Welcome to English Linguistics!

English Linguistics is concerned with the analysis of the English language system as a whole, comprising first of all the core areas of linguistics: the sound system (phonetics and phonology), the lexicon (lexicology, morphology, lexicography), meaning (semantics), and grammar (syntax, inflectional morphology). Furthermore, it deals with the distribution of English (social and regional varieties), its historical development (diachronic linguistics), and its uses in everyday life (pragmatics, text and discourse linguistics).

Is English for Me?

We would be very pleased to welcome every student to our department, yet we understand that studying English is not for everyone. Apart from taking a closer look at our website and catalog of courses, we devised a test that should help you answer the question: "Is studying English for me?" This test will not be graded and your answers will be anonymous. The test, however, will provide you with feedback about how well you would fit in one of our degree programs: the academic Bachelor in English or the teacher-training Bachelor in English.

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Teaching

All of these areas are represented in our study programmes, with the possibility for students to specialise in some of them. In teaching, we emphasise analysing actual language use (empirical linguistics), aiming at appropriately integrating data with theory (such as functional, cognitive or language-change theories). Needless to say, our research interests also inform our teaching.

Research

In research, we specialise in the fields below. Together we cover a wide area of English linguistics and, because we have some overlapping interests, we can offer an in-depth view of a range of topics from multiple perspectives.

  • The history of the English language, in particular the Early and Late Modern English periods (1500 onwards). We have taken structural (phonology, verb structures), variationist (Irish English), and textual (newspapers, pamphlets) perspectives on this period, for example. Language contact and the complex process of standardisation has been a further focus.
  • Varieties including older and newer varieties as well second-language varieties world-wide, which we study from a historical, geographical and social perspective. We look at, among others, the pathways which language change can take, the interaction of foreign cultures and the English language, as well as the manner in which social behaviour and attitudes affect the way people use English. Contemporary models of sociolinguistics provide the framework for this research. (Hickey)
  • Researching language in use, such as describing the general principles governing speaker’s linguistic choices or showing how situational/institutional requirements shape texts, is the field of pragmatics and discourse linguistics. Our interests here include identity construction and personalisation, multimodality, figurative language, and the emergence of pragmatic features in various media and genres. (Bös)
  • We believe in the importance of using authentic data. Besides using various empirical approaches, all of us have also been active in corpus linguistics, both using and constructing corpora (large collections of electronic text). We are or have been involved in the construction of the Lampeter Corpus of Early Modern English Tracts (our former colleague Prof. Claudia Claridge), the Rostock Newspaper Corpus, the Corpus of English and German Internet Forum Discussions (Bös), the Corpus of Irish English and the analysis software Corpus Presenter (Hickey), and the Digital Media Corpus (Hernandez).

We, the linguists

On our individual websites you will find more information on our research interests, publications and projects. If you are interested, don't hesitate to ask. We are always happy to talk about language and linguistics!

For larger projects, please click "Projects" on the left.