Language History

The research group Language History is concerned with historical and comparative linguistics, especially with regard to the Indo-European language family, including the Germanic and Nordic languages. The group also studies the cultural context in which the languages appear.

The research group Language History: Standing: Julia Sturm, Corinna Scheungraber, Adam Hyllested, Michael Lerche Nielsen, Simon Poulsen. Sitting: Birgit Anette Olsen, Benedicte Nielsen Whitehead, Thomas Olander, Matthew Scarborough, Seán Vrieland. Not present: Guus Kroonen, Johnny Gøgsig Jakobsen, Tobias Mosbæk Søborg.

The study of historical and comparative linguistics entails an interest in neighbouring research areas such as general language change and language history, synchronic and diachronic language typology, general and Danish phonology and grammar, dialectology, runology, onomastics, the texts and philologies of the individual language traditions, historical and comparative studies of other language families as well as prehistoric archaeology and history of culture and religion.

The current research activities of the group are mainly concerned with language history, philology and culture with special focus on the older stages of the Indo-European languages, including Nordic. The activities to a certain extent overlap with the activities at the Roots of Europe research centre.


  • the early development of the Indo-European languages, including Nordic
  • the reconstruction of linguistic systems and individual elements (phonological, morphological, syntactic and lexical) on the basis of the comparative method
  • linguistic phylogenetics
  • the relative chronology of linguistic changes
  • language contact and linguistic substrates in prehistoric and historically documented periods, including lexical borrowing and stratification of loanwords
  • etymology (history of words), involving prehistoric and historical cultural history
  • philologically based studies of newly-found and already known texts
  • the correlation of reconstructed language changes, archaeological cultures, prehistoric genetics and mythology





Name Title Phone E-mail
Kroonen, Guus Professor with special responsibilities +4535328370 E-mail
Olander, Thomas Associate Professor - Promotion Programme +4535335937 E-mail
Olesen, Rikke Steenholt Associate Professor +4535328564 E-mail
Poulsen, Simon Research Assistant +4535325353 E-mail
Rasmussen (Olsen), Birgit Anette Professor +4535328637 E-mail
Scarborough, Matthew Postdoc +4535333679 E-mail
Scheungraber, Corinna Postdoc +4535322220 E-mail
Vrieland, Seán Associate Professor +4535337566 E-mail

Affiliated researchers

  • Hyllested, Adam
  • Jakobsen, Johnny Gøgsig
  • Nielsen, Michael Lerche 
  • Olesen, Rikke Steenholt
  • Søborg, Tobias Mosbæk
  • Whitehead, Benedicte Nielsen 

Head of research group