Noted UB Linguistics Scholar Wolfgang Wolck Honored by European Research Center

Release Date: September 20, 2002 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Wolfgang Wölck , emeritus SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in the University at Buffalo Department of Linguistics, has been named the first honorary member of the European Research Center for Multilingualism.

The honor was bestowed during the center's 25th anniversary symposium, held June 28-29 in Brussels, Belgium, at which time Wölck was cited for "his outstanding scientific work in the field of contact linguistics."

Contact linguistics represents the multidisciplinary intersection of linguistics and anthropology, ethnography, geography, political science, psychology and sociology. His research is based on language contact situations worldwide.

Wölck continues to teach at UB, where his research interests include sociolinguistic methods, bilingualism and dialectology. His research includes studies of diglossia between dialects and standards in Germany and Scotland (i.e., how different dialects used in a society relate to one another). He directed the survey of Quechua-Spanish bilingualism in Peru that looked at where and by whom Spanish and the indigenous Andean language, Quechua, are spoken.

His study, "The Buffalo Ethnolects Experiment," determined that Buffalonians have a considerable ability to identify a native-English speaker's ethnicity based on linguistic characteristics and speech patterns. In fact, he is the most highly published and competent scholar on Buffalo English.

Wölck has taught at institutions in Belgium, Britain, Germany and Peru, where the national university awarded him an honorary degree in 1972. He was on the faculty of the Linguistic Society of America Institutes in 1971 and 1976, and in 1991 was named Research Professor at the Research Center on Multilingualism by the Belgian National Science Foundation.

He recently was appointed to a committee for minority language research within the European community and is engaged in the final phase of a longitudinal survey of Quechua-Spanish bilingualism.

Wölck is the author of "Phonematische Analyse der Sprache von Buchan" and "Pequeno Breviario Quechua," co-author of "Interkulturelle Mehrsprachigkeit," editor of "The Social Dimension of Dialectology" and "Contact Linguistics: An International Handbook of Contemporary Research," and serves on the editorial boards of the journals Lexis and Multilingua.

A resident of Amherst, he holds a D.Phil. in English and linguistics from the University of Frankfurt.

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