Historical English Language

Glasgow has a long-established international reputation for the historical study of English, with colleagues undertaking research relating to every period of the language, from pre-/Old English to the recent past.  Glasgow’s approach to the history of English links the best of the philological and linguistic traditions, and much of its research is data-led.  There are cross-School and cross-College synergies with colleagues working on Scots and English in Scotland, especially through the Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies, and on Modern English Language, most notably on language variation and change.

We have distinctive strengths in such subjects as corpus-studies, Old Norse, the interface with medieval and renaissance studies, and historical pragmatics, and the School is a centre of excellence for the study of historical lexicology and semantics: the Historical Thesaurus of English was developed at Glasgow, and several successor-projects are now under way engaging with ‘big data’ issues, notably the AHRC-funded Mapping Metaphor with the Historical ThesaurusSAMUELS, and Linguistic DNA projects. 

Such work aligns closely with Glasgow Digital Humanities, our cross-disciplinary network.  Onomastics (name-studies) is a particular strength within the School and across the College, with a lively reading-group (Onomasticon) and a strong cohort of postgraduates.  We cooperate closely in research with several overseas universities on historical projects, notably the University of Stavanger, Norway (on the Middle English Grammar Project).

Associated staff