Prof. Dr. Isabelle Buchstaller

Porträt zeigt Frau Professor Doktor Isabelle Buchstaller.
Prof. Dr. Isabelle Buchstaller


University of Duisburg-Essen
Department of Anglophone Studies
R12 S04 H79
Universitätsstr. 12
45141 Essen

Room: R12 S04 H79

E-mail: isabelle.buchstaller[a]

Phone: +49 201 183-4712

Office hours

Professor for varieties of English

I am a variationist sociolinguist. My main areas of expertise are language variation and change, corpus linguistics and models and methods for collecting and analysing linguistic data. I am particularly interested in dialectal morpho-syntactic and discourse phenomena. I have worked on a range of varieties of English, most notably on Hawaiian Creole, Tyneside English, Californian English and most recently on the variety of English spoken in the Marshall Islands. I am interested in global trends and contact-induced changes in the English language, which invariably brings up typological questions as regards the underlying causes of linguistic variability and change.

I am the director of the newly created Sociolinguistics Lab in Essen.


  • 1996 Zwischenprüfung / B.A.: Universität Erlangen
  • 1999 Staatsexamen and Magister Artium: Universität Konstanz
  • 2004 PhD: University of Edinburgh

Previous Positions

  • 2004/5 visiting assistant professor, Stanford University
  • 2006-2011 lecturer in sociolinguistics, Newcastle University
  • 2011-2017 professor for varieties of English, University of Leipzig, Germany

Current Work

Language Variation and Change

I am interested in reported speech/thought and in intensification, two areas of the linguistic system that have been the locus of fast and far-reaching changes. I have done research on California youth trends, on globalization phenomena and on attitudes to rapid language change phenomena. Together with my colleague Ingrid van Alphen (University of Amsterdam) I have edited a volume that draws together interdisciplinary research on reported speech: Quotatives: Cross-linguistic and cross-disciplinary perspectives (John Benjamins). I have also written a monograph on quotation entitled Quotatives: New Trends and Sociolinguistic Implications (Wiley-Blackwell).

I was the holder of a 4-year Marie Curie CIG grant, which investigates “Diagnostics of linguistic change: Mapping language change in real and apparent time”.

From May 27th to 29th 2015 Leipzig University hosted ICLAVE8. Check out our webpage here:


Together with my colleagues Karen Corrigan and Anders Holmberg, I have developed and tested methodologies to trace (morpho-)syntactic and discourse variability across social and geographical space. I have also written on the use of up-to-date geographical models in linguistic analysis (with Seraphim Alvanides). In collaboration with colleagues at Newcastle University and Edinburgh University I have investigated the patterning of a number of morpho-syntacic and phonological phenomena in the English-Scottish Borderland. Karen Corrigan, Hermann Moisl, Adam Mearns and myself have collated a large corpus of recordings and transcriptions of Tyneside English speech, the Diachronic Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English (, which spans recordings from informants born between 1895 and 1993.

Language contact

At the beginning of my academic career, I analysed the way speakers encode causality, concessivity and conditionality in Hawaiian Creole. I continue to be interested in the outcome of language contact, both on a local and on a global scale. Together with colleagues at Stanford (John Rickford, Elizabeth Closs Traugott, Tom Wasow and Arnold Zwicky) and with Alexandra D’Arcy (University of Victoria) I have investigated the global repercussions of the fast spreading innovative quotatives and intensifiers. I have edited a volume (with Anders Holmberg and Mohammad Al-Moaily) on non-Indo European and non-West African Pidgin and Creole languages: Pidgins and Creoles beyond Africa - Europe encounters (Benjamins). With Julia Davydova, I examined the use of new English trends by speakers of German.

My most recent project investigates the varieties which result from contact between speakers of Marshallese and English in the Marshall Islands. This project is funded by the DFG and I am collaborating with Irene Taafaki (USP, Majuro), Nik Willson (CMI, Majuro) and Robert Early (USP, Vanuatu). Check out my blog here: