Education

  • Ph.D. in general linguistics, Columbia University

Research

  • Robert S. Kirsner. “The Role of zullen in the Grammar of Modern Standard Dutch,” Lingua 24 (1969), 101-154.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “De ‘Onechte Lijdende Vorm’,” Spektator: Tijdschrift voor Neerlandistiek 6 (1976), 1-18.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “De Rol van de Directe Vergelijking van het Nederlandse en het Engelse Tijdssysteem bij het Onderwijs aan Engelstaligen,” Verslag van het Vijfde Colloquium Nederlandistiek – Leiden/Noordwijkerhout 1973, Internationale Vereniging voor Neerlandistiek, Den Haag, 1976, 171-187.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “On the Subjectless ‘Pseudo-Passive’ in Standard Dutch and the Semantics of Background Agents,” C. Li,. ed., Subject and Topic, Academic Press, New York, 1976, 387-415.
  • Robert S. Kirsner and Sandra A. Thompson: “The Role of Pragmatic Inference in Semantics: A Study of Sensory Verb Complements in English,” Glossa 10 (1976), 200-240.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “On the Passive of Sensory Verb Complement Sentences,” Linguistic Inquiry 8 (1977), 173-179.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “Deixis in Discourse: An Exploratory Quantitative Study of the Modern Dutch Demonstrative Adjectives,” in T. Givón,   Syntax and Semantics, Volume 12: Discourse and Syntax,  Academic  Press, New York, 1979, 355-375.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. The Problem of Presentative Sentences in Modern Dutch, North-Holland Publishing Co., Amsterdam, 1979. (xii + 215 pages) .
  • Thomas J. Hinnebusch and Robert S. Kirsner. “On the Inference of ‘Inalienable Possession’ in Swahili,” Journal of African Languages and Linguistics 2 (1980), 1-16.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “Meaning, Message, Inference, and the Problem of Units in Linguistics,” Quaderni di Semantica: Rivista Internazionale di Semantica Teorica e Applicata 1 (1980), 307-317.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. Review of B. C. Donaldson, Dutch Reference Grammar. Dutch Crossing: A Journal for Students of Dutch, University of London, Nr. 16, March 1982, 73-80.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “On the Use of Quantitative Discourse Data to Determine Inferential Mechanisms in Grammar,” in F. Klein-Andreu, Discourse Perspectives on Syntax, Academic Press, New York, 1983, 237-257.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “On Determining the Appropriateness of Binary Semantic Features in Grammatical Analyses” Quaderni di Semantica: Rivista Internazionale di Semantica Teorica e Applicata 5 (1984), 161-170.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “Iconicity and Grammatical Meaning,” in John Haiman, ed., Typological Studies in Language 6: Iconicity in Syntax. John Benjamins, msterdam, 1985 249-270.
  • Robert S. Kirsner, Arie Verhagen, and Mariëtte Willemsen. “Over PP’s, Transitiviteit en het Zgn. Indirekt Objekt,” Spektator: Tijdschrift voor Neerlandistiek 14 (1985), 341-347.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “Quantitative Approaches to Dutch Linguistic Structure,” in William H. Fletcher, ed., Papers from the First Interdisciplinary Conference on Netherlandic Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, June 1982. University Press of America, Lanham, MD, 1985, 95-104.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “On Being Empirical with Indirect Objects: The Subtleties of aan,” in J. Snapper and J. van Oosten, eds., Dutch Linguistics at Berkeley: Papers Presented at the Dutch Linguistics Colloquium Held at the University of California, Berkeley on November 9th, 1985. Dutch Studies Program, University of California, Berkeley 1986, 27-43.
  • Robert S. Kirsner, Vincent J. van Heuven, and Jos F. M. Vermeulen. “Text-Type, Context, and Demonstrative Choice in Written Dutch: Some Experimental Data,” Text: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Discourse 7, (1987), 117-144.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “What It Takes To Show Whether An Analysis ‘Fits’,” in Hermann Bluhme and Göran Hammarström, eds., Descriptio Linguistica: Proceedings of the First Conference on Descriptive and Structural Linguistics. Antwerp, 9-10 September 1985. Tübingen: Gunther Narr, 1987, 76-113.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “Prepositional versus ‘Bare’ Indirect Objects in the Written Dutch of Novels and Newspapers,” in Ton J. Broos, ed., Papers from the Third Interdisciplinary Conference on Netherlandic Studies, University Press of America, Lanham, MD, 1988, 279-296.
  • Robert S. Kirsner and Vincent J. Van Heuven. “The Significance of Demonstrative Position in Modern Dutch.” Lingua 76 (1988), 209-248.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. ” Does Sign-Oriented Linguistics Have Have a Future? On the Falsifiability of Theoretical Constructs,” in Y. Tobin, ed., From Sign to Text: A Semiotic View of Communication. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1989, 161-178.
  • Robert S. Kirsner and Jeanine Y. Deen. “Het mes snijdt aan twee kanten: On the semantics and pragmatics of the Dutch sentence-final particle hoor,” in Margriet Bruijn Lacy, ed., The Low Countries: Multidisciplinary Studies. Publications of the American Association for Netherlandic Studies 3. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1990, 1-11.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “Grappling with the Ill-Defined. Problems of Theory and Data in Synchronic Grammatical Description,” in René Amacker and Rudolf Engler, eds., Présence de Saussure: Actes du Colloque Internationale de Genève (21-23 mars 1988). Publications du Cercle Ferdinand de Saussure 1. Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1990, 187-201.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. Review article of Brygida Rudzka-Ostyn (ed.) Topics in Cognitive Linguistics, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins 1988. Studies in Language 15 (1991), 149-174.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “Het Nut van Intersubjectieve Gegevens in Taalkundige Beschrijvingen van het Nederlands.” Neerlandica Extra Muros 3 (1991) 12-20.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “A Linguistic Michelson-Morley Experiment? Dutch ‘Indirect Objects’ and the Inference of ‘Successful Transfer’,” in Thomas Shannon and
  • Johan P. Snapper, eds., The Second Berkeley Conference on Dutch Linguistics 1989. Publications of the American Association for Netherlandic Studies 4. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1991, 117-137.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. Review of Johan P. Snapper, De Spiegel der Verlossing in het Werk van Gerard Reve,Utrecht/ Antwerpen: Veen, Neerlandica Extra Muros 30.1. (1992) 64-67.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “Stikstof is een gas, hoor! Hoor als voorbeeld van een (on)grijpbaar partikel.” Onze Taal 7/8 (1992) 171-172.
  • Robert S. Kirsner (ed.) The Low Countries and Beyond. University Press of America, Lanham / New York / London.  (xiii + 325 pages).
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “From Meaning to Message in Two Theories: Cognitive and Saussurean Views of the Dutch Demonstratives”, in Richard A. Geiger and Brygida Rudzka-Ostyn, eds., Conceptualizations and Mental Processing in Language, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter,1993, 81-114.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. Review of J. Gvozdanović and Th. Janssen, eds., The Function of Tense in Texts, Amsterdam, Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, 1991. Forum der Letteren 4 (1993), 303-308.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. Review of Bruce Donaldson A Grammar of Afrikaans (Mouton Grammar Library 8). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter 1993. Language 2 (1994), 384-385.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. ” ‘Meewerkende Voorwerpen die Niet Willen Meewerken'”, in R. Boogaart and J. Noordegraaf, eds., Nauwe Betrekkingen: Voor Theo Janssen bij Zijn Vijftigste Verjaardag. Münster: Stichting Neerlandistiek VU, Amsterdam/Nodus Publikationen 1994, 119- 128.
  • Robert S. Kirsner, Vincent J. van Heuven, and Renée van “Interaction of Particle and Prosody in the Interpretation of Factual Dutch Sentences”, in Reineke Bok-Bennema and Crit Cremers, eds., Linguistics in the Netherlands 1994. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company 1994, 107-118.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. Review of Lia Korrel Duration in English: A Basic Choice Illustrated in Comparison with Dutch. [Topics in English Linguistics 5]. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1991. Studies in Language 1 (1995) 244-248.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “Determinism Versus Contingency and Synchrony Versus Diachrony: Explaining ‘Holes’ In Dutch Grammatical Patterns,” in Z. Shetter and I. van der Cruysse, eds., Contemporary Explorations in the Culture of the Low Countries: Publications of the American Association for Netherlandic Studies 9. Lanham / New York / London 1995: University Press of America, 157-171.
  • Robert S. Kirsner and Vincent J. van Heuven. “Boundary Tones and the Semantics of the Dutch Final Particles , hoor, zeg and joh,” in C. Cremers and M. den Dikken, eds., Linguistics in the Netherlands 1996. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company 1996, 133-146 .
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “The Human Factor and the Insufficiency of Invariant Meanings,” in E. Andrews and Y. Tobin,eds. Towards a Calculus of Meaning: Studies in Markedness, Distinctive Features, and Deixis. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company 1996, 83-106.
  • Robert S. Kirsner, Vincent J. van Heuven, and Johanneke Caspers. “From Request to Command: An Exploratory Experimental Study of Grammatical Form, Intonation, and Pragmatic Particle in Dutch Imperatives,” in Renée van Bezooijen and René Kager, eds. Linguistics in the Netherlands 1998. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company 1998, 135-148.
  • Robert S. Kirsner and Willem A. van der Kloot. “The Pragmatics of Precision: Geometric and Non-Geometric Periphrastic Progressives in Modern English,” in Jean- Pierre Koenig, ed., Discourse and Cognition: Bridging the Gap. Stanford University: CSLI Publications, 1998, 123-140.
  • Robert S. Kirsner and Vincent J. van Heuven. “How Dutch Final Particles Constrain the Construal of Utterances: Experiment and Etymology,” in Karen van Hoek, Andrej A. Kibrik and Leo Noordman (eds.) Discourse Studies in Cognitive Linguistics (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 176). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1999, 165-183.
  • Vincent J. van Heuven, Judith Haan, and Robert S. Kirsner. “Phonetic Correlates of Sentence Type in Dutch: Statement, Question and Command, ” in Mark Swerts and Jacques Terken, eds. Proceedings of the 1999 ESCA Workshop on Dialogue and Prosody. De Veldhoven, The Netherlands. September 1st-3rd, 1999, 35-40.
  • Vincent J. van Heuven and Robert S. Kirsner. “Interaction of Grammatical Form and Intonation: Two Experiments on Dutch Imperatives,” in René Kager and Renée van Bezooijen, eds., Linguistics in the Netherlands 1999.Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company 1999, 81-96.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “Empirical Pragmatics: Downtoning and Predictability in a Dutch Final Particle, in Thomas F. Shannon and Johan P. Snapper,eds., The Berkeley Conference on Dutch Linguistics 1997: Dutch Linguistics at the Millennium: University Press of America, Lanham, MD., 1999,45-62.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. Review of Martin Pütz and René Dirven, eds. The Construal of Space in Language and Thought. Cognitive Linguistics Research: Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1996. Journal of Pragmatics, Volume 32, Number 7, June 2000,1075-1085.
  • Robert S. Kirsner and Vincent J. van Heuven. “Wie Het Kleine Niet Eert: Intonation and the Pragmatics of Dutch Final Particles,” in Anneke Prins, Bettina Brandt, Timothy Stevens & Thomas F. Shannon (eds.) The Low Countries and the New World(s): Travel, Discovery, Early Relations. (Publications of the American Association for Netherlandic Series 13). New York. Oxford: University Press of America, Inc. 2000, ISBN 0-7618-1945-2, 119-130.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “De deur wel dichtdoen, hè? en andere mysterieuze ” Neerlandica Extra Muros 39.2. mei 2001, 9-21.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “The Future of a Minimalist Linguistics in a Maximalist World,” in Ricardo Otheguy, Wallis Reid, and Susan Stern, eds., Signal, Meaning, and Message: Perspectives on Sign-Based Linguistics. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company 2002, 339-371.
  • Vincent J. van Heuven and Robert S. Kirsner. “Interaction of Tone and Particle in the Signaling of Clause Type in Dutch,” in Hans Broekhuis and Paula Fikkert, eds. Linguistics in the Netherlands 2002. Amsterdam/ Philadelpha: John Benjamins Publishing Company 2002, 73-84.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “On the Interaction of the Dutch Pragmatic Particles hoor and with the Imperative and Infinitivus Pro Imperativo,” in Arie Verhagen and Jeroen M. van de Weijer , eds. Usage-Based Studies of Dutch. Utrecht: LOT, 2003, 59-96.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “Linguistics as Politics: On the Role of Alternative Approaches within Dutch Linguistics,” in R. Howell and J. Vanderwal Taylor, eds., History in Dutch Studies Lanham / New York / London 2003: University Press of America,125-139
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “Linguistic Phenomena in the Works of Marga Minco and Gerard Reve,” in T. F. Shannon and J. P. Snapper, eds., Janus at the Millennium: Perspectives on Time in the Culture of the Netherlands. Lanham/New York/London 2004: University Press of America, 179-192.
  • Vincent J. van Heuven and Robert S. Kirsner. “Phonetic or Phonological Contrasts in Dutch Boundary Tones?,” in Leonie Cornips and Jenny Doetjes, eds., Linguistics in the Netherlands 2004. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company 2004, 102-113.
  • Ellen Contini-Morava, Robert S. Kirsner, and Betsy Rodríguez-Bachiller, eds. Cognitive and Communicative Approaches to Linguistic Analysis. (Studies in Functional and Structural Linguistics 51. ) Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company 2004. (viii + 388 pages).
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “Introduction: On Paradigms, Analyses, and Dialogue” in Ellen Contini-Morava, Robert S. Kirsner, and Betsy Rodríguez- Bachiller, eds.: Cognitive and Communicative Approaches to Linguistic Analysis. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company 2004, 1-18.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “Over Uitdrukkingen met Finaal maar” Voortgang: Jaarboek voor de Neerlandistiek,Volume 24, 2006, 61-71.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “On Translation, Linguistics, and Dutch Studies in America, .” in Margriet Bruijn Lacy. ed. Dutch Studies in a Globalized World. (Studies in Dutch Language and Culture 3), Münster. Nodus Publikationen 2009, 165-178.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “Instructional Meanings, Iconicity, and L’Arbitraire du Signe in the Analysis of the Afrikaans Demonstratives.” In Bob de Jonge and Yishai Tobin eds. Linguistic Theory and Empirical Evidence (Studies in Functional and Structural Linguistics 64.) Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company 2011, 97-137.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “2005 Arie Verhagen: Constructiegrammatica en ‘usage based’ taalkunde. Nederlandse Taalkunde 197-222.” International Neerlandistiek 50.2.133-135 (2012).
  • Robert S. Kirsner. Qualitative – Quantitative Analyses of Dutch and Afrikaans Grammar and Lexicon (Studies in Functional and Structural Linguistics 67). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company 2014 (xi + 239 pages).
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “Doing Grammatical Semantics as if it were Phonetics.” In Johanneke Caspers, Yiya Chen, Willemijn Heeren, Jos Pacilly, Niels O. Schiller, and Ellen van Zanten (eds.) Above and Beyond the Segments: Experimental Linguistics and Phonetics. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company 2014, 165-173.
  • Robert S. Kirsner. “A Return to Zullen: The Linguistic Status of Je zal maar X.” In Hogeweg, S. Lestrade & P. de Swart (eds.) Addenda. Nijmegen: Radboud University 2015, 227-237.

Teaching on Recall

Though he retired in July 2016, Professor Kirsner is on recall through 2018-2019, teaching two courses a year. In 2016-2017 he taught the two literature in translation courses listed below, Afrikaans 40 and Dutch 13. It is fair to say that, in both cases, Prof. Kirsner was able to open the eyes of many students to the work of excellent modern authors who most people in the United States (including people in Comparative Literature) have never heard of (though in a more perfect world they would have). Since Professor Kirsner is a linguist he also paid attention to differences between published translations and the original texts, showing how in many cases the only available published English translations are not nearly as good as the original.

In 2017-18 Professor Kirsner plans to teach Honors 84, which deals with such topics as French versus Dutch in Northern Belgium and Afrikaans versus English in South Africa. He also will teach German C124/C238, the first of my 2 linguistics courses. Prof. Kirsner would recommend this particular course to anyone at all interested in how languages work (even teaching assistants in language courses) because it introduces the student to two theoretical frameworks which (in contrast to the formal approaches taught in the Linguistics Department) are directly useful in language teaching, literary stylistics, and translation theory. For an example of the kind of phenomena considered, see item A43 in his Curriculum Vitae.        

  • Afrikaans 40. From Oppressed to Oppressor and Beyond: Literature in Afrikaans from Preapartheid to Postapartheid Era in English Translation. 
  • Dutch 13. Modern Dutch and Flemish Literature in Translation.
  • German C142/C238. Linguistic Theory and Grammatical Description.
  • Honors 84. Conflicts between Languages. Seminar, three hours. Introduction to potentially conflict-ridden language situations in three countries abroad and discussion of various aspects of minority languages in the U.S. P/NP or letter grading.