Tim William Machan

Machan Profile2

Professor of English

Specialties: Medieval language and literature, historical English linguistics

Degrees: BA, University of Wisconsin-Madison; MA, University of Durham; PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tim Machan’s teaching and research involve both medieval language and literature and historical English linguistics. Focusing on Norse, Latin, and French as well as English, his medieval scholarship has explored the interplay among a variety of theoretical and practical concerns, including the cultural nuances of physical documents, literary expression, linguistic conventions, multilingualism, contact between English and other traditions, and the historicity of critical approaches. In English linguistics, he has examined individual and institutional responses to language change, the shifting status of varieties within the English linguistic repertoire, and the persistence of language attitudes from the medieval period until the present. He has just finished a book entitled In the Shadow of a Northern Light: Nordic Inspiration for an English Middle Ages, which concerns the use of Nordic materials in conceptualizations of the English Middle Ages, and is writing on the theoretical and practical issues that frame histories of English. He has held grants and fellowships from the ACLS, NEH, and Fulbright Foundation.

Recent Publications

  • Imagining Medieval English: Language Structures and Theories, 500-1500 (Cambridge University Press, 2016)
  • “The Metaphysics of Medieval English,” in Imagining Medieval English (2016), 3-12
  • “Snakes, Ladders, and Standard Language,” in Imagining Medieval English (2016), 53-77
  • “The Individuality of English in the Multilingual Middle Ages,” in The Cambridge Handbook of English Historical Linguistics, ed. Päivi Pahta and Merja Kytö (Cambridge University Press, 2016), 407-23
  • "Defining Markedness in Middle English,” Yearbook of Langland Studies 30 (2016): 97-110
  • “Snorri’s Edda, Mythology, and Anglo-Saxon Studies,” Modern Philology, 113 (2016): 295-309
  • “Dialect Boundaries and Dialect Translation: The Case of Middle Scots and Middle English,” Anglia 134 (2016):
  • “Sources, Analogues, Creativity,” in The Blackwell Companion to British Literature, ed. Robert DeMaria, Jr., Heesok Chang, and Samantha Zacher (Blackwell, 2014), 243-55
  • What Is English?: And Why Should We Care? Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • “Chaucer and the History of English,” Speculum 87 (2012): 147-75.
  • “Language Contact and Linguistic Attitudes in the Later Middle Ages,” in The Oxford Handbook of the History of English, ed. Terttu Nevalainen and Elizabeth Closs Traugott. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Pp. 518-27.
  • “Editorial Certainty and the Editor’s Choice,” in The Genesis of the Book: Studies in the Scribal Culture of Medieval England in Honour of A. N. Doane, ed. Matthew T. Hussey and John D. Niles. Turnhout: Brepols, 2011. Pp. 285-303.
  • “The Visual Pragmatics of Code-Switching in Late Middle English Literature,” in Code-Switching in Earlier English, ed. Herbert Schendl and Laura Wright. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2011. Pp. 303-33.


Contact Information
208 Decio Faculty Hall
(574) 631-7931

Postal address
Department of English
356 O’Shaughnessy
Notre Dame, IN 46556