Chair of English Linguistics

Welcome to the chair of English linguistics, headed by Theresa Heyd. The chair covers Anglophone linguistic practice in teaching and research.


Our focus in teaching is on modern English linguistics (although we occasionally offer seminars with a diachronic outlook). We offer linguistic lectures, practical courses and seminars on three different levels: Linguistics I (basic level – introduction to English linguistics); Linguistics II and Specialization (intermediate level seminars and lectures); Linguistics III and Advanced Specialization (advanced level). In addition, we offer classes for the interdisciplinary Master programs, in particular Language Diversity, and for the optional studies program.

Our linguistic teaching has a very strong focus on empirical data, hands-on work and applied contexts of linguistic theories. We incorporate excursions, projects and talks by invited speakers.

We have a teaching cooperation with the Université du Luxembourg, where Theresa Heyd acts as Associate Adjunct Professor in the Master program in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts.


Our research has a focus on language as a socially informed “meaning-making enterprise” (Eckert (2008)), and specifically English as a resource in global contexts. Following theories on the sociolinguistics of globalization (Blommaert 2010), we understand English not so much as a bounded and nationally anchored entity, but rather as a communicative means that we may encounter, worldwide, in a number of forms and repertoires: sometimes emergent, often digital or otherwise mediated, always mobile.

As a consequence, we are particularly interested in social settings and linguistic data where English in this global and mobilized sense becomes visible. Some of our research fields include:

  • Mediated language and digital linguistic practice, in particular online-offline convergence and posthumanist pragmatics
  • World Englishes: global varieties of English, in particular West African contact varieties (Nigerian Pidgin, Camfranglais)
  • Multilingualism and linguistic diversity: bilingual policy and visibility in Wales; the sociolinguistic economy of Berlin
  • Language and publics: the dialectic of language and publicness (e.g. digital public spaces, visibility of language in physical public space)
  • Language and gender:  we cooperate with the University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Gender Studies, where Theresa Heyd is member of the managing board.
  • Mediatized representation of sociolinguistic diversity (with a focus on telecinematic discourse)

Publication projects:

Here are some recently published or forthcoming publications associated with the working group:

  • The Sociolinguistic Economy of Berlin, to appear with de Gruyter, Language and Social Life (to appear in 2019)
  • Journal of Sociolinguistics: special Issue on The Sociolinguistics of Public Dominance, edited by Theresa Heyd and Britta Schneider (to appear in 2019)
  • Bloomsbury World Englishes, Volume II: Languages (to appear in 2020)

Open access projects:

Collaboration on teaching resources in cooperation with BNClab, a website that enables linguistic analyses of BNC1994 and BNC2014, available here:

Talks and conference contributions in 2018:

  • Literature, Migration and Translation, Düsseldorf: Mobile people, mobile languages, mobile texts: sociolinguistic perspectives on migration and translation (Theresa Heyd)
  • Talking About Food, Bayreuth: Craft Beer and Linguistic life-style emblematization (Theresa Heyd)
  • ISLE 5, London: Drinking in Berlin. Anglophone resources and urban patterns of consumption (Theresa Heyd and Britta Schneider)
  • International Sociolinguistics Conference 2, Budapest: On the social meaning of metalinguistic items in digital West African contact varieties (Theresa Heyd)
  • DiPVaC 4, Helsinki: Discourse Values as indicators of pragmaticalization in Spoken British English - a diachronic view (Susan Reichelt)
  • ICAME 39, Tampere: Genitive variation in Spoken British English - a multi-method diachronic approach (Susan Reichelt)

Conferences organized by members of the working group:


Prof. Dr. phil. Theresa Heyd


Academic staff:

Scholarship holders:

  • Alice Cesbron
  • Luisa Grabiger
  • Dr. Adeiza Isiaka
  • Maybritt Woodcock