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Dr Rodrigo Hernaiz Gomez

Profile summary

Professional biography

Dr. Rodrigo Hernáiz is a Lecturer in Languages and Linguistics at the Open University.

He is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy, MA in Humanities, MA in Linguistics, MA in Ancient Languages and master in Assyriology. After completing his degree in Linguistics, Rodrigo undertook specialized training in Linguistic Typology and in Historical Sociolinguistics. He completed a dissertation on Studies on linguistic and orthographic variation in Old Babylonian letters and was awarded a PhD degree at the Philipps-University Marburg (Germany), with magna cum laude distinction.

Before joining the OU, Rodrigo has worked as researcher at the Faculty of Philology of the University of Barcelona (Spain), and taught language courses at the Philipps-University Marburg (Germany) and the University of Bedfordshire (UK).


Research interests

Rodrigo's interests focus on typology and diachronic linguistics, encompassing both present-day and older linguistic landscapes.

He has employed quantitative and historical-sociolinguistic methods to analyse the variation and evolution of one of the longest-documented languages: Akkadian. He created the ACCOB corpus (Annotated Corpus of Correspondence in Old Babylonian), comprising ca.1800 letters annotated for bespoke grammatical features and extralinguistic metadata. He has also worked on cross-linguistic studies on grammaticalisation and historical syntax.

Rodrigo's primary research objective is to explore linguistic diversity and the mechanisms of language variation and diversification, as well as patterns of linguistic stability. This interest extends to language documentation, historical linguistics and quantitative/probabilistic approaches to diachrony and diversity in languages and cultures. 


Teaching interests

Linguistic diversity, language variation and change, typology and grammatical description.

Rodrigo has worked (or is working) in the production of the following courses/modules:

  • L108 Beginners Chinese
  • L226 Spanish Studies 2: language and culture of the Spanish-speaking world
  • LGXC002 Beginners Chinese 2: 开始吧 kāishĭ ba!
  • LGXC004 Elementary Chinese 1: 入门了 rùmén le!
  • LGXC005 Elementary Chinese 2: 入门了 rùmén le! 
  • L106 Spanish Studies 
  • LGXC050 Chinese business culture essentials
  • L336 Spanish Studies 2: language and culture of the Spanish-speaking world
  • LGXC006 Elementary Chinese 3: 入门了 rùmén le! 
He has also collaborated in the presentation of other modules: 
  • L193 Rundblick: beginners' German
  • L116 Spanish studies 1: Language and culture of the Spanish-speaking world
  • L801 Introduction to translation theory and practice

Impact and engagement

Academic consultant for the BBC Ideas video "Can saving languages save nature?" (Can saving languages save nature? - BBC Ideas, released 17 April 2023).

Academic consultant for the BBC Ideas video "The ancient secrets revealed by deciphered tablets" (The ancient secrets revealed by deciphered tablets - BBC Ideas, released 23 December 2021).

Member of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (The Linguistic Society of Europe).

Member of the International Association of Assyriology.

Member of the Philological Society (PhilSoc).


The grammaticalization of manner expressions into complementizers: insights from Semitic languages (2024-01)
Hernaiz, Rodrigo
Linguistics: An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences ((Early Access))

Causal clauses as source of sentential complementation: cross-linguistic evidence and methodological issues (2024)
Hernaiz Gomez, Rodrigo
Linguistics Vanguard ((Early access))

Studies on linguistic and orthographic variation in Old Babylonian letters (2020-03-01)
Hernáiz, Rodrigo
Alter Orient und Altes Testament
ISBN : 978-3-86835-309-9 | Publisher : Ugarit-Verlag | Published : Münster

Morphological variation in the Old Babylonian stative paradigm (2021-05)
Hernáiz, Rodrigo
In: Feliu, Lluís; Millet, Adelina and Vidal, Jordi eds. Fs del Olmo Lete. «Sentido de un empeño». Homenatge a Gregorio del Olmo Lete (pp. 235-248)
ISBN : 978-84-9168-362-9 | Publisher : Edicions de la Universitat de Barcelona | Published : Barcelona

A Variationist Approach to Orthographic and Phonological Peculiarities of the Language in the Laws of Hammurabi (2021)
Hernaiz, Rodrigo
In: De Graef, Katrien and Goddeeris, Anne eds. Law and (Dis)Order in the Ancient Near East. Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (pp. 117-135)
Publisher : Penn State University Press

The grammaticalization of manner expressions into complementizers: Insights from Semitic languages (2020)
Hernaiz Gomez, Rodrigo
In : The grammaticalization of manner expressions into complementizers (26 Aug - 1 Sep 2020, Bucharest (online))

Language, societies and prestige: royal correspondence in Old Babylonian. (2019)
Hernaiz Gomez, Rodrigo
In : 65ᵉ Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (RAI) (8-12 Jul 2019, Collège de France, Paris)

Causal clauses as source for sentential complementation: Methodological issues (2019)
Hernáiz, Rodrigo
In : 24th International Conference on Historical Linguistics (ICHL) (1-5 Jul 2019, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia)

Applications of Text Corpora for the Study of Ancient Languages: Akkadian Sociolinguistics (2018)
Hernáiz, Rodrigo
In : Ancient Digital Hu­man­it­ies Work­shop (6 Mar 2018, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland)

From prehistorical language convergence to (early) historical language shift: The Sumero-Akkadian contact scenario (2017)
Hernáiz, Rodrigo
In : DLCE Workshop "Language shift and substratum interference in (pre)history" (11-12 Jul 2017, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. Jena, Germany)

Applications of variationist linguistics perspectives in Old Babylonian: The sibilants in the Laws of Hammurabi (2014)
Hernáiz, Rodrigo
In : Oxford Postgraduate Conference in Assyriology (25-26 Apr 2014, Wolfson College, Oxford University, UK)