Norm, Variation, Language Change

This research forum studies patterns of linguistic variation, linguistic change, and interactional behaviour in English, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. The processes of change and the nature of the observed variation are linked to the question of linguistic norms. How do new norms emerge, and what can this process tell us about language as an instrument of human communication?

We contribute internationally to debates on norm, variation and change within construction grammar, grammaticalisation theory, sociolinguistics, pragmatics, contrastive linguistics, perception theory and language policy.

Over the past 10 years, we have built a research group with a practice of regular meetings, events and research presentations. We have offered international and local seminars and conferences and a PhD-course with international guest teachers (Language in the new media). Junior scholars are an integrated part of our group and we wish to continue to be an attraction pole for young researchers around our key topics and focus areas.



The following questions are central to our group:

  • How are norms of language use developed and maintained in the communities of the studied languages, including through the (new) media?
  • How can corpora of spoken and written communication improve our understanding of norm, variation and change in these languages’ production or interactional patterns?
  • How can contrasts between usage patterns in the various languages and cultures help understand the potential in variation and structure in human language and the outcome of language contact?
  • How can the study of contrasts shed light on the difficulties these languages pose for Danish-speaking L2-learners (collab. with “Language in Education”)?





Current PhD projects

This research forum is open to PhD students and postdocs. In the past few years we have had the pleasure of receiving Wojciech Lewandowski (Marie Curie), Lene Rotne (PhD) and Katherine Kappa (PhD stud., CIP) as well as Kamilla Kraft (Postdoc, CIP) and Stephanie Löbl (French). Present PhD students attached to the forum are Anders Andersen (Italian), Annika Schimpff (German) and Aisara Yessenova, Yao Zhang, Johanne Kirkeby and Marianne Haugaard Skov (English).

PhD student Pernille Berg Johnsson from Uppsala University visited the forum six weeks in the Fall 2021. Her project deals with pronunciation challenges in French L2 learners with Danish and Swedish mother tongue.

Our forum collaborates with the student grouping “Engerom Linguistic Circle” in order to tie MA-students closely to research.




  • Pluridisciplinary project on Antibiotics in European Society – linguistics as a contributing field to understanding conversations between patients and doctors
  • Cognitive modelling and meaning construction across languages: theory, implications and applications (Cogmod) 
  • When Inclusion Masks Exclusion: Disempowerment and Depoliticization of Minority Issues through 'Harmonizing'
  • Transient Multilingual Communities and the Formation of Social and Linguistic Norms 



Whenever possible, we collaborate with

  • Other research groups at the department (Languages and Cultures in Education, Languages, Cultures, Workplaces (LCW), translation groupings)
  • Other departments at the faculty or beyond
  • External researchers (visiting scholars, scholars from other Danish universities)
  • External stakeholders (libraries, private or public sectors)








Workshops with peer training or other hands-on event (which make us benefit from the working tools used in the group by different members) will continuously be part of our programme.

Upcoming events include research presentations by junior or senior researchers or visiting scholars as well as the following workshops or conferences:

  • (Spring 2024). Strategic workshop or open event on teaching material including research results on language variation (joint with “Languages in Education”; intersection between didactic and linguistic research, inspired by ”the Language Lift”/”Sprogløftet”) (Lars Behnke, Jan Lindschouw, Johan Pedersen).
  • (Spring 2024). Thematic event on the use of demo-linguistics in research on language and identity/bilingual behaviour etc. (Spanish, French and German as heritage languages in Denmark) (Nieves Hernández-Flores, Annika Schimpff).
  • (Autumn 2024). International conference on online language / linguistic norms on the internet (Kim E. Jensen, Johanne Kirkeby, Aisara Yessenova, Marianne Haugaard Skov).
  • (Spring 2025). International conference on mood and modality in Romance languages (Erling Strudsholm, Anders Andersen, Kirsten Kragh).



Name Title Phone E-mail
Behnke, Lars Teaching Associate Professor   E-mail
Flanagan, Marian Associate Professor   E-mail
Hansen, Anita Berit Associate Professor +4535328450 E-mail
Hernández-Flores, Nieves Associate Professor +4535328441 E-mail
Jensen, Christian Associate Professor +4535330019 E-mail
Jensen, Kim Ebensgaard Associate Professor +4535333802 E-mail
Jespersen, Anna Bothe Teaching Associate Professor   E-mail
Kirkeby, Johanne PhD Fellow +4535323917 E-mail
Kraft, Kamilla Assistant Professor   E-mail
Kragh, Kirsten A. Jeppesen Head of Studies +4535328591 E-mail
Lindschouw, Jan Juhl Associate Professor +4535328432 E-mail
Lønsmann, Dorte Associate Professor - Promotion Programme +4535336633 E-mail
Mortensen, Janus Professor +4535334020 E-mail
Pedersen, Johan Associate Professor +4535328428 E-mail
Schimpff, Annika Milena PhD Fellow +4535326458 E-mail
Schmuck, Mirjam Associate Professor +4535332385 E-mail
Skov, Marianne Haugaard PhD Fellow +4535325469 E-mail
Strudsholm, Erling Associate Professor +4535328437 E-mail
Yessenova, Aisara PhD Fellow +4535325762 E-mail
Zhang, Yao PhD Fellow +4535322235 E-mail