Beatrix Busse teaches English (historical) linguistics and the history of English. She studied English and History at Osnabrück (Germany) and Keele (UK) and received her first degree (“Erstes Staatsexamen”) from Osnabrück University. She was a visiting researcher in Birmingham (UK), Stratford (UK), and Lancaster (UK) and received a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in 2001. In 2007, she was awarded a Visiting Fellowship of the British Academy. For more than seven years, she was a “wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin” at the English Department in Münster (Germany), and also taught courses in English (historical) linguistics at the universities of Osnabrück, Mainz and Hannover in Germany. From October 2008 to December 2010 she was associate professor of English historical linguistics at English department of the University of Berne in Switzerland, where she also received her Habilitation in October 2010. Since January 2011 she has been Chair of English linguistics at the English
department of the University of Heidelberg.
Beatrix Busse’s scholarly interests include the history of English, (historical) pragmatics and sociolinguistics, Shakespeare studies, stylistics, (historical) textlinguistics, systemic functional grammar, narratology, corpus linguistics, cognitive linguistics, ecolinguistics as well as e-learning and e-teaching. Her doctoral dissertation is an investigation of Vocative Constructions in the Language of Shakespeare (published by John Benjamins in 2006). Her Habilitation is on speech, writing and thought presentation in 19th-century English narrative fiction. Among her current research projects are the investigation of stance adverbials in the history of English and the linguistic analysis of urban space in Brooklyn, New York. She also investigates discourse presentation in the history of English.
Beatrix Busse is review editor of the International Journal of Corpus Linguistics. She is also member of the committee of the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA) and on the editorial board of the Continuum series Advances in Stylistics. She is a member of the following associations: Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA), International Computer Archive of Modern and Medieval English (ICAME); International Society for the Linguistics of English (ISLE), Deutscher Anglistenverband, International Association of Literary Semantics (IALS).
HISTORICAL ENGLISH LINGUISTICS
One focus of this chair is to explore the history of the structure and usage of the English language from Old English to Modern English. How did the use of English and its grammar change over time? Which features remained stable? What were the motivations for change, variation and stability? Has English always been a global language? How did other languages as well as social, political, cultural or historical circumstances influence its development?
Recent developments in English historical linguistics reflect a variety of approaches as well as show an influence of modern English linguistic theories (from the dominant field of corpus linguistics to cognitive linguistics) and a focus on the exploration of past usage in the fields of historical sociolinguistics and historical pragmatics. For example, the investigation of the history of speech acts, discourse markers, vocatives or code-switching are prominent research fields, and scholars have become very interested in analysing the relation and interdependence between structure, form and usage. Concepts of, for example, grammaticalisation and pragmatisation are discussed or re-considered.
However, there are challenges concerning method and data, because as analysts of the past we can only reconstruct it. This means, as English historical linguists, we have to work as historians, philologists, sociologists, or linguists – in other words, the motto will be being interdisciplinary in order to cater for the diversity of texts, contexts and approaches.