Peter Grund

Peter Grund's picture
Senior Lecturer in English and Divinity School

Ph.D., English Linguistics, Uppsala University, Sweden, 2004
MA, Uppsala University, Sweden, 1998
BA, Uppsala University, Sweden, 1997

I have a split appointment in the English Department and the Divinity School. I join Yale from the University of Kansas, where I was a Professor of English Language Studies and award-winning teacher. I am a specialist in the history, development, and current use of the English language. My main research interest is in the connection between language and sociocultural context in historical periods, and I have published widely in this area, including monographs and co-authored books: The Sociopragmatics of Stance: Community, Language, and the Witness Depositions from the Salem Witch Trials (John Benjamins, 2021) and Testifying to Language and Life in Early Modern England. Including a CD containing An Electronic Text Edition of Depositions 1560–1760 (ETED) (John Benjamins, with Merja Kytö and Terry Walker). I have also co-edited several volumes: Speech Representation in the History of English: Topics and Approaches (Oxford University Press, 2020, edited with Terry Walker); Studies in the History of the English Language VIII: Boundaries and Boundary-Crossings in the History of English (Mouton de Gruyter, 2020, edited with Megan E. Hartman); Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt (Cambridge University Press, 2009, edited with Bernard Rosenthal et al.).

Whether I teach courses on the structure, history, development, or social uses of the English language, my classes explore the implications of the fundamental principle that English is characterized by variation and change. Students develop the skills, language, and knowledge needed to analyze, describe, and understand the factors governing how people speak and write in different situations, where such “conventions” come from, and how they have changed over time and are still changing. Students grapple with the central question of what “right” and “wrong” in language means and seek a more nuanced answer than suggested by that binary. Overall, my courses encourage students to become sophisticated language citizens, realizing the importance of language for identity, relationships, and society in general, as well as recognizing the potential of language both to trigger discrimination and to promote social justice.