She received her PhD in Linguistics from the University of California at Berkeley (1995) and her title of Docent of Linguistics from University of Helsinki (2008). She currently serves as Dean at the Faculty of Arts at Charles University in Prague, but between 1996 and 2008, she taught linguistics at UC Berkeley, University of Oregon, and Princeton University. From 2008 till 2011, she held the position of Senior Researcher in the Czech Language Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences and in the years 2011–2013 she served as Chair in the Linguistics Department at Charles University in Prague.
Her research focuses on the cognitive and functional grounding of linguistic structure, particularly in syntax and morphosyntax. She’s been one of the leading proponents of the constructional approach in language analysis, developing the representational potential of Construction Grammar into new areas, especially as concerns the integration of conventionalised interactional features in syntactic generalisations. She has been engaged in pioneering work concerned with capturing the fluid nature of grammatical organisation, especially in the domain of variability and change, largely in connection with grammaticalisation theory and its emphasis on the contextual grounding of grammatical development.
In addition to serving as one of the Associated Editors for Cognitive Linguistics, she is the co-founder of the book series Constructional Approaches to Language at John Benjamins (2000) and was one of its co-editors till 2012. She’s the co-founder (in 2008) of the journal Constructions and Frames and since 2012 has been also its Co-Editor-in-Chief.