Prof. Dr. Isabelle Buchstaller


Frau Prof. Buchstaller ist ab Oktober 2017 an der Universität Duisburg-Essen tätig. (Kontakt)

Professor for varieties of English

I am a variationist sociolinguist. My main areas of expertise are language variation and change, corpus linguistics and models and methods for collecting and analysing linguistic data. I am particularly interested in dialectal morpho-syntactic and discourse phenomena. I have worked on a range of varieties of English, most notably on Hawaiian Creole, Tyneside English, Californian English and most recently on the variety of English spoken in the Marshall Islands. I am interested in global trends and contact-induced changes in the English language, which invariably brings up typological questions as regards the underlying causes of linguistic variability and change.


  • 1996 Zwischenprüfung / B.A.: Universität Erlangen
  • 1999 Staatsexamen and Magister Artium: Universität Konstanz
  • 2004 PhD: University of Edinburgh

Previous Positions

  • 2004/5 visiting assistant professor: Stanford University
  • 2006-2011 lecturer in sociolinguistics, Newcastle University

Current Work

Language Variation and Change

I am interested in reported speech/thought and in intensification, two areas of the linguistic system that have been the locus of fast and far-reaching changes. I have done research on California youth trends, on globalization phenomena and on attitudes to rapid language change phenomena. Together with my colleague Ingrid van Alphen (University of Amsterdam) I have edited a volume that draws together interdisciplinary research on reported speech: Quotatives: Cross-linguistic and cross-disciplinary perspectives (John Benjamins). I have also written a monograph on quotation entitled Quotatives: New Trends and Sociolinguistic Implications (Wiley-Blackwell).

I am the holder of a 4-year Marie Curie CIG grant, which investigates “Diagnostics of linguistic change: Mapping language change in real and apparent time”.

From May 27th to 29th 2015 Leipzig University hosted ICLAVE8. Check out our webpage here:


Together with my colleagues Karen Corrigan and Anders Holmberg, I have developed and tested methodologies to trace (morpho-)syntactic and discourse variability across social and geographical space. I have also written on the use of up-to-date geographical models in linguistic analysis (with Seraphim Alvanides). In collaboration with colleagues at Newcastle University and Edinburgh University I have investigated the patterning of a number of morpho-syntacic and phonological phenomena in the English-Scottish Borderland. Karen Corrigan, Hermann Moisl, Adam Mearns and myself have collated a large corpus of recordings and transcriptions of Tyneside English speech, the Diachronic Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English (, which spans recordings from informants born between 1895 and 1993.

Language contact

At the beginning of my academic career, I analysed the way speakers encode causality, concessivity and conditionality in Hawaiian Creole. I continue to be interested in the outcome of language contact, both on a local and on a global scale. Together with colleagues at Stanford (John Rickford, Elizabeth Closs Traugott, Tom Wasow and Arnold Zwicky) and with Alexandra D’Arcy (University of Victoria) I have investigated the global repercussions of the fast spreading innovative quotatives and intensifiers. I have edited a volume (with Anders Holmberg and Mohammad Al-Moaily) on non-Indo European and non-West African Pidgin and Creole languages: Pidgins and Creoles beyond Africa - Europe encounters (Benjamins). With Julia Davydova, I examined the use of new English trends by speakers of German.

My most recent project investigates the varieties which result from contact between speakers of Marshallese and English in the Marshall Islands. This project is funded by the DFG and I am collaborating with Irene Taafaki (USP, Majuro), Nik Willson (CMI, Majuro) and Robert Early (USP, Vanuatu). Check out my blog here:


Together with Suzanne Evans Wagner I am the editor of the new series Routledge Studies in Language Change.

Monographs and edited books

  • To appear, 2017. Panel Studies in Language Variation and Change, edited volume (with Suzanne Evans Wagner), Routledge.
  • To appear, 2017. Language Variation: European Perspectives V, edited volume (with Beat Siebenhaar), Benjamins.
  • 2014. Pidgins and Creoles beyond Africa-Europe Encounters. John Benjamins, Amsterdam (with Anders Holmberg and Mohammad Almoaily).
  • 2014. Quotatives: New Trends and Sociolinguistic Implications. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • 2012. Quotatives: Cross-linguistic and Cross-disciplinary Perspectives, edited volume, Benjamins Series ‘Converging Evidence in Language and Communication Research’ (with Ingrid van Alphen).
  • 2011. The Talk of the Toon, CD and booklet, Newcastle University. Belfast: Whitenoise Studios (with Karen Corrigan, Adam Mearns and Herman Moisl).

Articles in Journals and edited books (including accepted/under contract)

  • in prep. “Language change across the life-span: Evidence from post-university adjustment to the linguistic marketplace”.
  • in prep. “Longitudinal life-span change in the realisation of (t) across 42 years”.
  • in prep. “Bold changes in a small island state: Educational reform in the Republic of the Marshall Islands”. To be submitted to English Today (with Irene Taafaki and Robert Early.
  • To appear. “Sociolinguistic variation on Tyneside”. In Sandra Jansen and Natalie Braber (eds.), Sociolinguistics in England. Palgrave (with Adam Mearns).
  • To appear. “Investigating the bilingual landscape of the Marshall Islands”. In Martin Pütz and Neele Mundt (eds.), Linguistic Landscapes and Superdiversity. Lang, Frankfurt.
  • To appear. “Marshallese English”. In David Britain et al. (eds.), Micronesian Englishes. Mouton de Gruyter.
  • To appear, 2017. “Marshallese English: A first sketch”. World Englishes (with Nik Willson).
  • To appear, 2017. “Linguistic landscapes and the ideology of language choice: The case of the Marshall Islands”. Journal of Linguistic Geography (with Seraphim Alvanides).
  • To appear, 2017. “Panel research: Focusing on the life-span”. In Suzanne Evans Wagner and Isabelle Buchstaller (eds.), Panel Studies in Language Variation and Change.  Routledge (with Suzanne Evans Wagner).
  • 2017. “Reported speech”. In Anne Barron, Peter Grundy and Gu Yueguo (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Pragmatics. Routledge, Oxford, 399-417.
  • 2017. “Levelling across the life-span? Tracing the FACE vowel in panel data from the North East of England”. Journal of Sociolinguistics 21(1): 3-33 (with Anne Krause, Anja Auer and Stefanie Otte).
  • 2016. “Going with the flow on Tyneside? Investigating morphosyntactic change in trend and panel data”. Journal of English Linguistics 44(2): 199-229
  • 2016. “The Talk of the Toon: A linguistic time capsule for the Google generation”. In Karen Corrigan, Adam Mearns and Hermann Moisl (eds.), Digitizing Corpora, Vol. 3, Palgrave, London (with Karen Corrigan, Adam Mearns and Hermann Moisl), 177-210.
  • 2016. “Investigating the effect of socio-cognitive salience and speaker-based factors in morpho-syntactic life-span change”. Journal of English Linguistics 44(2): 199-229
  • 2015. “Expanding the circle to Learner English: Investigating quotatives in a German student community“. American Speech 90: 471-478 (with Julia Davydova).
  • 2015. “Northern English morphosyntax”. In Raymond Hickey (ed.), Researching Northern English. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, 71-89 (with Karen Corrigan).
  • 2015 “Perception, cognition, and linguistic structure: The effect of linguistic modularity and cognitive style on sociolinguistic processing”. Language Variation and Change 27(3): 319-348 (with Erez Levon).
  • 2015. “Exploring linguistic malleability across the life-span: Age-specific patterns in quotative use”. Language in Society 44(4):457-496.
  • 2014. "Television and language use. What do we mean by influence and how do we detect it?" Invited commentary. In Janis Androutsopolous (ed.), Mediatization and Sociolinguistic Change. De Gruyter. 205-213.
  • 2014. “Non-Indo-European and Non-West African contact languages: An introduction”. In Isabelle Buchstaller, Anders Holmberg and Mohammad Almoaily (eds.), Pidgins and Creoles beyond Africa-Europe Encounters. John Benjamins, Amsterdam (with Anders Holmberg and Mohammad Almoaily).
  • 2014. “Sampling”. In Robert Podeswa and Devani Sharma (eds.), Research Methods in Linguistics. CUP (with Ghada Khattab).
  • 2013. “Investigating convergence in morpho-syntactic and phonological variability: A case study in 2 localities”. Journal of English Linguistics 17(1): 85-128 (with Karen Corrigan, Anders Holmberg, Patrick Honeybone, and Warren Maguire).
  • 2013. “Employing Geographical Principles for Sampling in State of the Art Dialectological Projects”. Journal of Linguistic Geography 2 (with Seraphim Alvanides).
  • 2012. “Introductory Remarks on New and Old Quotatives”. In Isabelle Buchstaller and Ingrid van Alphen (eds.), Quotatives: Cross-linguistic and Cross-disciplinary Perspectives. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, xii - xxx (with Ingrid van Alphen).
  • 2011. “Quotations across the generations: A multivariate analysis of speech and thought introducers across 5 generations of Tyneside speakers”. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory(Special issue on Corpus Linguistics and Sociolinguistics, Tylor Kendall und Gerard van Herck eds.), 59-92.
  • 2011. “‘Judge not lest ye be judged’: Exploring methods for the collection of socio-syntactic data”. In Frans Pedersen, Pia Quist and Jeffrey Parrot (eds.), Language Variation - European Perspectives III. John Benjamins, Amsterdam/Philadelphia, 149-160 (with Karen Corrigan).
  • 2011. “Making intuitions work: Testing instruments for measuring dialect syntax”. In Warren Maguire and April McMahon (eds.), Analysing Variation in English. Cambridge University Press, 30-48 (with Karen Corrigan).
  • 2010. “The Sociolinguistics of a short-lived innovation: Tracing the development of quotative allacross real and apparent time”. Language Variation and Change 22: 1-29 (with John Rickford, Elizabeth Traugott, Tom Wasow and Arnold Zwicky).
  • 2010. “Intensification on Tyneside: Longitudinal developments and new trends”. English World Wide31:252-287 (with Kate Barnfield).
  • 2009. “Localized globalization: A multi-local, multivariate investigation of quotative like”. Journal of Sociolinguistics 13(3): 291-332 (with Alexandra D’Arcy).
  • 2009. “The quantitative analysis of morphosyntactic variation: Constructing and quantifying the denominator”. The Linguistic Compass 3 (
  • 2008. “The localization of global linguistic variants”. English World Wide 29(1): 15-44.
  • 2007. “Intensive and Quotative ALL: Something old, something new”. American Speech 82(1): 3-31 (with John Rickford, Thomas Wasow, Arnold Zwicky and Elizabeth Traugott).
  • 2006. “‘The lady was all demonyak’: Historical aspects of adverbial all”. English Language and Linguistics 10(2): 345-370 (with Elizabeth Traugott).
  • 2006. “Social stereotypes, personality traits and regional perceptions displaced: Attitudes towards the ‘new’ quotatives in the UK”. Journal of Sociolinguistics 10(3): 362-381.
  • 2006. “Globalization and local reappropriation: The case of the new quotatives”. In Christa Dürenscheid und Jürgen Spitzmüller (eds.), Trends and Developments in Youth Language Research. Lang, Frankfurt, 315-334.
  • 2006. “Diagnostics of age graded linguistic behavior”. Journal of Sociolinguistics 10(1): 3-30.
  • 2005. “Putting perception to the reality test: The case of go and like”. University of Philadelphia Working Papers in Linguistics 10(2): 61-75.
  • 2004. “Newcomers to the pool of quotatives: Like and go”. In Pilar Garcés Conejos, Reyes Gómez Moron, Lucia Fernández Amaya und Manuel Padilla Cruz (eds.), Current Trends in Intercultural, Cognitive and Social Pragmatics. University of Sevilla Press, 219-240.
  • 2004. “Comparing perceptions and reality: Newcomers to the quotative pool”. Edinburgh Working Papers in Applied Linguistics 13:1-14.
  • 2003. “The co-occurrence of quotatives with mimetic performances”. Edinburgh Working Papers in Applied Linguistics 12:1-9.
  • 2001. “An alternative view of like: Its grammaticalization in conversational American English and beyond”. Edinburgh Working Papers in Applied Linguistics 11: 21-41.

Web-based publications

Data-base with dual interface targeting two groups of users:

  • Researchers in linguistics, sociology or oral history: The Diachronic Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English: Collection of interviews (transcripts and recordings) conducted in the Tyneside area between the 1960s and 2011, including detailed user-handbook.
  • Schools, museums and heritage groups: The Talk of the Toon, interactive website which integrates speech recordings from the 1960s to the 2000s with still and moving images.