Linguistics and English Language

English Language

Linguistic theory, historical linguistics and language variation as applied to the English language

Edinburgh has a long and illustrious history of investigating the linguistics of English and Scots, both  synchronic and diachronic. Researchers in Edinburgh benefit from an enormous body of collectively-available knowledge about these areas.   

We consider how linguistic theory can be developed in relation to English and how English can be better understood through the insights offered by linguistic theory, and we work on aspects of historical and variationist linguistics.

Some of this work has been carried out under the umbrella of the Angus McIntosh Centre for Historical Linguistics (previously the Institute for Historical Dialectology).


Staff working in this area include:

Name Research interests
Dr Claire Cowie World Englishes; language contact; morphogical productivity; pragmatics
Professor Nikolas Gisborne Syntax, particularly dependency theory and word grammar; events and event structure; lexical semantics; language change
Dr Lauren Hall-Lew Sociolinguistics; sociophonetics; phonetic methods; English variation and change; language and ethnicity; language and tourism
Professor Caroline Heycock Syntactic theory; syntactic variation and change; Germanic; Japanese; syntax of Scottish varieties
Dr Patrick Honeybone Phonological theory; historical phonology; variation in English in Northern England
Dr Pavel Iosad Theoretical phonology; phonological interfaces; historical phonology; Celtic languages; Germanic languages
Professor  Bettelou Los Historical syntax; early Germanic; Old English; history of English; Information Structure/Discourse Structure
Dr Warren Maguire Dialectology; varieties of English and Scots; phonetic and phonological variation and change.
Dr Benjamin Molineaux Phonology; historical linguistics; prosody; morphology
Dr Michael Ramsammy Experimental and theoretical phonology; phonological change; Creole Englishes; articulatory phonetics
Professor Graeme Trousdale Constructional approaches to variation and change in English
Dr Linda van Bergen History of English (especially Old and Middle English); English historical syntax

You can also see what our current and recent postgraduate students are studying.

Current and recent postgraduate students

Postgraduate study


The English Language Research Group runs a regular research seminar series, and members are all active in publishing their research, and in organising and presenting at conferences. We regularly attract visiting scholars, who benefit from and contribute to the research environment.

English language seminars