Linguistics and English Language

Language in context

Studying how the social, interpersonal, and discursive context of language shapes its forms and uses

We are interested in studying how the social, interpersonal, and discursive context of language shapes its forms and uses. We welcome discussion of topics in sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, and stylistics. Research topics include language ideologies, language and identity, language shift, attitudes to language, discourse analysis, and language contact.

We see the communicative and symbolic functions of language variation and use as fundamental to, not adjuncts to, a comprehensive theory of human linguistic production and comprehension. We believe that quantitative and qualitative methods complement each other in the study of linguistics, and we encourage research that explores productive ways of combining these types of data. 

We equally encourage research connecting descriptions of actual language use with theoretical approaches in linguistics and related disciplines.


Staff working in this area include:

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Research interests
Dr Claire Cowie World Englishes; language contact; morphological productivity; pragmatics
Dr Joseph Gafaranga Multilingualism, Discourse and Conversation Analysis
Dr Lauren Hall-Lew Sociolinguistics; sociophonetics; phonetic methods; English variation and change; language and ethnicity; language and tourism
Professor John Joseph Applied linguistics; history of linguistics; semiotics
Dr Sumin Zhao Dr Sumin Zhao is a Lecturer in Discourse Analysis, specialising in Critical and Multimodal Discourse Analysis. Her research focuses on computer-mediated and social media discourses. She also researches home-based digital literacy practices of young (multilingual) children using linguistic ethnography.

Postgraduate study

PhD and MSc by Research Programmes


The language in context research group holds a series of seminars, held approximately on a fortnightly basis, throughout semesters 1 and 2. These are usually held in alternation with the language variation and change seminar series.

Language in context research seminars

Language variation and change seminars

If you would like to present your research, hold a workshop, dry run a paper for a conference, or simply share your thoughts on any of the LinC-related topics please visit either of the seminar series home pages above.