Virginia Hill



Humanities and Languages

Hazen Hall 109

Saint John
1 506 648 5743

Dr. Virginia Hill (formerly Motapanyane) is a Professor of Linguistics at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John. She received her MA from the University of Bucharest (in Classics). From the University of Geneva she received her second MA and her PhD in Linguistics (1991). She joined the Department of Humanities and Languages in 1990, and developed a Minor/Double Major in Linguistics program within the Department.

Dr. Hill was appointed in 2008 as an honorary Research Professor in the Department of Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics at Concordia University. In 2012 she was awarded a Leverhulme Trust Professorship at the University of Kent, and in 2014 she received a UNB-University Research Scholar award. In November 2016, she was an invited professor at the Universidade Federal do Parana (Curitiba – Brazil).

Dr. Hill specializes in formal syntax, with focus on Romance and Balkan languages. In this field she produced books and had numerous articles published in peer reviewed journals and collections of papers. Her research examines how pragmatic and discourse effects may arise from the application of syntactic rules and, ultimately, how such understanding may contribute to the study of language evolution in humans. In this field she produced books, had numerous articles published in peer reviewed journals and collections of papers, and was an invited speaker at various international conferences and workshops.

She was principal investigator on several SSHRCC grants and co-investigator on a Major Collaborative Research Initiative grant focused on biolinguistics (A.M. DiSciullo – principal investigator at UQAM). With these funds, she created student jobs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.


Hill, V. & G. Alboiu. 2016. Verb movement and clause structure in Old Romanian. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hill, V. (ed). 2015. Formal approaches to DPs in Old Romanian. Leiden: Brill.

Hill, V. 2014. Vocatives: How syntax meets with pragmatics. (with the participation of Melita Stavrou). Leiden: Brill.

Di Sciullo, A.M. & V. Hill (eds). 2010. Interface properties: Edges, Heads and Projections. Amsterdam: JB.

Motapanyane, V. (ed). 2000. Comparative studies in Romanian syntax. Oxford: Elsevier.

Motapanyane, V. 1997. Acadian French. A Grammatical Sketch. München: Lincoln Europa. In collaboration with David Jory.

Black, J. & V. Motapanyane (eds). 1997. Clitics, pronouns and movement. Amsterdam: JB.

Black, J. & V. Motapanyane (eds). 1996. Micro-parametric syntax and dialect variation. Amsterdam: JB.

Motapanyane, V. 1995. Theoretical Implications of Complementation in Romanian. Padova: Unipress.

Selected articles

Akkus, F. & V. Hill. in press. Speaker visibility in syntax. MIT-Working Papers in Linguistics.

Alboiu, G. & V.Hill. 2017. Grammaticalization of Auxiliaries and Parametric Changes. The Linguistic Review: 34 (3): 1-23. 

Hill, V. 2017. Early Modern Romanian infinitives. In Lukasz Jedrzejowski, Ulrike Demske (eds), Infinitives at the Syntax-Semantics Interface. A Diachronic Perspective. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 147-168.

Alboiu, G & V. Hill. 2016. Raising to Object as A-bar Movement: A Romanian case study. Syntax 19(3): 256-285. DOI: 10.1111/synt.12123.

Alboiu, G. & V. Hill, I. Sitaridou. 2015. Discourse driven V-to-Focus in Early Modern Romanian. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 33 (4):1057-1088. DOI 10.1007/s11049-014-9270-8

Hill, V. 2013. The emergence of the Romanian subjunctive. The Linguistic Review. 30 (4): 1-37.

Hill, V. 2013. The direct object marker in Romanian: a historical perspective. Journal of Australian Linguistics. 33 (2): 140-151.

Hill, V. 2013. The emergence of the Romanian supine. Journal of Historical Linguistics. 3 (2): 230-271.

Haegeman, L. & V. Hill. 2013. The syntacticization of discourse. In Folli, R.; R. Truswell; C. Sevdali (eds), Syntax and its Limits. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 370-390.

Alboiu, G. & V. Hill. 2013. The Case of A-bar ECM: Evidence from Romanian. In S. Keine & S. Sloggett (eds), Proceedings of the 42nd Meeting of the NELS. Amherst: GLSA Publisher (University of Massachusetts). 25-39.

Hill, V. 2012. Romanian 'can': change in parametric settings. In Galves, C. et al. (eds), Parameter Theory and Language Change. 264-279. Oxford: OUP.

Hill, V. & O. Mladenova. 2011. Mapping the information structure in Early Modern Bulgarian clauses with the particle ta. Lingua 121 (15): 2103-2119.

Pirvulescu, M. & V. Hill. 2011. Feature syncretism in the pragmatic field in L1 acquisition of French. Language Acquisition 19 (1): 73-81.

Hill, V. 2011. Modal grammaticalization and the pragmatic field: a case study. Diachronica 28 (1): 25-53.

Hill, V. & L. Tasmowski. 2008. Romanian Clitic Doubling: a view from pragmatics-semantics and diachrony. In Kallulli, Dalina and Liliane Tasmowski (eds.), Clitic Doubling in the Balkan Languages. 133-163. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Hill, V. 2007. Romanian adverbs and the pragmatic field. The Linguistic Review 24 (1): 61-86.

Hill, V. 2007. Vocatives and the Pragmatics-Syntax Interface. Lingua 117 (12): 2077-2105.