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

Marc Alexander

Professor Marc Alexander

Professor of English Linguistics (English Language & Linguistics)

Research interests: Semantics, Lexicology, Digital Humanities, Corpus Linguistics, Historical Thesaurus Of English, Stylistics, Cognitive Linguistics, Lexicography, Dictionaries, Thesauri, Metaphor, Pragmatics, Computational Linguistics, Historical Linguistics, Legal Interpretation

Wendy Anderson

Professor Wendy Anderson

Professor of Linguistics (English Language & Linguistics)

Research interests: Semantics, Metaphor, Conceptual Metaphor Theory, Corpus Linguistics, French Linguistics, Lexicography, Historical Thesaurus Of English, Discourse Analysis, Genre Analysis, Grammar Of English, Digital Humanities, Language And Culture

Fraser Dallachy

Dr Fraser Dallachy

Lecturer in the Historical Thesaurus of English (English Language & Linguistics)

Research interests: Historical linguistics; historical semantics; corpus linguistics; digital humanities; manuscripts and early printed books; stylistics; pragmatics.

Carole Hough

Professor Carole Hough

Professor of Onomastics (English Language & Linguistics)

Research interests: Onomastics, Place-Names, Personal Names, Old English, Anglo-Saxon Law, Dictionaries, Lexicography, Thesauri, Semantics, Cognitive Linguistics

Professor Pamela King

Professor of English Language and Linguistics (English Language & Linguistics)

Research interests: theatre, drama, festival, iconography, medievalism, manuscripts

Joanna Kopaczyk

Dr Joanna Kopaczyk

Senior Lecturer in Scots and English (English Language & Linguistics)

Research interests: Scots;pragmatics;discourse;socio-historical linguistics;historical multilingualism;historical corpus linguistics;phraseology;legal language;formulaic language;written language

Kathryn Lowe

Dr Kathryn Lowe

Senior Lecturer in Old and Middle English (English Language & Linguistics)

Research interests: Old English; Manuscript Studies; Textual Transmission; Editing; Literacy; Middle English; History Of The English Language

Dr Susan Rennie

Affiliate- English Language & Linguistics (English Language & Linguistics)

Elizabeth Robertson

Professor Elizabeth Robertson

Professor of English Language (English Language & Linguistics)

Research interests: Middle English Literature 1066-1550; gender and religion in medieval literature; Piers Plowman; Poetics and the new formalism; history of the Soul in literature; Medieval Cognition; History of the Senses and Emotions; Literary Theory

Jeremy Smith

Professor Jeremy Smith

Professor of English Philology (English Language & Linguistics)

Research interests: Old & Middle English Language & Literature, History of English & Scots, Historical Pragmatics, Book History

Alison Wiggins

Dr Alison Wiggins

Reader in English Language and Manuscripts (English Language & Linguistics)

Research interests: scholarly editing, digital humanities, archives, handwriting, manuscript cultures, Middle English literature, Early Modern English, correspondence and letter-writing, historical financial accounts, Chatsworth House, Mary Queen of Scots