Linguistics and English Language

English language research group meetings

Research presentations and discussion on English language and linguistics

The meetings of the English Language Research Group feature activities on a wide range of aspects of the synchronic and diachronic linguistics of English.

We have talks by members of the department and by invited speakers from elsewhere, discussions of recent articles, and informal discussion of work in progress. All welcome!

Time and location

Seminars are normally held on Wednesday afternoons at 2.10pm, approximately on a monthly basis. 


The seminars are organised by Warren Maguire, Benjamin Molineaux and Patrick Honeybone. Please get in touch if you would like to contribute to or know more about to the ELRG.

Forthcoming seminars

  • 24th January 2018, 2.10-3pm, room G.15, 7 Bristo Square: Raffaela Baechler (University of Edinburgh) 'Nominal inflection in early Middle English: A first glimpse'
  • 21st February 2018, 2.10-3pm, room 1.17, Dugald Stewart Building: Patrick Honeybone (University of Edinburgh) 'English r-sandhi for the 50 millionth time (but this time taking variation seriously)'
  • 21st March 2018, 2.10-3pm [postponed due to UCU strike]
  • 18th April 2018, 2.10-3pm, room 1.17, Dugald Stewart Building: Alpo Honkapohja (University of Edinburgh) 'Abbreviations and standardisation: Latin to English, and Manuscript to Print'
  • 16th May 2018, 12.10-1pm [note the ususual time] room S37, 7 George Square: John Rice-Whetton (University of Melbourne) 'How the get-passive gets used, and how it got that way'

Previous seminars

  • 11 December 2017 [NB: this is a Monday], 12.10-1pm , room 3.11, DSB: Lynn Clark (University of Canterbury) 'Medial /t/s in Middle Earth' [Joint meeting with the  Language Variation and Change Research Group and the P-Workshop.] Abstract: Compared with some other varieties of English around the world, New Zealand English (NZE) has a very small number of speakers. Despite this, work on NZE has had a disproportionately large impact on the field of Linguistics, not only in the description of this new variety but, crucially, in the development of models of phonological variation and change and new dialect formation. This has been made possible because of the availability of a number of different spoken corpora in New Zealand which span different time points in the development of this new variety, from its inception to the present day. Today, I will show how I have been using three different spoken corpora of NZE to investigate novel areas of linguistic research. First, using a corpus of spoken monologues, I will discuss patterns of within-speaker phonetic variation (in word medial, intervocalic  /t/) that are similar to the types of priming effects we see in experimental psycholinguistic work. Next, using a corpus of contemporary conversation, I explore the extent to which these priming effects (again in medial /t/) are apparent in dyadic conversation. Finally, using a spoken corpus with a sizeable time depth, I investigate some aspects of long-term cross-speaker variability which could have taken place in early NZ English – in this part of the paper I consider the impact of the Scottish Vowel Length Rule on early NZ English.  
  • 13 Apr 2016: Daisy Smith (University of Edinburgh) '‑is or ‑es (or not?): scribal abbreviation of the plural morpheme {‑S} in Older Scots legal charters 1380-1500'
  • 16 Mar 2016: Rebecca Colleran (University of Edinburgh) 'Keeping it in the family: Disentangling contact and inheritance in closely related languages'
  • 29 Feb 2016: Bill Kretzschmar (University of Georgia) 'Emergence of English: Addressing 'Emergence' in a HEL Classroom'
  • 20 Jan 2016: Susan Rennie (University of Glasgow) 'Creating a Historical Thesaurus of Scots'
  • 16 Dec 2015: Marc Alexander (University of Glasgow) 'Patchworks, privatisation, and games: Lexical semantics and the Historical Thesaurus of English'
  • 9 Dec 2015: Rhona Alcorn & Rob Truswell (University of Edinburgh) 'A Parsed Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English'

For older seminars, see our archive.