Linguistics and English Language

Prof Roger Lass

Photograph of Prof Roger Lass
Honorary Professorial Fellow
0131 650 4020
2.14 (DSB)
Research Interests
History of the English language, historical linguistics, etymology, psychology, philosophy of linguiistics

I received my PhD from Yale University in 1965 in Medieval English Language and Literature. I subsequently taught at Indiana University (1964-71) and the University of Edinburgh - both English Language and Linguistics (1972-82). From 1983 until my retirement in 2002 I was Professor of Linguistics at the University of Cape Town.

I have published extensively in my various fields of interest. Among the works I am most pleased with are: On Explaining Language Change (CUP, 1980), Historical Linguistics and Language Change (CUP, 1997) and my contributions to volumes 2 and 3 of The Cambridge History of the English Language (CUP, 1992 and 1999).

My collaboration (since 2002) with Meg Laing has led to numerous jointly written papers, of which I am also proud. I recently completed a book about bipolar disorder, including my own struggles with this condition: The Clouding Counties, Depression,  Mind and Medicine (see URL above).

At present I am Principal Investigator of an AHRC-funded project, being undertaken in collaboration with Meg Laing, Keith Williamson and Rhona Alcorn, a Corpus of Narrative Etymologies from primitive Old English to early Middle English.