Sie sind hier: FRIAS School of Language & … Fellows Prof. Dr. Paul Kerswill

Prof. Dr. Paul Kerswill

Lancaster University, UK
Jan. - März 2010

Vergangene FRIAS-Aufenthalte

  • Jan. - März 2010




My research is in social dialectology - a sociolinguistically informed approach to language variation and change. I am interested in how variation and change is patterned within speech communities - big cities, small towns or whole geographical regions - in which factors such as class, gender, ethnicity, age, as well as identity and mobility, play a part in how language varieties are distributed across the community and through time.

All my research has been on dialect contact - the long-term linguistic consequences that ensue when speakers of different accents or dialects come together through migration and mobility. My first research looked at the ways in which Norwegian rural dialect speakers changed their vernacular speech after they had migrated to the city of Bergen .

One of the consequences of dialect contact is dialect levelling - the overall reduction in linguistic diversity across a dialect area. I worked on a speech community in which there has been "extreme" levelling - the New Town of Milton Keynes. I've also looked at dialect levelling from a geographical perspective, and considered the effects of social network differences in this process.

Currently I'm working on the second of two large ESRC-funded projects on phonetic and grammatical features among teenagers and older people in London, taking account of its massive ethnic diversity.



Publikationen (Auswahl):


  • Wodak, Ruth, Johnstone, Barbara & Kerswill, Paul (eds.) (forthcoming 2010). Sage handbook of sociolinguistics. London: Sage.
  • Kerswill, Paul (2010fc) Sociolinguistic approaches to language change: phonology. In Wodak, Ruth, Johnstone, Barbara & Kerswill, Paul. Sage handbook of sociolinguistics. London: Sage.
  • Kerswill, Paul (2010fc) Contact and new varieties. In Raymond Hickey (ed.) Blackwell handbook of language contact. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Culpeper, Jonathan, Katamba, Francis, Kerswill, Paul, McEnery, Anthony & Wodak, Ruth (eds.) (2009). English language: description, variation and context. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmilla.
  • Kerswill, Paul, Torgersen, Eivind & Fox, Susan (2008). Reversing ‘drift’: Innovation and diffusion in the London diphthong system. Language Variation and Change 20: 451–491.
  • Cheshire, Jenny, Fox, Sue, Kerswill, Paul & Torgersen, Eivind (2008). Ethnicity, friendship network and social practices as the motor of dialect change: linguistic innovation in London. Sociolinguistica 22. Special issue on Dialect Sociology, edited by Alexandra Lenz and Klaus J. Mattheier. pp. 1–23.
  • Auer, Peter, Hinskens, Frans & Kerswill, Paul (eds.) (2005). Dialect change: Convergence and divergence in European languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Kerswill, Paul & Williams, Ann (2000). Creating a new town koine: children and language change in Milton Keynes. Language in Society 29: 65–115.
  • Kerswill, Paul (1996). Children, adolescents and language change. Language Variation and Change 8: 177–202.
  • Kerswill, Paul (1994). Dialects converging: rural speech in urban Norway. Oxford: Clarendon Press.





The making of modern dialects. British English since 1850

My primary intention is to complete three chapters of

The making of modern dialects. British English since 1850

, the manuscript of which is due at the end of 2010, for publication by Cambridge University Press. This book will present both a conspectus of changes in British English regional varieties as well as, for the first time, an attempt to develop a typology of British speech communities which is able to account for differences in the rate and types of linguistic change. My second project is to complete a proposal, with Prof. Jenny Cheshire, for a new ESRC project on young people’s speech in London, focusing specifically on social mobility and its interaction with social class and ethnicity. The third project is work on a project on the timing of syllables in London youth language, using the Pairwise Variability Index (PVI).