Lehrstuhl für Englische Sprachwissenschaft

Guest lecture by Prof. Alexander Bergs

Historical sociolinguistics: Limits, risks, and chances
Datum: 27.06.2023, 14:00 Uhr
Vortragende*r: Prof. Dr. Alexander Bergs (University of Osnabrück)

Ort: Philosophiegebäude, Hörsaal 5

Historical sociolinguistics explores the life and times of language users in history and how these may be related to their particular language use. In this challenging enterprise it seeks to employ theories, models, and methods from all three waves of modern sociolinguistics in order to shed light on the social context of past language use. However, both linguistic and social data for past language stages prove to be limited in certain, specific ways. This does not preclude historical sociolinguistic analyses, but it necessitates careful consideration of these limits when designing and conducting studies in historical sociolinguistics. At the same time, the very nature of this data can also open up windows for some new and exciting perspectives which are difficult to investigate in present-day approaches. In this talk, I will present some exemplary case studies from the history of English that illustrate the limits, risks, and chances in sociolinguistic explorations in the past. 


(presented as part of Linguistisches Kolloquium and the lecture series “A History of English”)