Caroline Piotrowska is a researcher working in the field of sociolinguistics and World Englishes. She is currently working towards completing a PhD, conducting research on the language use on various social media platforms on the internet, in order to describe the impact that globalisation has had on language change in specific varieties of English. She was involved in the compilation of a diachronic corpus of Black South African English (BSAE), collecting and processing fiction, letter, and newspaper data from the 1880s to the 2000s. Her Masters dissertation, titled “A Diachronic Analysis of the Progressive Aspect in Black South African English”, investigated the development of the meanings of stative and dynamic verbs in BSAE when combined with the progressive aspect. In addition, she is concerned with how features of BSAE are perceived and whether they are acceptable to speakers of South African English. She has done eye-tracking research for her mini-dissertation, which focused on the cognitive processing load of texting features such as SMS-shortcuts. Caroline is also interested in the mechanisms involved in processing and understanding language, the brain’s response to reading and writing in different genres. She has a keen interest in literature, particularly in the work of modernist poets E.E. Cummings and T.S Eliot, and comic book writers Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. At some point in the future, she would like to do linguistic research on the visual language of comic books and manga, and to conduct eye tracking studies on the pictorial and linguistic aspects of comic books.

INTERESTS: Internet linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Language change, World Englishes, Corpus Linguistics

Publications & Projects

Van Rooy, Bertus & Piotrowska, Caroline. 2015. The development of an extended time period meaning of the progressive in Black South African English. (In Collins, Peter. ed. Grammatical Change in English World-Wide. Amsterdam: Benjamins. p. 465-483.)

Piotrowska, C.M. 2015. A Diachronic Analysis of the Progressive Aspect in Black South African English. (Dissertation – MA).

Contact information


TEL: 016 910 3477