Professor Emeritus

Gunnel Melchers received her education at Stockholm University (earlier Stockholms Högskola), studying English, Comparative Literature, Scandinavian Languages, and Phonetics for her first degree. After living in the Netherlands for a couple of years and working as a schoolteacher on her return to Sweden, she continued her academic studies at this department, defending her PhD thesis Studies in Yorkshire Dialects, Based on Recordings of 13 Dialect Speakers in the West Riding in 1972. She was employed as a lecturer at Stockholm between 1967 and 1970, and rejoined the staff of this department in 1975, after teaching at Örebro, Luleå and Linköping. She received the title of Docent in 1980, was promoted to Associate Professor in 1997 and Professor in 1999. During a period in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s she was Director of Studies and Head of Department. In connection with her participation in a dialect project, she was made Honorary Fellow of the College of Ripon and York St.John. Nearly all her research has been devoted to regional and social variation, with special reference to the north of England and Scotland’s Northern Isles. In 1999 she was awarded the prize Language and Culture by Umeå University for her work on Shetland. She has published some 50 papers and articles, e.g. chapters on phonology, morphology and syntax for the recent Mouton Handbook of Varieties of English (2004), written the textbook World Englishes, 2004 (with Philip Shaw), and co-edited Nonstandard Varieties of English (1994; with Nils-Lennart Johannesson), Studies in Anglistics (1995; with Beatrice Warren), and Writing in Nonstandard English (2000; with Irma Taavitsainen and Päivi Pahta).

Selected publications (articles):

1979. A Sociolinguistic Study of Mrs. Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters, in Pettersson, T. (ed.) Papers from the Fifth Scandinavian Conference of Linguistics. Lund. 185-196.

1980. The Norn Element in Shetland Dialect Today – A Case of Never-Accepted Language Death, in Ejerhed, E. and I. Henrysson (eds.) Tvåspråkighet. Föredrag från tredje Nordiska Tvåspråkighetssymposiet 4-5 juni 1980. Acta Universitatis Umensis. Umeå Studies in the Humanities 36. 254-261.

1985. ’Knappin’, ‘Proper English’, ‘Modified Scottish’ – Some Language Attitudes in the Shetland Isles, in Görlach, M. (ed.) Focus On: Scotland. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

1992. ’Du’s no Heard da Last o’ dis’ – on the Use of BE as a Perfective Auxiliary in Shetland Dialect, in Rissanen, M., O. Ihalainen, T. Nevalainen and I. Taavitsainen (eds.) History of Englishes. Berlin: Mouton. 602-610.

1996. ’Now – will that do for you?’ – On the Value of the SED Recordings of Spontaneous Speech, in Klemola, J., M. Kytö och M. Rissanen (eds.) Speech Past and Present. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. 152-168.

1997. This/that/yon: on ‘three-dimensional deictic systems’, in Cheshire, J. and D. Stein (eds.) Taming the Vernacular. London: Longman. 83-92.

2005. Ingressive particles across borders: Gender and discourse parallels across the North Atlantic (co-authored with Sandra Clarke). Dialects Across Borders, edited by M. Filppula, J. Klemola, M. Palander and E. Penttilä. Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 273. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 51-72.

2005. Shetland mead names - some notes on their structure and character. Proceedings of the NORNA conference on place-names, Lerwick, April 2003, edited by D. Waugh and P. Gammeltoft. . Lerwick: Shetland Times, 173-190.

2007. In the footsteps of a 19th century dialectologist. Proceedings of the Jakobsen Memorial Conference, edited by B.Smith and T. Sigurardóttir.
Lerwick: Shetland Times.