Suzanne Romaine was Merton Professor of English Language at
the University of Oxford
from 1984 to 2014. Prior to this, she was senior research scientist in
Linguistic Anthropology, at the Max-Planck-Institut-für-Psycholinguistik,
Nijmegen, Netherlands, and Lecturer in Linguistics at the University
of Birmingham, England.
She was educated at Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
(A.B. magna cum laude, 1973, German/Linguistics), University of
Edinburgh, Scotland (M.Litt. 1975, Phonetics/Linguistics), and
received her Ph.D in 1981 (Linguistics, University of Birmingham,
England). In 1998 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the
University of Tromsø in Norway, and in 1999 she was awarded
an honorary doctorate from the University of Uppsala in Sweden. She is also a Fellow of the Finnish Academy and a Fellow of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.
She has held a variety of scholarships and visiting fellowships
at other universities, including the Rotary International Foundation
fellowship (University of Edinburgh) and the Canada Commonwealth
Scholarship (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of
Toronto). In 1991-1992 she was Kerstin Hesselgren Professor at the
University of Uppsala. This award for outstanding women in the
Humanities is sponsored by the Swedish Research Council for the
Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2004-2005 she was the Royden B. Davis Chair in Interdisciplinary Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and in 2005-2006 she was a resident fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California. In 2009 -2010 she was s Senior Fellow at the Internationales Forschungszentrum für Kulturwissenschaften, Vienna. In 2013 she was the Toh Puan Mahani Idris Daim Chair in Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. In 2015-2016 she was Marie Curie Fellow of the European Union and Senior Fellow, FRIAS (Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies), University of Freiburg
Her research interests lie primarily in historical linguistics and sociolinguistics, especially in problems of societal multilingualism, linguistic diversity, language change, language acquisition, and language contact in the broadest sense. Other areas of interest include corpus linguistics, language and gender, literacy, and bilingual/immersion education. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in Europe (first on the language of working class schoolchildren in Scotland and subsequently on patterns of bilingualism and language loss among Panjabi speakers in England) as well as in the Pacific Islands region (first in Papua New Guinea on the language of rural and urban schoolchildren, and most recently in Hawai'i).
She was a member of the UNESCO Expert Group that produced UNESCO's position paper on Education in a Multilingual World. (Paris:UNESCO, 2003). She also authored a backgrounder paper on Languages and Cultural Identities for Investing in Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue. (Paris:UNESCO, 2009)
See also the entries in: Encyclopedia of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education (edited by Colin Baker & Sylvia Prys Jones.
Multilingual Matters. 1998, p. 149). Concise Encyclopedia of Sociolinguistics (edited by Rajend Mesthrie. Elsevier. 2001, p. 905). Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (edited by Keith Brown. Elsevier. 2006, p. 561). The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics (edited by Carol A. Chapelle. Blackwell Publishing, Ltd. 2013).