"Englishes in a Multilingual World: New Dynamics of Variation, Contact and Change"

ISLE (Post-)Doctoral Spring School - 2013


  • Prof. Jan Blommaert (University of Tilburg)
  • Prof. Paul Kerswill (University of York)
  • Dr. Lisa Lim (The University of Hong Kong)
  • Prof. Raj Mesthrie (University of Cape Town)
  • and others


University of Freiburg, 15 - 19 April 2013


English Department, FRIAS (Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies) & HPCL (Hermann Paul Centre for Linguistics)

Aim and scope of the school: from "English as a World Language" to the "Sociolinguistics of Globalization"

For the first 30 years after its establishment as a new sub-field of English linguistics, the study of "English as a World Language" (EWL) was largely conceived of as a monolingual enterprise, with the top research priority being to come to terms with the linguistic and sociolinguistic legacy of colonialism. The focus was on the structural description of the "New Englishes" through identifying their phonetic, morphosyntactic and lexical features and on the discourse-pragmatic and sociolinguistic analysis of their use in monolingual interaction. Less attention was paid to Englishes in multilingual settings, the role of English in a multilingual global language ecology, and to non-traditional avenues for the spread of standard and vernacular varieties of English, such as the global entertainment industry or recent waves of migration and refugeeism related to globalization rather than colonialism. With the recent emergence of the research paradigm of the "sociolinguistics of globalization" (Blommaert 2010, Coupland, ed. 2010), it is now possible to extend the scope of EWL studies to include precisely these phenomena both in empirical description and in new theoretical models.

In sponsoring the (post-)doctoral spring school, the International Society for the Linguistics of English (ISLE) aims to provide a forum for doctoral students and early career researchers to familiarize themselves with cutting-edge developments in the field and to strengthen their international networks of cooperation. Participants are expected to present their own research projects and develop them further through constructively critical dialogue with each other and with a faculty comprising leaders in the field.

Teaching faculty

Key figures in the sociolinguistics of globalization (Jan Blommaert), sociolinguistics (Paul Kerswill) and World Englishes research (Lisa Lim, Raj Mesthrie) have already confirmed their participation. The teaching faculty will further include prominent representatives from Cultural Studies and social anthropology to ensure a broad interdisciplinary coverage of the role of English (and other languages) in processes of cultural globalization. Special "methods" sections will be devoted to digital language resources and issues of quantitative and qualitative methodology (including data visualization).


Registrations are invited from doctoral students and early-career researchers working in the fields of World Englishes and language and globalization. A total of forty places will be awarded on a competitive basis.

Application/expression of interest

Applicants are invited to submit (e-mail or hard copy):

(a) a brief (one page) CV and, where applicable, a list of publications

(b) an abstract (of no more than 2 pages) detailing the ongoing research project to be presented at the school.

Applications should be submitted to:

  • Prof. Christian Mair (Chair of English Linguistics)
  • Englisches Seminar, Universität Freiburg, Postfach, D 79085 Freiburg i. Br., GERMANY
  • E-mail: christian(dot)mair(at)anglistik(dot)uni-freiburg(dot)de

The deadline for submissions is 31 October 2012. Successful applicants must register by 31 December 2012.


Registration fee: 80 €

Tuition: free (for ISLE members), 300 € for non-members

Costs for board and lodging will range from around 300 € (room share & budget option) to 500 € (hotel-type accommodation). Participants are expected to make their own travel arrangements.

Financial Support

ISLE has made available a number of substantial travel bursaries, chiefly intended to help academically qualified participants who are not in regular employment or from countries with non-convertible currencies. Further bursaries are currently being negotiated with a number of charitable foundations. Please approach the organizer for modalities of applying.

Further information

For further information and regular updates refer to the ISLE homepage at http://www.isle-linguistics.org/. Please address inquiries to Prof. Christian Mair: christian(dot)mair(at)anglistik(dot)uni-freiburg(dot)de.