Universiteit Leiden

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Egbert Fortuin

Professor Russian Language and Linguistics

Prof.dr. E.L.J. Fortuin
+31 71 527 2075

Egbert Fortuin is Professor Russian Language and Linguistics.

More information about Egbert Fortuin

Egbert Fortuin was Vice Dean of the Faculty of Humanities from 2015 up until 2019.


I have worked extensively on the following topics:

  • Semantics and pragmatics of constructions:
    • Imperatives
    • Conditionals
    • Infinitive constructions
    • Modal constructions
    • Word order and syntax
    • Degree constructions
    • Double negation and constructions
    • Modal particles
  • Verbal aspect:
    • Russian aspect
    • Slavic aspect
    • Comparative aspect
  • Explanation in syntax
  • The language and argumentation of Russian propaganda

Curriculum vitae

After finishing his MA's in Philosophy and Slavic languages and cultures at the University of Amsterdam, Egbert Fortuin did his PhD in Russian linguistics at the same university. He became assistant professor of Russian linguistics at Leiden University in 2005. He currently works as professor of Russian language and Linguistics at the same university.

Key publications

  • Fortuin E. Universality and language-dependency of tense and aspect: performatives from a cross-linguistic perspective. To appear in Linguistic Typology.
  • Fortuin E. & Geerdink H. Universal Semantic Syntax. A Semiotactic Approach. To appear in Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 160. Cambridge University Press
  • Fortuin E. & Boogaart R. (2009), Imperative as conditional: From constructional to compositional semantics, Cognitive Linguistics 20(4): 641-673.
  • Fortuin E. (2000), Polysemy or monosemy: Interpretation of the imperative and dative-infinitive construction in Russian. ILLC Dissertation Series.

Recent research projects

1. Universal Semantic Syntax (Egbert Fortuin, Hetty Geerdink-Verkoren)

This project focuses on the study of syntax from a semantic point of view.  Semiotactics is a theory that aims to analyse and help explain semantic-syntactic structures of individual languages. However, because of its universal basis, it can also serve as a starting point for cross-linguistic comparison. Cross-linguistic comparison presupposes that there is a basis for comparison to start with, such as descriptions in a standardized format and a clear classification of the various methodological statuses of linguistic concepts: which relations and units are universal and which are language-specific? The semiotactic theory is advocated in our new book Universal Semantic Syntax, A Semiotactic Approach, which is a comprehensive introduction into this theory, which combines both syntax and semantics. What makes it unique is that it provides a comprehensive way of both analysing and formalizing linguistic constructions across languages. With this work, we hope to encourage linguists working with other languages to analyse various constructions in these languages by using the semiotactic approach, and to discover whether, and if so how, the theory could be further extended and if necessary adapted.

2.  Comparative verbal aspect. This project focuses on verbal aspect and tense from a cross-linguistic perspective. Current topics are the tense, aspect and modality of performatives and the relation between aspect and habituality. 

Professor Russian Language and Linguistics

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Univ Centre for Linguistics
  • LUCL Russische Studies

Work address

Reuvensplaats 3-4
2311 BE Leiden
Room number 1.32




  • No relevant ancillary activities
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