Logo der Universität Wien
You are here:>University of Vienna >Faculty of Philological and Cultural Studies>Department of English

Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Nikolaus Ritt

Research Interests

  • English linguistics
    History of English
    Phonology, Morphology, Morphonology,
    Middle English, Early Modern English

  • Linguistic theory
    Language as a historical system
    Language and identity
    Language transmission and evolution
    Memetics
    Complex adaptive systems and generalized Darwinism
    Connectionist competence modeling
    Language and cognition
    Evolutionary epistemology
    Constructivism

Selected Publications

Books and Monographs

(a) Authored

  • 2004. Selfish sounds. A Darwinian approach to language change. Cambridge: University Press.
  • 1994. Quantity adjustment: vowel lengthening and shortening in Early Middle English. Cambridge: University Press.

(b) Co-edited

  • 2006. Medieval English and its heritage: structure, meaning and mechanisms of change. Frankfurt: Lang (together with C. Dalton-Puffer, D. Kastovsky and H. Schendl)
  • 2005. Rethinking Middle English: linguistic and literary approaches. Frankfurt: Lang (together with H. Schendl)
  • 2000. Words: Structure, meaning, function. Berlin: Mouton (together with C. Dalton-Puffer)
  • Historical Linguistics in the modern philologies. (=Vienna English Working Papers 19/4). (together with Theresa Illès, Kamil Kazmierski, Ursula Lutzky and Lotte Sommerer)

(c) Edited Journals

  • Folia Linguistica Historica 32/2010, 33/2011, 34/2012

Articles

    • forthc. Ritt, N. & K. Kazmierski. "How rarities like gold have come to exist: on co-evolutionary interactions between morphology and lexical phonotactics". English Language and Linguistics.
    • forthc. "Linguistic pragmatics from an evolutionary perspective". In: Barron, A., Grundy, P. and Yueguo G. (eds.). Routledge Handbook of Pragmatics. London: Routledge.
    • 2014. Smith, K., Fehér, O., & Ritt, N. "Eliminating unpredictable linguistic variation through interaction". In: Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
    • 2012. "Distinguishing native and non-native languages on historical grounds". In: Agnihotri, Rama Kan and Rajendra Singh (eds.) Indian English: towards a new paradigm. London: Palgrave.
    • 2012. "How to weaken one’s consonants, strengthen one’s vowels and remain English at the same time". In: Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo, Denison, David, McCully, Christopher and Emma Moore (eds. ). 2012. Analysing Older English. Cambridge: University Press.
    • 2012. "Evolutionary theories of language: theories and methods". In: Kortmann, Bernd and Johannes Kabatek (eds. ). Linguistic theory and methodology. (WSK-Dictionaries of Language and Communication Science). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    • 2012. "Middle English: Phonology". In: Bergs, Alexander and Laurel Brinton (eds.). Historical linguistics of English: An international handbook (Handbooks of Linguistics and Communication Science). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    • 2012. "Middle English phonology in the digital age: what written corpora can tell us about sound change". In: Nevallainen, Terttu and Elizabeth C. Traugott (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of the History of English. Oxford: University Press.
    • 2012. "Transferring mathematics to English Studies". In: Markus, Manfred and Herbert Schendl (eds.). Transfer in English Studies. Wien Braumüller. (with Andreas Baumann)
    • 2011. "Memes and Language”. In Hogan. Patrick (ed.). Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language Sciences. Cambridge: University Press. s.v.
    • 2011. "Neutrality, drift, and the diversification of languages". Journal of Theoretical Biology. 287: 1-12.(with Christina Pawlowitsch and Panayotis Mertikopoulos)
    • 2010. "MiddleEnglish (mor-)phonotactics: system, usage, change". In: SELIM: Journal of the Spanish Society of Medieval English Language and Literature. 17: 42-68.
    • 2008. "Review of: Brinton Laurel J. and Elizabeth Closs Traugott: Lexicalisation and Language Change". Studies in Language. 32. 228-36.
    • 2007. "Meaning in a material world or How to find out what linguists think about meaning". In: Fabiszak, Małgorzata (ed.). Language and Meaning. Frankfurt/Main: Lang, 235-269.
    • 2007. "It seemed like a good idea at the time: why there may not have been any early Modern English shortening before dentals after all". In: Smit, U. et al. (eds.) Tracing English through time. Explorations in language variation. Vienna: Braumüller. 2007. 315-331.
      2002. "Of vowel shifts, great, small, long and short". Language Sciences. 24. 409-421. (together with H. Schendl)
    • 2001. "The spread of Scandinavian 3rd Psn. Pl. pronouns in English: optimization, adaptation, and evolutionary stability". In: Kastovsky, Dieter und Arthur Mettinger. (eds.): Languages and Contact in the History of English. Frankfurt/Main: Lang. 279-304.
    • 2001. "Are optimality theoretical 'constraints' the same as natural linguistic 'preferences'?". In: Dziubalska-Kolaczyk, Katarzyna (ed.): Constraints and preferences. Berlin/New York: Mouton. 291-311.
    • 2000. "Introduction" to the phonological section in: Taavitsainen, Irma, Nevalainen, Terttu, Pahta, Päivi and Matti Rissanen (eds.): Placing Middle English in context. Berlin: Mouton.
    • 2000. "Theory, 'empiry', and textual witnesses: acutes in the 'Lindisfarne Gospel' and Early English vowel quantity". Sprachwissenschaft. 25. 497-512.
    • 1999. The prosodic evolution of English word forms or The Great Trochaic Conspiracy. Vienna English Working PaperS. 8. 85-107.
    • 1998. "' ... but they, to make me grieve, parts steal, let parts abide, ...'.Reflections on a poetic translation exercise". Vienna English Working PaperS. 7. 22-39.
    • 1997. "Now you see it, now you don't: Middle English Lengthening in closed syllables". Studia Anglica Poznaniensa. 31. 259-270.
    • 1997. "Early Modern English vowel shortening before dentals: a morphologically conditioned sound change?" In: Hickey, Raymond and Stanislaw Puppel (eds.): Language History and Linguistic Modelling. Berlin: Mouton. 65-71.
    • 1997. "Mutation, variation and selection in phonological evolution: a sketch based on the case of Late Middle English a > au /__l{C|#}". In: Fisiak, Jacek (ed.): Studies in Middle English Linguistics. Berlin: Mouton. 531-550.
    • 1997. Comments on Gabriella Mazzon: The study of language varieties in diachrony and synchrony, or: on methodological cross fertilisation. In: Fischer, Olga and Nikolaus Ritt (eds.) Papers and Comments presented at the workshop "Applying Historical Linguistics" at ESSE/4, Debrecen, Hungary
    • 1996. "On reading Dressler's Natural Textlinguistics". Studien zur Universalienforschung. 49. 318-321.
    • 1996. "Darwinising historical linguistics: applications of a dangerous idea". Vienna English Working PaperS. 5/1&2: 27-47.
    • 1995. "Language change as evolution: looking for linguistic genes". Vienna English Working PaperS . 4/1: 43-57.

    CV

    • 1978-1985: Student of English and German Philology at the University of Vienna
    • January 1985: Graduation to Magister Philosophiae (Mag. Phil.)
    • March 1985 Promotion to University Assistant (English Department, Vienna University)
    • 1985/86: Teacher Training at a Viennese Grammar School
    • 1987/88: Foreign Language Lecturer (German), Durham University
    • June1990: Graduation to Doctor Philosophiae (Dr. Phil.)
    • 1991 Community Service at a Neurological Clinic in Gugging, Lower Austria
    • 1992 (Summer term) Visiting Professor, Eötvös Lorand University, Budapest
    • April 1994 Promotion to Assistant Professor
    • 1994-2000 Work on Habilitation Thesis on an evolutionary framework for the study of linguistic history
    • 2001 Venia Docendi for English Linguistics, Promotion to Associate Professor
    • Nov 2001-Jan 2002 Visiting Professor, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan
    • Oct 2002-Jan 2005 Head of the English Department of Vienna University
    • Oct-Nov 2006 Visiting Professor, University of Santiago de Compostela
    • Jan 2007 Visiting Fellow, University of Edinburgh
    • October 2004-2008 Vice-Dean of the Faculty for Philological and Cultural Studies
    • February 2009 Professor for English Historical Linguistics, University of Vienna

    CONTACT:

    Room: 3E-O2-17
    T: +43 1  4277-424-24

    nikolaus.ritt@univie.ac.at

    Office hours 2017S:

    TUE 15:00

    Summer office hours:

    August 29th 15:00

     

     urgent cases also by appointment (please contact Michaela Pasterk to arrange a timeslot)

     

    Students who want to look at their graded History of English exams, please simply come to an office hour. There is no need to announce yourself in advance.

     

     

     

    Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik /
    Department of English
    Universität Wien
    Campus d. Universität Wien
    Spitalgasse 2-4/Hof 8.3
    1090 Wien
    Austria

    T: +43-1-4277-424 01
    F: +43-1-4277-9424
    University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0