Prof. Anita Auer is a historical linguist with a keen interest in interdisciplinary research, particularly the correlation between language variation and change and socio-economic history, as well as textual history. To date, she has carried out research in several related fields, notably philology (Old English, Middle English and Modern English), corpus compilation and corpus linguistics, stylistics, dialectology, (socio-)historical linguistics, the interface between manuscript and print, and language standardisation.
Anita Auer was educated at the University of Vienna (Austria) and the University of Manchester (UK). While a postgraduate student at Manchester, she initiated the GerManC Project – A Representative Historical Corpus of German 1650-1800, which was financially supported by the ESRC and the AHRC. Following the completion of her PhD in the field of English and German historical linguistics in 2005, Anita Auer took up a position as postdoctoral researcher and junior lecturer at the University of Leiden (NL). In 2008, she joined the Department of English at Utrecht University (NL) where she taught medieval literature and culture as well as historical linguistics. While working at Utrecht, Anita Auer was awarded an Aspasia Grant by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and an Utrecht University Board appreciation award. This allowed her to set up the project Emerging Standards: Urbanisation and the Development of Standard English, c.1400-1700. She also collaborates with Tony Fairman (Independent Scholar), Moragh Gordon (Utrecht University/Leiden University) and Mikko Laitinen (University of Eastern Finland) on the corpus project Letters of Artisans and the Labouring Poor (England, c. 1750–1835). In February 2014, Anita Auer has taken up her current position as Professor in English Linguistics at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland). In 2019, she was awarded a Swiss National Science Foundation grant for the 4-year project The Language of the Labouring Poor in Late Modern England (2020-2024). She is a member of the editorial team of the Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics, published by De Gruyter Mouton.
Anita Auer’s book The Subjunctive in the Age of Prescriptivism: English and German Developments in the Eighteenth Century, based on her PhD thesis, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2009. The monograph Writing across the Social Spectrum. Letter Writing Practices in Nineteenth-century Northern England, to be published by Mouton de Gruyter (Series Language and Social Life), is near completion. Anita Auer has co-edited several volumes with international colleagues, e.g. Letter Writing and Language Change (Cambridge University Press, 2015) with Daniel Schreier (University of Zurich) and Richard J. Watts (University of Bern); Linguistics and Literary History (John Benjamins, 2016) with Victorina González-Díaz (University of Liverpool), Jane Hodson (University of Sheffield) and Violeta Sotirova (University of Nottingham); Le palimpseste gotique de Bologne. Études philologiques et linguistiques. / The Gothic Palimpsest from Bologna. Philological and Linguistic Studies (Cahier de l’ILSL, n° 50. Lausanne) with Michiel de Vaan (Université de Lausanne); Exploring Future Paths for Historical Sociolinguistics (John Benjamins, 2017) with Tanja Säily (University of Helsinki), Arja Nurmi (University of Tampere) and Minna Palander-Collin (University of Helsinki); and Revisiting the Medieval North of England: Interdisciplinary Approaches (University of Wales Press, 2019) with Denis Renevey (Université de Lausanne), Camille Marshall (Université de Lausanne) and Tino Oudesluijs (University of Manchester). She has also co-edited two volumes of Linguistics in the Netherlands, published by John Benjamins, LiN volume 30 with Suzanne Aalberse (2013) and LiN volume 31 with Björn Köhnlein (2014).