The picture shows an online corpus research with focus on the word "language".

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).

On our individual web pages (click on "Chairs" or "Staff") you will find more information about us, our research interests, publications and projects. If you want to talk to us, don't hesitate to get in touch. For larger projects, click on "Projects".


In teaching, we focus on 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. All of the areas mentioned below are represented in our study programmes, with the possibility for students to specialise in them, too.

Our 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).