Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


William Kretzschmar

Default Image
Willson Professor in Humanities, Dept. of English
Fellow, Institute for Artificial Intelligence

Professor Kretzschmar (Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1980) began his career as a medievalist (dissertation on Middle Scots poetry, medieval literary theory), and has over time become more associated with English Language Studies. In addition to his full-time appointment at UGA, he has an academic appointment at  the University of Oulu (Finland). He is Editor Emeritus of the Linguistic Atlas Project, a national center for survey research on American English. He also has a long-term sociolinguistic field site in Roswell, GA, called Roswell Voices; that project was the first American member of the European Union's Living Laboratories network, which promotes public/private partnerships involving technology and innovation. He was President of the American Dialect Society from 2007-2009. He edited the Journal of English Linguistics for fifteen years, and now serves on a number of editorial boards. He is coeditor of the Oxford Dictionary of Pronunciation for Current English (2001), and has provided American pronunciations for the online Oxford English Dictionary and for various dictionaries in the Oxford US Dictionaries program; his new pronunciation dictionary, again with Clive Upton, is the Routledge Dictionary of Pronunciation for Current English (2017). He has published numerous articles on medieval literature, American English, language variation, and digital humanities. His Handbook of the Linguistic Atlas of the Middle and South Atlantic States was published by the University of Chicago Press in 1993, and his Introduction to Quantitative Analysis of Linguistic Survey Data by Sage in 1996. A collection of essays from his UGA seminar on literary stylistics was published as a special issue of Language and Literature (2001). His The Linguistics of Speech, which demonstrates the relationship between language behavior and complexity science, was published by Cambridge University Press (2009), and a second book on the subject, Language and Complex Systems, was published by Cambridge in 2015. Two more textbooks appeared from Cambridge in 2018: Exploring Linguistic Science and The Emergence and Development of English. He held an ACLS Digital Innovation fellowship in 2014, with which he developed a computer simulation to model language change. He pursues research and teaching on American English, language variation, and computer methods for description, analysis, and presentation of language data from literary and non-literary sources. His current work on the Atlas focuses on remaking its Web site to accommodate thousands of hours of audio and thousands of scanned field documents as well as text materials. He has directed the UGA Linguistics Program (1996-99), and developed and served as the director of the UGA Computer/Information Literacy Program from 1999-2001. He directs the Complex Systems in the Humanities site at the UGA digital humanities laboratory, DigiLab. For 2019-2020, he is the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Humanities and Social Sciences at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland.


Ph.D. in English, University of Chicago, 1980.

            Dissertation:  The Literary-Historical Context of Henryson's Fabillis

M.A. in Medieval Studies, Yale University, 1976.

A.B. in Medieval Studies with High Honors, University of Michigan, 1975.

Specific Research Areas:

Language variation, Corpus linguistics, American English

Awards and Special Recognitions:

Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Humanities and Social Sciences, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland.

Friend of Oxford Award, Office of International Education, University of Georgia, 2014.

ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship, 2014.

Honorary Doctorate, University of Oulu, Finland, 2013.

Albert Christ-Janer Creative Research Award, University of Georgia, 2012.

Membership of Roswell Voices project in European Union Living Laboratories network, 2010-. [first North American member]

Visiting Professor, University of Michigan, 2008.

President, American Dialect Society, 2007-2008 (President-Elect, 2005-2006).

American Dialect Society Professor, LSA Linguistic Institute, MIT, 2005

President’s Award, Roswell Convention and Visitors Bureau, 2004. [for Roswell Voices project]

TEI Consortium, Board of Directors (2002-2004), Nominating Committee (2002-2004)

Pedro Zamora Horizon Award (2002; UGA, commitment to diversity).

Association for Computers and the Humanities, Executive Committee (1998-2003), Publications Committee (2000-2002).

Current listing in several Who's Who volumes, including Who's Who in the World (1992-), Who's Who in America (1994-).

Articles Featuring William Kretzschmar

University of Georgia Linguistics Faculty and Graduate Students presented at the 2020 American Dialect Society annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2-5, 2020.

University of Georgia Linguistics Faculty and Graduate Students presented at the 2018 American Dialect Society annual conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, January 4-7, 2018.

Graduate Committees:

Support Linguistics at UGA

Your donations to the Department of Linguistics will support research and travel opportunities for students and faculty and other initiatives to enhance students' education in linguistics. Please consider joining other friends and alumni who have shown their support by making a gift to our fund. We greatly appreciate your contributions to the success of our programs!