Sie sind hier: FRIAS School of Language & … Fellows Prof. Dr. Robert Murray

Prof. Dr. Robert Murray

Englische und Allgemeine Linguistik
University of Calgary
Mai 2012

Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies
Albertstr. 19
79104 Freiburg im Breisgau


Vergange FRIAS-Aufenthalte

  • Mai 2012
  • Feb. 2011 - Juni 2011
  • August 2010
  • Mai 2010
  • Mai/Juni 2009



Robert Murray received his Dr. phil. from the University of Munich in 1984. He has been at the University of Calgary since 1986 where he is presently professor of linguistics. From 1993 to 2004, he also served as Head of the Department of Linguistics. Robert works generally in the area of historical linguistics and is especially interested in theoretical approaches to the explanation of phonological change. Recently he has also taken a keen interest in linguistic historiography, and has contributed a number of handbook chapters on the development of linguistic thought in the area of language change. His research has been primarily funded by major grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada. Since 2004 Robert has also served as Editor and Chair of the Editorial Committee for the Journal of Germanic Linguistics, published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Society for Germanic Linguistics and the Forum for Germanic Language Studies.


Selected Publications


  • 1983: Sound Change and Syllable Structure in Germanic Phonology. Language 59, 514–528. [Co-authored with Theo Vennemann.]
  • 1988: Phonological Strength and Early Germanic Syllable Structure. Munich: Fink.
  • 1992: Phonological Drift in Early English. Indogermanische Forschungen 97, 122–144.
  • 2000: Syllable Cut Prosody in Early Middle English. Language 76, 617–654.
  • 2002: Syllable Cut Prosody in Early Modern English: John Hart’s Testimony. In Silbenschnitt und Tonakzente, edited by Peter Auer, Peter Gilles, and Helmut Spiekermann. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 103–127. 
  • 2002: Accents and Medieval English Phonologists. In Sounds and Systems: Studies in Structure and Change. A Festschrift for Theo Vennemann, edited by David Restle and Dietmar Zaefferer. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 91–120.
  • 2006: Modern Theories of Linguistic Change: An Overview. In History of the Language Sciences, edited by Sylvain Auroux, Konrad Koerner, Hans J. Niederehe, and Kees Versteegh. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2479–2500.
  • 2006: Historical Linguistics in the Age of Structuralism. In History of the Language Sciences, edited by Sylvain Auroux, Konrad Koerner, Hans J. Niederehe, and Kees Versteegh. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2430–2446.
  • In press. Old English Phonology. In Historical Linguistics of English, edited by Alexander Bergs and Laurel Brinton. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • In press. Language and Space. The Neogrammarian Tradition. In Language and Space. An International Handbook of Linguistic Variation, ed. by Peter Auer and Jürgen Erich Schmidt. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.



FRIAS Research Projekt

Toward a History of Historical Phonology

The FRIAS project is a portion of a larger historiographic project dedicated to the investigation of theoretical approaches to the explanation of phonological change (part of which is scheduled to appear in the Oxford Handbook of Historical Phonology, edited by Patrick Honeybone and Joseph Salmons). Modern linguistics has its birth primarily in the work of the Neogrammarians, a loose collection of scholars based primarily in Leipzig at the end of the nineteenth century. From a modern perspective, the Neogrammarians are usually portrayed primarily as historical linguists whose main focus was on sound change. Somewhat ironically, however, the Neogrammarians never developed a coherent theory of how and why languages change over time. Their difficulties in this area are particularly evident in the work of Hermann Paul who codified Neogrammarian thought in his Prinzipien der Sprachgeschichte (2nd edition, Freiburg, 1886). As it turns out, however, the Neogrammarians are not alone as it is fair to say that the subsequent 120 years of structuralist and generative approaches have also failed to produce coherent theories language change. By contrast, recent exemplar-theoretic models of language—built on a set of premises constituting a major departure from structuralist/generative thought—appear to hold more promise. The FRIAS project explores aspects of the early stages of this story, including Paul’s notion of a “mental grammar” and the impact that contemporary Hugo Schuchardt had on Paul’s thought. Interestingly, although exemplar theorists often cite Schuchardt’s insights as an early impetus toward exemplar theory and Paul is normally cast as the structuralist/generative predecessor, Paul’s incipient conception of the mental grammar is entirely compatible with recent exemplar models.