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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Johanna Gerwin, PhD


DFG Postdoctoral Researcher



I am a postdoctoral research fellow funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)/German Research Foundation. In my research project 'The Enregisterment of London English', I am looking at the social and cultural construction of ways of speaking associated with London. I am interested in how speakers reflect on different London ways of speaking, also called 'registers' in Enregisterment theory: which register labels ('Cockney', 'MLE', 'Essex', 'slang' etc.) they use, which linguistic features or shibboleths they associate with these ways of speaking, and which (stereo-)typical speaker personae they associate with these linguistic repertoires. In order to analyse these processes, I am looking at different types of metadiscourse about London Englishes, such as newspaper discourse, and representations of London registers in other media and (pop-)cultural products. But I am particularly interested in the metadiscursive knowledge and reflexivity of London speakers themselves, as well as their linguistic self-positioning within these ways of speaking. More info on my sociolinguistic fieldwork can be found on the project homepage:  

I received my doctoral degree from the University of Kiel, Germany in 2013. My thesis 'Ditransitives in British English dialects' was supervised by Prof. Lieselotte Anderwald, University of Kiel, and Prof. Bernd Kortmann, University of Freiburg, and published by DeGruyter in 2014. I completed my M.A. degree at the University of Freiburg.

Since 2008, I have been a researcher and lecturer of English linguistics at the University of Kiel (most recently for chair Prof. Matthias Meyer). I have taught a variety of courses on Sociolinguistics, English accent and dialect variation, Enregisterment, and Language in cultural performances at B.A. and M.A. level, thus linking my research to my teaching. I hold teaching qualifications for higher education from the University of Kiel and the University of Hamburg. Since 2017, I have also been a gender equality officer at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Kiel University.


Research Interests:

  • London Englishes
  • Enregisterment theory
  • Indexicality/social meanings in language
  • Interfaces between linguistics & (pop) culture
  • Metadiscourses on non-standard varieties
  • Sociolinguistics
  • (Perceptual) Dialectology
  • Grammatical variation (doctoral thesis)


Gerwin, J., and Röthlisberger, M. (to appear). "Dialectal ditransitive patterns in British English: Weighing sociolinguistic factors against language-internal constraints." In M. Röthlisberger, E. Zehentner, & T. Colleman (eds.), Ditransitive Constructions in Germanic Languages: Diachronic and Synchronic Aspects (Series: Studies in Germanic Linguistics). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Gerwin, J. (2017). “Die Beatles, Arctic Monkeys und Lily Allen – Dialekte und Identität in britischer (Indie-)Popmusik“, In: L. Anderwald, and J. Hoekstra (Hrsg.), Enregisterment - Zur symbolischen Bedeutung sprachlicher Variation. (Kieler Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft 8). Frankfurt etc.: Peter Lang. 47-65.

Gerwin, J. (2014). Ditransitives in British English Dialects. Berlin: DeGruyter.

Gerwin, J. (2013). "'Give it me!': pronominal ditransitives in English dialects". English Language and Linguistics, 17(3), 445-464.


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