Linguistics and English Language

Language variation and change

Exploring linguistic variation and change, with a particular focus on quantitative models

Our research interests cover many areas of linguistics, including phonetics, historical phonology, historical syntax, syntactic variation, dialectology, sociolinguistics, and computational linguistics.

The group is inherently interdisciplinary and invites membership from any interested researchers in or around the University of Edinburgh community. Our members are interested in patterns of variability at all levels of linguistic structure. We share an interest in both synchronic and diachronic variation, with the goal of developing empirical models of variation and change.


Staff who work in this area include:

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Research interests
Dr Claire Cowie

World Englishes; language contact; morphological productivity; pragmatics

Professor Lauren Hall-Lew Sociolinguistics; sociophonetics; phonetic methods; English variation and change; language and ethnicity; language and tourism
Professor Caroline Heycock Syntactic variation and change
Dr Patrick Honeybone Historical phonology; phonological theory; northern Englishes
Dr Christian Ilbury Youth language; language, gender and sexuality; ethnography; digital communication
Dr Pavel Iosad Theoretical phonology; phonological interfaces; historical phonology; Celtic languages; Germanic languages
Dr Warren Maguire Dialectology; varieties of English and Scots; phonetic and phonological variation and change
Professor Mits Ota First and second language acquisition; phonology
Professor Graeme Trousdale Historical linguistics; language variation and change

Postgraduate study

PhD and MSc by Research programmes

For more information about postgraduate study in language variation and change, contact Dr Lauren Hall-Lew.

Lauren Hall-Lew


Meetings will be hybrid this year. Please check the LEL events page for location information. For more information about this year's meetings, contact Lauren Hall-Lew or Christian Ilbury or visit the research seminar event pages.

Events | Linguistics and English Language

Language variation and change seminars

Edinburgh Speaks

Looking at variation in speech and language use in Edinburgh