Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

CV & Research Fields


I studied English (major) and German (minor) at the Department of English and American Studies of Humboldt University Berlin (HU). As the highest-ranking student of my year at the end of the basic studies period, I was chosen to take an active role in the development and publication of an English language practice textbook for university students of English, writing reports on the progression of the level of complexity and difficulty in the consecutive grammatical exercises.

In addition to my studies at HU, I was also educated, for shorter periods of time, at Goldsmiths' College and the Department of Phonetics of University College London (both University of London), attending lectures/seminars by, e.g., Professor J.D. O'Connor and Professor John Wells and courses by Jack Windsor Lewis.


For my M.A. thesis at HU investigating the problem of genuine vs. synthetic compounds in English (1979), I was awarded the Mildred Harnack-Fish Prize (Faculty Prize). I then joined the academic staff of the English Department of HU, where I obtained a Ph.D. (Dr. phil.) in English Language (Linguistics) in 1985. My dissertation was based on a study of structural synonymy in English word-formation, using the abstract concept of word-formation meaning, and took a comparative view of the German word-formation system. Both dissertations were supervised by Professor Klaus Hansen and embedded in a large English-German contrastive linguistics project.

With word-formation being an essential element of my research and teaching at HU all the time, I lcontributed a longer chapter on morphological restrictions on English word-formation (2015) to the comprehensive publication Word-Formation: An International Handbook of the Languages of Europe.


For most of my time at the Department, as a Lecturer, later Senior Lecturer/Reader, I taught seminars on English phonetics/phonology, English grammar (syntax and the verb, noun, adjective systems), English lexicology (word-formation, lexical semantics, phraseology) and terminology/LSP. I also led advanced seminars on English prosody.


I then entered the field of the study of varieties of English and, later, English historical linguistics, giving lectures and seminars as well as publishing in both subdisciplines. For more than twenty years now, I have been doing research on L2 varieties of English in West Africa in particular as well as in South Asia. In this context, I initiated and participated in a third-party-funded research project on English in West Africa, with field study in West African countries and the inclusion of advanced students in my research seminars.


I supervised many M.A. theses, mostly in the following fields: linguistic problems of terminologies, contrasting English and German; dialects of English; English in Africa; English-related pidgins and creoles.


I am one of the two main editors of a dictionary of Indian English originally compiled by the late Uwe Carls. This dictionary is the most comprehensive and the most up-to-date of its kind (cf. the reviews by Lambert in World Englishes, 2019, and by Lange in Anglia, 2019).

I am also one of the compilers of a dictionary of West African English (ongoing project).


I am retired now, however, still doing research.