This course will explore and compare the status, function and features of English in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. We will look at the historical development, current functions and uses as well as linguistic features of different varieties of English spoken in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The analysis of these issues will be connected to the discussion of theoretical concepts from areas such as language contact, multilingualism, and language policy. We will also identify and compare the main linguistic characteristics of these varieties with the help of available literature, linguistic corpora, authentic texts, recordings and audiovisual material.

Communication between cultures, i.e. communication between people with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, has become an everyday occurrence in an increasingly globalized world. Such communication takes place in a variety of different settings, including face-to-face interaction as well as mediated communication. In this course, we will look at key issues in intercultural communication, identify problems that can arise when communicating between cultures, and discuss explanations as well as possible solutions.

Variational linguistics is one of the most vibrant areas of contemporary linguistic research. Based on key texts from this subfield of linguistics, the course will explore the history and development of variational linguistics and provide an insight into the most important theories and methods.

Sociolinguistics is the study of the relationship between society and language. Sociolinguists try not only to describe the different ways in which people talk but also to explain why they do so. Traditionally, sociolinguistics looks at both regional and social differentiations of language use. In this course, however, we will focus on social dialects and investigate the influence of different social factors, such as age, gender and ethnicity on the use and structure of language. Besides looking at classical studies of sociolinguistics, we will also delve into more recently developed topics of interest in the field, like linguistic landscapes, verbal hygiene and youth as well as online speech communities.

Word-formation is one of the main components of morphology, a core area of linguistics. In this seminar we will investigate how speakers of English can create new words. We will discuss important concepts of word-formation, survey the major processes of word-formation in English and link them to current morphological theory.