North Sea language history

The aim of the defined research area North Sea Language History is to carry out research into the history of languages in the North Sea area, with focus on historical context, variation, change and contact.

The research area North Sea Language History combines three strong research directions at the University of Stavanger: Middle English studies, Nordic historical linguistics/place-name studies and the archeological study of ornamentation and runes. Researchers within the former two areas have taken part in an active programme area since 2008.

Our research aims to contribute to the understanding of the dynamics of linguistic variation and change in the North Sea area. The overall theoretical orientation of the programme is that of sociophilology: we take the view that all study of historical language must take as a starting point those real-life, physical manifestations of language that we can access directly, as well as their historical context.

The collaboration between the researchers within English, Nordic and archeology will both inform the research within these fields and lead to the development of cross-disciplinary initiatives, most importantly in the study of contact and multilingual communication across the North Sea.

Most participants in the group are high-profile international scholars who publish regularly in point-giving publications and whose work is well known within its field.