Lehrstuhl für Englische Sprachwissenschaft

    Guest lectures


    Prof. Dr. Alexander Bergs

    January 24, 2023, 12:00 pm

    The department of English Linguistics cordially invites you to a guest lecture by

    Prof. Dr. Alexander Bergs (Universität Osnabrück): 

    Historical sociolinguistics: Limits, risks, and chances

    as part of the Linguistisches Kolloquium and the lecture series A History of English.

    Philosophiegebäude, HS 5


    English Linguistics

    Dominik Schoppa: dominik-jan.schoppa@uni-wuerzburg.de


    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 of the past.


    Alexander Bergs joined the Institute for English and American Studies of Osnabrück University in 2006 when he became Full Professor and Chair of English Language and Linguistics. His research interests include, among others, language variation and change, constructional approaches to language, the role of context in language, the syntax/pragmatics interface and cognitive poetics. His works include several authored and edited books (Social Networks and Historical Sociolinguistics, Modern Scots, Contexts and Constructions, Constructions and Language Change), a short textbook on Synchronic English Linguistics, one on Understanding Language Change (with Kate Burridge) and the two-volume Handbook of English Historical Linguistics (ed. with Laurel Brinton; now available as 5 volume paperback) as well as more than fifty papers in high profile international journals and edited volumes. He is the co-editor (with Jeff Good, Georgia Zelot and Rebecca Starr) of international journal Linguistics Vanguard (de Gruyter Mouton) and the former OUP, now Bloomsbury, book series Cognition, Poetics and the Arts (with Margaret Freeman and Peter Schneck).

    Past lectures

    Prof. Dr. Anita Fetzer

    "It's a very good thing to bring democracy erm directly to everybody at home": The strategic use of 'doing ordinariness' in mediated political discourse


    Prof. Dr. Raymond Hickey

    Examining ‘Bad Data’: Ego Documents in the History of English


    Dr. Tobias Bernaisch

    Random Forests in R: A Practical Introduction


    Dr. Alena Soloshenko and Dr. Fabio Carrella

    English Linguistics Thesis Talks


    Dr. Tobias Bernaisch

    The Structure of Sri Lankan English: Empirical Perspectives


    Assoc. Prof. Susanne Mohr and Katrin Renkwitz, M.A.

    Irish Sign Language (ISL)


    Prof. Dr. Magnus Huber

    The "Old Bailey Corpus" and its potential for the study of Late Modern English


    Prof. Dr. Anita Fetzer

    "The question people are asking is this" – The strategic use of references to ordinariness in political discourse


    Prof. Dr. Markus Bieswanger

    Applied Linguistics: State of the Art and Concrete Applications


    Prof. Dr. Lawrence Solan

    Corpus Linguistics as a Tool in Legal Interpretation


    Gaby Axer, M.A.

    Forensic linguistics – Opportunities and challenges


    Prof. Dr. Kate Burridge

    "Frequent coarse language" – Swearing and taboo language downunder


    Prof. Dr. Pam Peters

    An Antipodean standard – How similar are Australian and New Zealand English in their grammar and style?


    Prof. Dr. Kristin Hanson

    "To th' course of alt'ring things"
    Formal Innovation and the Meter of Shakespeare's Sonnets