William D. Keel

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures - Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures
Primary office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 2082
University of Kansas
1445 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, KS 66045-7590

Office Hours:

T, W, 12:30-1:30

Research and teaching interests: German dialectology, Germanic philology, the structure of Modern German, Dutch language, and German-American studies


Ph.D., Germanic Linguistics, Indiana University

M.A., Linguistics, Indiana University

M.A., German Literature, Indiana University

B.A., German with Honors, Kalamazoo College

Selected Publications

Keel, W. (in press). Victoria (Herzog) Variety of Volga German in Ellis County, Kansas. In M. Louden, H. Boas, P. Maitz, & A. Deumert (Eds.), Varieties of German World-Wide.

Keel, W. (in press). The West Germanic Dialect Continuum. In M. Putnam & R. Page (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Germanic Linguistics.

Keel, W. (in press). Comparing Intergenerational Assimilation to American English in Several German Varietal Enclaves from the Ozarks Mountains of Missouri to the High Plains of Kansas. In . (Ed.), German Abroad 2.

Keel, W. D. (in press). Deutsche Sprachinseln in den USA. In C. Riehl & A. Plewnia, et al. (Eds.), Handbuch der deutschen Sprachminderheiten in Übersee. Tübingen, Germany: Gunter Narr Verlag.

Keel, W. (Ed.). (2017). Yearbook of German-American Studies. Yearbook of German-American Studies 51 298. Society for German-American Studies.

Keel, W. D. (2017). "From Refugee of 1848 to American Superpatriot: 'Colonel' Fred Buehrle--the Official Cannoneer of the State of Missouri". Yearbook of German-American Studies, 51, 109-134.

Keel, W. (2016). “Modelling the Dynamics of Intergenerational Assimilation to a Dominant Contact Language (American English) in German Linguistic Enclaves on the Great Plains.” . In S. Ptashnyk, et al. (Eds.), Gegenwärtige Sprachkontakte im Kontext der Migration. Heidelberg, Germany: Winter.

Keel, W. D. (2015). "Noun Phrase Case Shift in Volga German Varieties on the Great Plains of Kansas". In R. Page & M. Putnam (Eds.), Heritage Languages in the Americas: Theoretical Perspectives and Empirical Findings. The Netherlands/USA: Brill.

Keel, W. D. (2013). Deutsche Sprache--deutsche Dialekte in Colorado: Siedlungsgeschichte und Restsprachinseln. In G. Koch (Ed.), Sprachminderheit, Identität und Sprachbiographie (pp. 27-44). Regensburg, Germany: Edition Vulpes.

Keel, W. D. (2012). Models of Linguistic Accommodation and Assimilation in German Dialect Enclaves in Kansas. In E. Knipf-Komlósi & C. Riehl (Eds.), Kontaktvarietäten des Deutschen synchron und diachron (pp. 17-36). Vienna, Austria: Praesens Verlag.

Keel, W. D. (2012). Pesth am Beaver Creek: Geschichte der ungarndeutschen Sprachinsel im Nordwesten von Kansas/USA. In R. Brdar-Szabó, et al. (Eds.), Deutsch grenzenlos: Festschrift für Elisabeth Knipf zum 60. Geburtstag (pp. 190-99). Budapest: ELTE Germanistisches Institut.

Keel, W. D. (2010). An 1857 Version of the Schnitzelbank-Song from Basel, Switzerland. In C. Richard Beam & W. D. Keel (Eds.), The Language and Culture of the Pennsylvania Germans: A Festschrift for Earl C. Haag (pp. 175-96). Lawrence, KS: The Society for German-American Studies.

Selected Presentations

Selected Awards & Honors

William D. Keel's primary teaching and research interests are in German dialectology, Germanic philology, the structure of Modern German, and German-American studies. He is internationally recognized as an expert on German settlement dialects (Sprachinseln) in the American Midwest and has lectured on that subject at several German universities and the Institut für deutsche Sprache in Mannheim. View his work on the Linguistic Atlas of Kansas German Dialects (LAKGD).

He is the recipient of German-American collaborative research grants from the American Council of Learned Societies and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Since 1981, he has served as editor of the Yearbook of German-American Studies and, since 1986, as a member of the executive committee of the Society for German-American Studies.

Publications include co-edited books German Emigration from Bukovina to the Americas (1996) with Kurt Rein (University of Munich) and German Language Varieties Worldwide: Internal and External Perspectives (2003) with Klaus Mattheier (University of Heidelberg) as well as and a number of articles treating Hannoverian Low German, German-Bohemian and Mennonite Low German dialects in Kansas and Missouri as well as the settlement history of Pennsylvania Germans in Kansas. His edited work on The Volga Germans of West Central Kansas was published in 2004.

He has been active in the Kansas Association of Teachers of German for a number of years, serving on the executive committee from 1994-97 and again from 2004-07. Since 1989, he has lectured in numerous communities in the region as a member of the Speakers' Bureau of the Kansas Humanities Council. Keel is the recipient of the Verdienstkreuz am Bande of the Federal Republic of Germany (1999) for his contributions to German-American educational and cultural exchanges. The KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences honored him with the Steeples Award for Outstanding Service to Kansans in 2006. From 1990 to 2011 he chaired the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures.

2019 Graduation Ceremony

2019 KU School of Languages, Literature & Cultures Graduation Ceremony


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