Linguistics is widely defined as the scientific study of language. But what does it mean to study a language? Human languages are complex, consisting of a multitude of interrelated layers basically matching those areas of knowledge any speaker or learner of a language has to acquire: pronouncing speech sounds, building words, adding grammatical endings, combining words to larger units, understanding both the literal meaning of words and larger units and how a given situation may influence the meaning and the use of language.
These areas of knowledge are the focus of the core disciplines of linguistics: phonetics & phonology, word-formation & morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. In-depth familiarity with these major subfields of linguistics provides the starting point for venturing into one of the many specialized branches or sub-disciplines of linguistics, like corpus linguistics, computational linguistics, sociolinguistics, language acquisition, language variation and change, historical linguistics, dialectology, language contact, or lexicography, to name but a few. (For a comprehensive survey cf. The Linguist List website.)
The team of English Linguistics here at Regensburg University consists of a dynamic group of scholars whose research focuses on language variation and varieties of English (see our Research Center for World Englishes) and whose contacts and publications are international in orientation and global in outreach.
The research forcus of Prof. Dr. Thorsten Brato, the acting chair of English Linguistics, is on synchronic and diachronic aspects of Englishes in Africa and on sociophonetics.
In our teaching we are committed to highest standards of education, including both a broad coverage of the fundamentals of the discipline and an emphasis on our “profile” areas, and to the creation of a collaborative climate.