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Maciej Widawski

Full Professor at UKW University

Contact me regarding: Becoming a Mentor, Research Collaboration, and Answering Professional Questions

About Me

I am a sociolinguist specializing in language variation, its documentation and description. My research interests include social, occupational, ethnic and geographical varieties of language. I am also a practising lexicographer and applied linguist with a keen interest in dictionary-making, translation and language education.

My primary research interest throughout my career has been slang, and for the past twenty-five years I have been collecting, documenting, describing, and analyzing this highly informal lexicon and its sociocultural context. I have done research at such academic centers as the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. I have taught at the University of Gdansk and Spoleczna Akademia Nauk (University of Social Sciences) in Warsaw, and I am currently Professor of Linguistics at the UKW University in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

My contribution to linguistic studies lies mainly in explaining the patterns of form, meaning, theme, and use of slang, and establishing to what extent they are changeable, invariable, specific or universal. My most recent book, African American Slang: A Linguistic Description (2015), published by Cambridge University Press, explores such patterns found is the slang of African Americans.

I also have an extensive experience as an applied linguist. For the past twenty-five years I have taught various EFL (English as a Foreign Language) courses on the English language and its structure. I have also taught courses on Slavic linguistics (mainly Polish) for non-native speakers. Aside from teaching, my experience in applied linguistics includes writing exercise books, handbooks, word lists and dictionaries designed specifically for language learners.

Most of my work is based on sizable databases of contextual examples from various sources such as television, film, press, literature, music, conversation, and the Internet. My research languages are principally English and Polish, but I have also worked on several other languages including Yiddish and Mandarin Chinese.

My disciplines and areas of professional expertise include…

  • Descriptive linguistics
  • Language variation and description
  • Lexicography
  • Slang and colloquialism
  • Sociolinguistics

Contact me regarding...

  • Becoming a Mentor
  • Research Collaboration
  • Answering Professional Questions


  • African American Slang: A Linguistic Description

    2015 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

  • A Dictionary of Spanish Loanwords in American Slang

    2015 Gdansk: University of Gdansk Press

  • Black Lexicon

    2012 Gdansk: University of Gdansk Press

  • Yinglish

    2012 Gdansk: University of Gdansk Press

  • The Dictionary of City Names in American Slang

    2011 Frankfurt: Peter Lang Verlag

  • Slang UG

    2010 Gdansk: University of Gdansk Press

  • Anatomy of American Slang

    2003 Warszawa: Galeria Ksiazki

  • The Polish-English Dictionary of Slang and Colloquialism

    1998 New York: Hippocrene

  • A Handbook of American English Pronunciation

    1995 Gdansk: University of Gdansk Press

  • Fucktionary

    1994 Gdansk: Comprendo



    • 2004 D.Litt. (Habilitation), English Linguistics, University of gdansk
    • 1996 Ph.D., Linguistics, University of gdansk
    • 1994 InterLex Certificate, Lexicography, University of exeter
    • 1993 D.A.W. Diploma, Diplomacy, Diplomatic academy vienna
    • 1992 M.A., University of gdansk, English and linguistics


  • University of California, Berkeley

    • 1/2013 - 9/2013 Visiting Professor
  • UKW University, Bydgoszcz

    • 10/2015 - Present Full Professor (Tenured)
  • University of Social Sciences, Warsaw

    • 2/2013 - 9/2015 Associate Professor (Tenured)
  • University of Gdansk

    • 10/2004 - 1/2013 Associate Professor (Tenured)
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville

    • 8/1999 - 6/2000 Visiting Professor
  • University of Gdansk

    • 1/1997 - 2004 Assistant Professor
  • University of Gdansk

    • 1/1993 - 1996 Teaching Assistant
  • Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    • 1/1992 - 1993 Counselor