Plenary speakers


Alexandra D’Arcy
(Photo by Tim Cleves)

Alexandra D’Arcy is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Sociolinguistics Research Lab at the University of Victoria, Canada. As a variationist sociolinguist, she combines principles of quantitative modeling with theoretical linguistics. Her work draws on diachronic and synchronic corpora to examine pathways of variation and change in morphosyntax and discourse-pragmatics. She is author of Discourse-Pragmatic Variation in Context (John Benjamins, to appear), which examines the history and development of like as a pragmatic feature. She has published on Canadian, British, Australian and New Zealand English dialects, and is a regular contributor to handbooks and edited volumes. Her current SSHRC-funded project, Only Time Will Tell, is a longitudinal panel study that examines the emergence and early stages of vernacular re-organization among children. This project aims to tap into the mechanisms driving language change in order to test the formative assumptions that shape current understandings of linguistic incrementation.

Plenary title: Variation, Change, and the Longue Durée​

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Donka Minkova

Donka Minkova is Distinguished Professor of English at UCLA. She has previously worked at the University of Sofia, and has held an Annual Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, the UC President’s Research Fellowship in the Humanities, A Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professorship, University of Bristol. She was a co-investigator on a 5-year UK Arts and Humanities Research Council Grant (2010-2015). She is an Honorary Member of the Angus McIntosh Centre for Historical Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh, and was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Sofia in 2016. Her research focuses on English historical phonology, meter, dialectology, and syntax. She has over a hundred publications, including The History of Final Vowels in English (1991), English Words: History and Structure (with Robert Stockwell) (2001, 2nd ed. 2009), Alliteration and Sound Change in Early English (2003), A Historical Phonology of English (2014). She is the editor of Phonological Weakness in English. From Old to Present-Day English (2009), and co-editor of Studies in the History of the English Language: A Millennial Perspective (2002), Chaucer and the Challenges of Medievalism (2003), and Empirical and Analytical Advances in the Study of English Language Change (2009). Her most recent research focuses on verse structure evidence for phonologization in earlier English and the interplay of phonology and morphology in final consonant elision and sandhi.

Plenary title: Last but not Least: Domain Edges in the History of English

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Edgar W. Schneider

Edgar W. Schneider is Professor and Chair of English Linguistics at the University of Regensburg, Germany, after previous appointments at universities in Bamberg (where he received his PhD in 1981), Athens, GA, and Berlin. He is a globally renowned scholar in the field of World Englishes, known especially for his “Dynamic Model” of the evolution of Postcolonial Englishes. His research has focused on varieties of English world-wide from an evolutionary and descriptive perspective, dialects of American English and the diachrony of African American English, dialect geography, sociolinguistics, the history of English, and semantics. His book publications include American Earlier Black English (1989, University of Alabama Press), Variabilität, Polysemie und Unschärfe der Wortbedeutung (2 vols., 1988), Introduction to Quantitative Analysis of Linguistic Survey Data (with W. Kretzschmar, 1996); Focus on the USA (ed., 1996), Englishes Around the World (2 vols., ed. 1997), Degrees of Restructuring in Creole Languages (co-edited, 2000), A Handbook of Varieties of English (2 vols, co-edited, 2004), Postcolonial English (2007), two books on Lesser-Known Varieties of English (co-edited, 2010 / 2015) and English Around the World (2011). For many years he was the editor of the scholarly journal English World-Wide and its associated book series, Varieties of English Around the World. He has published ca. 130 articles in leading journals (including Language), collective volumes, and international handbooks. He has lectured at many universities and conferences on all continents, including about 20 keynote and plenary talks. He has served as a reviewer and advisor for universities, publishers and other academic institutions in many countries, and held a variety of academic functions, including Dean of his faculty. Currently he is the President of the International Society for the Linguistics of English (ISLE). His current research investigates evolutionary processes and structural properties in earlier periods and in varieties of English, including World Englishes, as manifestations of principles of the scientific theory of Complex Dynamic Systems.

Plenary title: Meanderings from Early English to World Englishes: A Complex Systems Perspective on Morphosyntactic Changes in Wh-pronouns

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