Peter Grund

Associate Professor
Primary office:
3111 Wescoe Hall


Areas of Research

English language studies, English historical linguistics, historical pragmatics, historical sociolinguistics, corpus linguistics, early American English, editing, vernacularization of science, manuscript studies, Salem witch trials


2012–. Journal of English Linguistics


2016. University Scholarly Achievement Award.

2013–2015. Conger Gabel Teaching Professor.

2011. Mortar Board Outstanding Educator Award.

Selected Publications


2011. “Misticall Wordes and Names Infinite”: An Edition and Study of Humfrey Lock’s Treatise on Alchemy. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies [MRTS] 367. Tempe, AZ: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

2011. Merja Kytö, Peter J. Grund, and Terry Walker. Testifying to Language and Life in Early Modern England. Including a CD Containing An Electronic Text Edition of Depositions 1560–1760 (ETED). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

2009, 2014 (paperback edition). Bernard Rosenthal, Gretchen A. Adams, Margo Burns, Peter Grund, Risto Hiltunen, Leena Kahlas-Tarkka, Merja Kytö, Matti Peikola, Benjamin C. Ray, Matti Rissanen, Marilynne K. Roach, and Richard B. Trask (eds.). Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


2018. “Beyond Speech Representation: Describing and Evaluating Speech in Early Modern English Prose Fiction.” Journal of Historical Pragmatics 19(2): 265–285.

2017. “Sociohistorical Approaches.” In English Historical Linguistics: Approaches and Perspectives, ed. Laurel J. Brinton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 218–244.

2017. Walker, Terry and Peter J. Grund. “‘speaking base approbious words’: Speech Representation in Early Modern English Witness Depositions.” Journal of Historical Pragmatics 18(1): 1–28.

2017. “Description, Evaluation and Stance: Exploring the Forms and Functions of Speech Descriptors in Early Modern English.” Nordic Journal of English Studies 16(1): 41–73.

2016. “Seeing is Believing: Evidentiality and Visual Perception Verbs in Early Modern English Witness Depositions.” In Studies in the History of the English Language VII: Generalizing vs. Particularizing Methodologies in Historical Linguistic Analysis, ed. Don Chapman, Colette Moore, and Miranda Wilcox. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 153–172.

2014. “The ‘Forgotten’ Language of Middle English Alchemy: Exploring Alchemical Lexis in the MED and the OED.” Review of English Studies 65 (271): 575–595.

2014. Peter J. Grund, Margo Burns, and Matti Peikola. “The Vagaries of Manuscripts from the Salem Witch Trials: An Edition of Four (Re-)Discovered Documents from the Case Against Margaret Scott of Rowley.” Studia Neophilologica 86(1): 37–50.

2014. Peter J. Grund and Erik Smitterberg. “Conjuncts in Nineteenth-Century English: Diachronic Development and Genre Diversity.” English Language and Linguistics 18(1): 157–181.

2012. “The Nature of Knowledge: Evidence and Evidentiality in the Witness Depositions from the Salem Witch Trials.” American Speech 87(1): 7–38.

2012. “Textual History as Language History? Text Categories, Corpora, Editions, and the Witness Depositions from the Salem Witch Trials.” Studia Neophilologica 84(1): 40–54.

2011. “The Science of Pronominal Usage: He and It in Co-Reference to Inanimate Objects in Late Middle English Texts on Alchemy.” Journal of English Linguistics 39(4): 335–358.

2009. “Textual Alchemy: The Transformation of Pseudo-Albertus Magnus’s Semita Recta into the Mirror of Lights.” Ambix: The Journal for the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry 56(3): 202–225.

2007. “Sidrak and Bokkus: An Early Modern Reader Response.” Anglia: Zeitschrift für englische Philologie 125(2): 217–238.

2007. “From Tongue to Text: The Transmission of the Salem Witchcraft Examination Records.” American Speech 82(2): 119–150.

2007. “The Anatomy of Correction: Additions, Cancellations, and Changes in the Documents of the Salem Witchcraft Trials.” Studia Neophilologica 79(1): 3–24.

2006. “Manuscripts as Sources for Linguistic Research: A Methodological Case Study Based on the Mirror of Lights.” Journal of English Linguistics 34(2): 105–125.

2006. “A Previously Unrecorded Fragment of the Middle English Short Metrical Chronicle in Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica M199.” English Studies 87(3): 277–293.

2006. “‘ffor to make Azure as Albert biddes’: Medieval English Alchemical Writings in the Pseudo-Albertan Tradition.” Ambix: The Journal for the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry 53(1): 21–42.

2004. “Albertus Magnus and the Queen of the Elves: A 15th-Century English Verse Dialogue on Alchemy.” Anglia: Zeitschrift für englische Philologie 122(4): 640–662.

2004. Peter Grund, Merja Kytö and Matti Rissanen. “Editing the Salem Witchcraft Records: An Exploration of a Linguistic Treasury.” American Speech 79(2): 146–166.

Biography and Areas of Interest

I have always been fascinated by the English language: its structure, history, and variation. I am fortunate to be able to develop this fascination virtually every day as I research and discover new aspects of the history of English and as I explore and discuss the English language with students in and outside class.

My main research interest is in the connection between language and sociocultural context in historical periods. I have explored in a number of publications how language users make strategic language choices based on communicative goals in particular situations. My current project explores how the witnesses during the witch trials in Salem, MA, in 1692–1693, and the recorders of their testimonies signaled attitude, evaluation, commitment, etc. (a concept known as stance). I argue that the use of linguistic stance markers in the witness depositions reflects, among other things, the witnesses’ positioning within a community of practice that formed during the trial process at Salem.

Although I teach a wide range of classes (including History of English, Introduction to the English Language, World Englishes, Stylistics, etc.), a point of emphasis in all of these courses is that language is characterized by variation and change. My aim is to provide the tools and language to discuss such variation and the factors governing how people speak and write in different situations, where such situational conventions come from, and how these conventions have changed over time and are still changing. It is important to see that language use is not arbitrary but varies for a number of situational, social, cultural, and historical reasons.

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