Photographer: Eduard Lampe

dr. H.G. (Hella) Olbertz

  • Faculty of Humanities
    Capaciteitsgroep Taalwetenschap
  • Visiting address
    Spuistraat 210  Amsterdam
  • Postal address:
    Spuistraat  210
    1012 VT  Amsterdam


As of February 2017 I work as visiting associate professor at the State University of Feira de Santana (UEFS) in the state of Bahia, Brazil. I teach MA courses on functionalism and grammaticalization and do research on aspectual periphrases in Romance.


My main research interest concerns the semantic and syntactic aspects of variation and change in Spanish and Portuguese, which I try to account for within the theoretical framework of Functional Discourse Grammar. Above all, I am interested in modality and verbal aspect as well as the grammaticalization of the expressions of these categories, with the emphasis on the differences between those two languageas and their European and American varieties.

Selected publications before 2006

  • 2005   (with Pieter Muysken) (eds.) Encuentros y conflictos: bilingüismo y contacto de lenguas en el mundo andino . [Lengua y sociedad en el mundo hispánico 14]. Madrid / Frankfurt: Iberoamericana / Vervuert.
  • 2005   "Dizque en el español andino ecuatoriano: conservador e innovador", in: Olbertz & Muysken (eds.), 77-94.
  • 2003   "Venir + gerundio en el español andino ecuatoriano - un producto de contacto lingüístico", in: Claus Pusch & Andreas Wesch (eds.) Verbalperiphrasen in den (ibero-) romanischen Sprachen / Perífrasis verbals en les llengües (ibero-) romàniques / Perífrasis verbales en las lenguas (ibero-) románicas [Beihefte zu Romanistik in Geschichte und Gegenwart 9]. Hamburg: Buske. 89-103.
  • 2001   "El orden de los constituyentes en la combinación de perífrasis en español". Revista española de lingüística 31/2. 431-453.
  • 1998   Verbal Periphrases in a Functional Grammar of Spanish . [Functional Grammar Series 22]. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter (revised version of dissertation).
  • 1998   (with Kees Hengeveld & Jesús Sánchez) (eds.) The Structure of the Lexicon in Functional Grammar. [Studies in Language Companion Series 43]. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • 1993   "The grammaticalization of Spanish haber plus participle", in: Jaap van Marle (ed.) Historical Linguistics 1991 . 243-263. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Forthcoming publication

  • (submitted) (with Olga Fischer) "The role played by analogy in processes of language change: the case of English have to compared to Spanish tener que". 


  • Hengeveld, K., Narrog, H., & Olbertz, H. G. (in press). A functional perspective on the grammaticalization of tense, aspect, mood, and evidentiality. In K. Hengeveld, H. Narrog, & H. Olbertz (Eds.), The grammaticalization of tense, aspect, and modality: A functional perspective (Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs). Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. [details]
  • Olbertz, H. G., & Honselaar, W. (in press). The grammaticalization of Dutch moeten: Modal and post-modal meanings. In K. Hengeveld, H. Narrog, & H. Olbertz (Eds.), The grammaticalization of tense, aspect, modality and evidentiality: a functional perspective (Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs). Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. [details]



  • Olbertz, H., & Gasparini Bastos, S. (2013). Objective and subjective deontic modality in FDG: evidence from Spanish auxiliary expressions. In J. L. Mackenzie, & H. Olbertz (Eds.), Casebook in functional discourse grammar (pp. 277-300). (Studies in language companion series; No. 137). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. DOI: 10.1075/slcs.137 [details]
  • Mackenzie, J. L., & Olbertz, H. (2013). Introduction. In J. L. Mackenzie, & H. Olbertz (Eds.), Casebook in functional discourse grammar (pp. 1-14). (Studies in language companion series; No. 137). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. DOI: 10.1075/slcs.137 [details]


  • Hengeveld, K., & Olbertz, H. (2012). Didn't you know? Mirativity does exist! Linguistic Typology, 16(3), 487-503. DOI: 10.1515/lingty-2012-0018 [details]
  • Olbertz, H. (2012). The place of exclamatives and miratives in grammar: a functional discourse grammar view. Linguística, 8(1), 76-98. [details] [PDF]


  • Olbertz, H. (2009). Mirativity and exclamatives in functional discourse grammar: evidence from Spanish. Web Papers in Functional Discourse Grammar, 82, 66-82. [details] [PDF]


  • Olbertz, H. (2008). 'Dar' + gerund in Ecuadorian Highland Spanish: contact-induced grammaticalization? Spanish in Context, 5(1), 89-109. DOI: 10.1075/sic.5.1.06olb [details] [PDF]


  • Olbertz, H. G. (2007). ¿Perífrasis verbales con función de marcador de discurso? A propósito del Diccionario de perífrasis verbales. Verba. Anuario galego de filoloxía, 34, 381-390. [details] [PDF]
  • Olbertz, H. (2007). 'Dizque' in Mexican Spanish: the subjectification of reportative meaning. Rivista di Linguistica, 19(1), 151-172. [details] [PDF]


  • Honselaar, W., & Olbertz, H. (2016). The use of Dutch MOETEN without an infinitive: A case of degrammaticalization? In A. Bannink, & W. Honselaar (Eds.), From variation to iconicity: festschrift for Olga Fischer on the occasion of her 65th birthday (pp. 185-201). Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Pegasus. [details]
  • Olbertz, H. G. (in press). Periphrastic expressions of non-epistemic modal necessity in Spanish – a semantic description. In M. Garachana, S. Montserrat, & C. Pusch (Eds.), From composite predicates to verbal periphrases in Romance languages (IVITRA Research in Linguistics and Literature). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. [details] [PDF]


  • Olbertz, H. (2013). "Pues" en el español rural de la sierra ecuatoriana: ¿interferencia del quichua? In C. Felbeck, A. Klump, & J. Kramer (Eds.), America Romana: Perspektiven transarealer Vernetzungen (pp. 179-204). (America Romana; No. 5). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. [details] [PDF]


  • Olbertz, H. (2012). Siever, Holger, "Die spanischen Verbalperiphrasen", RomGG 17/1, 2011, 71-98: [Besprechung]. Romanistik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 18(1), 134-138. [details] [PDF]


  • Olbertz, H. (2008). Spanish expressions of direct evidentiality and affirmative validation? Searching for a linguistic reflex of Quechua -mi in rural Ecuadorian Highland Spanish. In C. Vergaro (Ed.), Dynamics of language contact in the twenty-first century (pp. 111-131). (Conversarii. Studi linguistici del CLA. Sezione ricerca; No. 2). Perugia: Guerra. [details] [PDF]


  • Olbertz, H. G. (2006). "Dizque" en el español de México. In E. Alba Valencia (Ed.), Actas XIV Congreso Internacional ALFAL. Santiago de Chile: s.n.. [details]


  • Olbertz, H. (2013). [Review of: (2010) “Wird man von hustensaft wie so ne art bekifft?”: Approximationsmarker in den romanischen Sprachen]. Journal of Pragmatics, 55, 18-20. DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2013.05.004 [details]

Book editor

  • Hengeveld, K., Narrog, H., & Olbertz, H. (Eds.) (in press). The grammaticalization of tense, aspect, modality, and evidentiality: A functional perspective. (Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs). Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. [details]
  • Mackenzie, J. L., & Olbertz, H. (2013). Casebook in functional discourse grammar. (Studies in language companion series; No. 137). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. DOI: 10.1075/slcs.137 [details]

Keynote / invited lecture

  • Olbertz, Hella (speaker) (10-3-2017): O sujeito nulo nas línguas românicas: uma abordagem discursivo-funcional, ABRALIN, Niterói, Brazil.
  • Olbertz, H.G. (invited speaker) (31-5-2016): Modalidade: "dever" no português em comparação com "dever" no espanhol e "must" no inglês, Minicourse, Universidade Federal Fluminense.
  • Olbertz, H.G. (invited speaker) (25-6-2015): Concessivas e concessivo-condicionais em português - Concessives and conditional concessives in Portuguese, Minicourse, Universidade Fluminense, Niterói (Rio de Janeiro).
  • Olbertz, H.G. (invited speaker) (11-9-2014): A modalidade na GDF: verbos auxiliares espanhóis, VI Seminário de Estudos Linguísticos (SELIN), State University of São Paulo (UNESP), Campus of Araraquara.
  • Olbertz, H.G. (invited speaker) (2-2-2013): El español rural andino del Ecuador: tres rasgos llamativos, Simposio internacional "Estudios transandinos", Ruhr-Universität Bochum.
  • Olbertz, H.G. (invited speaker) (26-4-2012): "Pues" im ländlichen Andenspanisch von Ecuador, Ringvorlesung des America Romana Centrums, Trier.
  • Olbertz, H.G. (invited speaker) (5-10-2012): La modalidad: auxiliares españoles, (guest lecture), Universidade Estadual Paulista, Campus de São José do Rio Preto.
  • Olbertz, H.G. (invited speaker) (11-10-2012): Mirativity as a grammatical category, (guest lecture), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro.
  • Olbertz, H.G. (invited speaker) (7-4-2011): La gramaticalización de las perífrasis modales: 'tener que' + infinitivo, Conferencia sobre los estudios descriptivos de la lengua española, Universidade Estadual Paulista, São José do Rio Preto.
  • Olbertz, H.G. (invited speaker) (7-10-2009): Investigaciones en curso: construcciones de gerundio y evidencialidad en el español andino ecuatoriano, Workshop: El español de los Andes, Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies.
  • Olbertz, H.G. (invited speaker) (4-10-2009): Las perífrasis del tipo 'llegar a' + infinitivo, VII Congreso Internacional de Lingüistica Hispánica, Universität Leipzig.
  • Olbertz, H.G. (invited speaker) (19-12-2006): 'Ir y venir' con gerundio en el espanõl andino ecuatoriano- degramaticalización debido al contacto?, Sobre Tiempo y Aspecto. II Seminario de investigación (invited), Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Ciudad Real.


  • Hengeveld, Kees (organiser) & Olbertz, H.G. (organiser) (24-7-2017 - 28-7-2017): Una aproximación tipológica a las lenguas de América Latina (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
  • Olbertz, H.G. (organiser) & Hengeveld, Kees (organiser) (26-6-2017 - 27-6-2100): Expressions of tense, aspect, mood, evidentiality and polarity (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
  • Olbertz, H.G. (organiser) (18-10-2013 - 19-10-2013): Workshop on the Grammaticalization of Tense, Aspect, Mood and Modality, University of Amsterdam (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications.

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