Patrick Farrell

Patrick Farrell Portrait

Position Title
Professor Emeritus



  • Ph.D., Linguistics, UC San Diego, 1991
  • B.A., Psychology, UC Santa Cruz, 1975


Curriculum Vitae

Patrick Farrell has taught courses on syntax and grammatical analysis, linguistic theory, language universals and typology, English grammar, and English as a global language. He regularly serves as a consultant and expert witness for legal matters in which the meaning and usage of the English language is at stake, as in trademark litigation, the interpretation of statutes and contracts, and the establishment of author identity. His published work, which has appeared in numerous journals, proceedings, and books, focuses primarily on issues in English and comparative syntax and semantics from various theoretical orientations in both generative and cognitive/functional traditions. His research also encompasses aspects of the grammar of Romance languages, particularly Brazilian Portuguese, and issues of meaning and culture and language learning and teaching. He is a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America, for which he recently completed a term as Secretary-Treasurer and for which he continues to serve as Editor of the Proceedings of the LSA, Chair of the Committee on Publications, and Publications Advisor. His service to the University of California and the State of California has included appointments as

  • chair of the Department of Linguistics,
  • director in Brazil for the UC Education Abroad Program,
  • member of the Board of Directors of ASSIST,
  • chair of the UC Davis Committee on Admissions and Enrollment, and
  • campus representative to the UC Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS).

Research Focus

Professor Farrell’s research explores how human language works and how various theories of linguistics model this, focusing on issues in the syntax and semantics of English, language typology and cross-linguistic and diachronic comparison, the structure of words and sentences and how these relate to meaning and how people conceptualize the world, language in popular use as displayed in online corpora and what this tells us about human cultures and about how people think and know, and how the scientific study of language can elucidate matters of public policy and procedure, particularly in the domains of trademark law and statutory interpretation.


Farrell, Patrick & Beatriz Willgohs. 2018. A Macro-role Approach to Dative Subjects, in Jóhanna Barðdal, Na'ama Pat-El & Stephen Mark Carey (eds), Non-Canonically Case-Marked Subjects within and across Languages and Language Families: The Reykjavík / Eyjafjallajökull Papers, 85-114. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. CrossRef.

Farrell, Patrick. 2015. Expert Report: Andale Energy Drink Co. v. Arriba Brands, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, USPTO, Alexandria, VA. View this report.

Fushing, Hsieh, Chen Chen, Yin-Chen Hsieh, & Patrick Farrell. 2014. Lewis Carroll's Doublets Net of English Words: Network Heterogeneity in a Complex System. PLoS One. CrossRef.

Farrell, Patrick. 2011. Declaration in Support of Plaintiff’s Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Strike: Burrill v. Nair et al. The Superior Court of California in and for the County of Placer. View this report.

Farrell, Patrick. 2009. The Preposition with in Role and Reference Grammar, Lilián Guerrero, Sergio Ibáñez, and Valeria A. Belloro (eds), Studies in Role and Reference Grammar, 179-202. Mexico City: UNAM Press. View this paper.

Farrell, Patrick. 2005. English Verb-Preposition Constructions: Constituency and Order. Language, 81: 96–137. eScholarship CrossRef.

Farrell, Patrick. 2005. Grammatical Relations, Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York. About this book.