fact that the rest of the sentence/phrase doesn't really make sense. What are "ad grammars"? Anyway, you're not the first and it's alright :). 

What is that green head all about?
The profile picture (the green head) is from the cover of Tage Danielsson's book "Grallimmatik", a silly book in Swedish about conversation and the nature of "bullshit/nonsense". We like it. Or at least Hedvig does

This blog is not an official blog for any of the academic institutions that the authors are a part of. Opinions and ideas expressed here are of the authors only, they do not necessarily represent the universities, centres or reserach projects of the authors.

Now, let's introduce The Humans

Suzanne van der Meer

After a year of reading grammars of African languages, Suzanne is now working on getting her MA degree in Linguistics from Leiden University. Her main interests are linguistic typology and descriptive linguistics, in the broadest sense.


First language: Nederlands


Hedvig Skirgård

Hedvig is Swedish and has a name that never fails to generate a mention of the great works of JK Rowling. It is actually a compound of two Germanic roots, both meaning "war/battle". This means that a ‘Hedvig’ is someone who fights, a valkyria/shieldmaiden. This is something she likes to point out in a very serious manner when the owl is brought up for the nth time.

She did her MA in General linguistics at Stockholm University and is interested in grammatical typology, contact linguistics and linguistic complexity. She used to work at the MPI Nijmegen on a grammatical survey of African languages. She is currently a PhD student at ANU in Canberra, Australia. You can read more about the project she's in here. She also has a web page here and can be reached at hedvig.public {snabel-a} gmail.com.

First language: Swedish

For Hedvigs posts click here.

Nik Rolle

Nik is a PhD student at the University of California, Berkeley, who is very interested in the syntax and phonology of West African languages, especially those of Southern Nigeria. He claims Prussian ancestry, grew up in the Rust Belt of America, compulsively collects vinyl records, and likes to bike. A lot. 

He finished his M.A at the University of Toronto, presenting an analysis of Esan subject markers as referential pronouns. Find him at n.rolle-AT-berkeley.edu.

First language: English
Jeremy Collins no information up yet
First language: English

You can find Jeremy's posts here.

Siva Kalyan
Siva is a PhD student at Northumbria University and visitor at the ANU. He works on describing grammar in terms of information structure, as well as on developing computational methods for historical linguistics (non-treelike representations of language families) and typology (automated language sampling).

He enjoys rederiving his name (and others’) into different branches of Indo-European, even though Vedic śiváḥ may not be of Indo-European origin.

First language: spoken Tamil
Dominant language (age 4 onwards): English

You can find Siva's posts here.
Jesse Stewart 

Jesse is an Assistant Professor at the University of Saskatchewan. His primary area of research looks at questions pertaining to the production and perception of phonemic conflict sites in mixed languages; specifically relating to Media Lengua (Ecuador). As of late, he's dabbling in the perception and production of other mixed languages as well; specifically Michif (Canada) and Gurindji-Kriol (Australia). In addition, he's currently working on new ways of measuring nasality. In the past, he's worked on discourse analyses of ASL disfluencies and sign lengthening. He thinks he does other stuff as well, but can't remember what exactly.

Jesse enjoys writing about himself in third person and wishes he had more time to blog. He also wishes he knew more about typology, but, luckily for him, everyone else on this blog seems to have him covered. In his free time he's probably procrastinating from work. His musings can be found here.

First language: English


Annemarie Verkerk 

Annemarie did her PhD at the MPI in Nijmegen, and is currently a postdoc at the University of Reading. She originally fell in love with linguistics during a lecture by Leon Stassen on Altaic in 2004, and has enjoyed reading grammars more or less since. She has a website here. 

First language: Nederlands
You can find Annemarie's posts here.


Hilário de Sousa
Hilário studied linguistics at Auckland and Sydney, and has since had a number of postdocs in Europe. He wrote a reference grammar of Menggwa Dla (Papuan), and is in the process of renewing the Menggwa Dla reference grammar, and writing a reference grammar of Nanning Pinghua (Sinitic). Both are under-documented and disappearing. One is spoken on both sides of a sometimes-politically-unstable border, where there is no road/ navigable river/ electricity/ running water/ internet/ mobile phone coverage, and the other is spoken in a place with underground trains and high-speed rail.

He has too many interests within linguistics. His views on morpho-syntax are mostly functional-typological oriented, and he is also interested in various formal phonological theories. Another things that he enjoys is semantic typology.

As for his e-mail address: replace the first dot with an arroba.