PhD Alumni

Anthony Bour Freiburg

Description of multiple modality in contemporary Scotland:
Double and triple modals in the Scottish borders

ErstbetreuerProf. Dr. Bernd Kortmann
ZweitbetreuerProf. Dr. Dr. h. c. Christian Mair

Studying Multiple Modals (will can, would can, should ought to, might could...) has been my main research interest for 8 years now. Since 2008 I have noticed that little research on modal combinations has been done in the fields of sociolinguistics and dialectology. It began in 1973 with Ronald Butters giving interesting notes and details on the evolution and use of these non-standard modal structures in the South-Eastern part of the USA, especially North and South Carolina. Circa 50 papers were written, most of them, American papers, were published in the 1990's, which can be considered as the best decade concerning the evolution of dialectal non-standard modal research. These multiple modals composed of double, triple and even quadruple modals are well scattered in the Western part of the English-speaking world. I decided to do this research in the Southern part of Scotland, which might be the birthplace of these constructions. Thanks to my first field survey in Hawick in April 2010 and through a series of three field surveys that will be carried out from 2011 to 2013, i.e:

In April and May 2011 in the towns of Kelso, Jedburgh, Melrose and Coldstream.
Then in the springtime of 2012 in Galashiels, Selkirk, Innerleithen and Peebles.
Finally in March 2013 in Duns, the harbour town of Eyemouth and Berwick-Upon-Tweed.

I intend in the end to better understand the current morphosyntactic and semantic modifications of this linguistic phenomenon in this part of the UK. I hope in the future to get an accurate picture of these modal constructions in the entire Scottish Borders, viz. how frequently people use them both in oral and written media in their Scottish towns? How many types of double and triple modals are actually spoken and written at present? Are they grammatically acceptable in negative and interrogative clauses? And in what social contexts are modal combinations used in this region? What is more, with the ongoing arrivals of new English and other European and worldwide immigrants on the Scottish ground, it will be necessary to know if these non-standard dialectal structures are capable of adapting to the internationalization (or general standardization) of the English language. By doing this kind of modern dialectal and sociolinguistic study it is vital to know if non-standard features such as Multiple Modals in the long run can still have an effective role to play in more and more globalized English-speaking communities.


Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae


Power point presentation at the 45th Austrian Linguistics conference at the University of Salzburg.
(From December 6th to December 7th 2019).

- English trainer at MCL association in Metz as well as at CCI formation institute in the Technopole center in Metz.
- A new manuscript on Single and Multiple Modals in Hawick was written and sent to "Scottish Language".
- Autoentrepreneur in Lorraine, V-English.


Poster presentation at the 1st International conference on Pluricentricity and Pluriareality,
University of Münster (February 8th-February 10th 2019).

Poster presentation at the 44th Austrian Linguistics conference,
University of Innsbruck (October 26th-October 28th 2018).

- Creator of V-English (micro-business). Teaching general and/or professional English to adults in different institutes, universities and companies.
- One additional manuscript on Multiple Modals published in December 2018 in the following journal:
Colloquium, New Philologies.
- English trainer at CCI Formation (professional institute) in Lorraine, France as well as
at MCL association.
- English teacher in three different agencies: Complétude, Acadomia & Educia.

2017/2018: Two power points were presented in a workshop and a conference:

- 43rd Austrian Linguistics conference at the university of Klagenfurt
(December 8th-December 10th 2017).
- Diskussionsforum at the university of Munich (November 16th-November 18th 2017).

One additional manuscript on Multiple Modals published in July 2018 in the following journal:
Colloquium, New Philologies.

A fifth field survey will be conducted in the East-Lothian county from August 13th to August 21st 2018.
A new questionnaire model will be proposed to the population, a semi-structured one. The Scots language will be further studied in this new survey in relation to the current use of Multiple Modals by the Lothian citizens.

English trainer at CCI formation (Metz technopole center) & at MCL (Metz downtown).
English teacher (three teaching agencies: Acadomia, Complétude & Educia).

2016/2017: Presentation of my research in Malaga for the ICLAVE 9 conference
(June 6th-June 9th 2017), power point presentation.

Presentation of my research in Münster for the Dynamik-Variation-System conference (June 2nd to June 4th 2017), power point presentation.

One of the three new manuscripts was published on "Scottish Language" (VOL 36, 2017).

- English trainer for adults at CCI Formation.
- English teacher for adults in a French association called MCL
(Maison de la Culture et des Loisirs, Metz).
- English teacher for adults in a French association called Marc Sangnier (Metz).
- Home teacher in three agencies: Complétude, Acadomia and Sapad.

2015/2016: Presentation of a research poster at the UKLVC 10 conference in York from September 1st to September 3rd 2015.

- Home teacher in English and German (Acadomia, Complétude, Educia & Maide).
- English trainer for different adult groups in the French company called "CCI Formation"
(Technopole center, Metz).
- Three new manuscripts on vernacular Scottish-English modals are being written.
- My own website on modal combinations is now online and it can be seen via the following address:

Don't hesitate to leave me comments!

At present, I am looking for an academic position as a postdoctoral researcher, research assistant or a lector in a university proposing projects on syntactic varieties of English. Do not hesitate to contact me if projects of this kind are being developed. Ask me any types of questions by e-mail regarding my research project or my professional activities.

2014/2015: PhD degree in English Linguistics "Englische Philologie" in the fields of dialectology/sociolinguistics, Cum Laude, obtained at the University of Freiburg-im-Breisgau on December 15th 2014.

- The first manuscript on Multiple Modals was published in fall 2015 in the journal entitled: "Scottish Language" located in the university of Aberdeen. The second manuscript was sent late October to the Canadian journal "Linguistica Atlantica" in New Brunswick for a publication in January 2015.
- Power point presentation of my research during a dialectological conference called "EDISYN VIII" taking place at the university of Zürich from June 11th to June 13th 2015.
- Home teacher in the following French agencies "Complétude" (2007-present), Acadomia (2014-present) and Educia (2014-present), 12 hours a week.
- Connected on "LinkedIn", "Viadeo" and the French regional website called "Lorfolio" (

2013/2014: PhD thesis submitted on June 18th 2014.

- Home teacher in the following French agencies "Complétude" (2007-present) and
Acadomia (2014-present), 6 hours a week.
- Working as a translator in the French company called GIS-MIC (Global International Services - Material Inspection Control, Technopole Center, Metz) from May 6th to August 29th 2014.
Working in this company 15 hours a week. Connected on "LinkedIn".
- Two research papers on Multiple Modals sent to two journals: "Linguistica Atlantica" and "Scottish Language", for a possible publication in the near future.
- Presentation of my research during an OBERSEMINAR workshop that took place in Freiburg-im-Breisgau in January 2014.

2012/2013: Third year as a PhD Student in English dialectology and sociolinguistics in Freiburg-im- Breisgau. Last fieldwork in the Scottish Borders (Towns of Eyemouth, Duns and Berwick-on-Tweed from March 11th to March 27th 2013) before the submission of the thesis in June 2014. Working on two papers on Multiple Modals in view of a future publication.

2011/2012: Second year as a PhD Student in English dialectology and sociolinguistics in Freiburg.
Third one-month fieldwork in Southern Scotland (towns of Galashiels, Selkirk, Innerleithen and Peebles), in preparation of a future publication of a paper dealing with the current syntactic evolution of Exotic Multiple Modals in the Western Anglophone world.
Presentation of my research during a workshop entitled OBERSEMINAR that took place in Freiburg-im-Breisgau in January 2012.

2010/2011: PhD Student in English dialectology and sociolinguistics at the University of Freiburg-im-Breisgau. Five-week fieldwork in the Scottish Borders (towns of Kelso, Jedburgh, Coldstream and Melrose). Home teacher in Lorraine.

2009/2010: Master's degree in English linguistics entitled "Les Mondes Anglophones" in the field of dialectology/sociolinguistics, Cum Laude, obtained at the University of Metz in Lorraine (France) at the end of June 2010. One-month fieldwork in the Scottish Borders in the town of Hawick. Home teacher in Lorraine.

2008/2009: "Maîtrise d'anglais" which is an intermediate degree in English Linguistics obtained at
the University of Metz, home teacher in Lorraine.

2007/2008: English teacher in three different secondary schools and home teacher in Lorraine.

2006/2007: Home teacher in Lorraine (French agency: Complétude) and preparation for the TOEIC
Exam: 820/990 as well as the French competitive examination called Capes.

2003/2006: Bachelor's degree in Applied Foreign Languages (English-German and Spanish)
(Licence de LEA: Langues Etrangères Appliquées) obtained at the University of Metz.

Several language learning trips:

August 2008: Goethe Institut Munich (Teilnahmebestätigung: level C1)
August 2007: Goethe Institut Heidelberg (Teilnahmebestätigung: level B2-C1)
July 2005: Universität Wien (Zeugnis: Fortgeschrittene 2, certificate level B2)
July 2004: Aspect school Vancouver (Certificate of Proficiency in English, Advanced level B2-C1)

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Current research

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