Christian Ilbury



I am a sociolinguist who is principally interested in exploring the social meaning of variable patterns of language.

My research explores the intersection of digital culture and language variation and change. I am an interdisciplinary scholar utilizing methods and approaches from sociolinguistics, (linguistic) anthropology, and media studies.

I am particularly interested in exploring variable patterns of language across offline (i.e., face-to-face) and online (i.e., social media) space. Most of my research has focussed on the digital and linguistic practices of young people.

I am also interested in language, politics, and globalisation. My work has examined the sociolinguistic dynamics of gentrification, the effects of standard language ideology and youth language, and the impact of accent bias on perceptions of professional competence.

Prior to this appointment, I held teaching and research positions at Queen Mary University of London, the University of York, Newcastle University, the University of Suffolk, and Regents University London.


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PhD Linguistics, Queen Mary University of London

MA Linguistics, Queen Mary University of London

BA Linguistics, the University of Sussex

Responsibilities & affiliations


  • Ethics Committee member for LEL 
  • Department Lead for Equality, Diversity, & Inclusion (EDI)
  • Recruitment and Outreach Co-ordinator
  • School Lead for the Centre for Data, Culture and Society
  • Cohort Lead for all 3rd year degrees owned by LEL  


  • Research Associate, Speaking Citizens
  • Visiting Research Fellow, the University of Suffolk

Undergraduate teaching

During 2023-24, I am teaching on the following courses:

LASC08023: Linguistics and English Language 1B (Pre-Hons)

LASC10002: Sociolinguistics (Organiser, Hons)

LASC10085: Dialects of English in Britain and Ireland (Hons)

LASC10102: Language Variation and Change (Hons)

LASC10112: Guided Research - The Sociolinguistics of Digital Communication (Organiser, Hons)

Postgraduate teaching

During 2023-24, I am teaching on the following courses:

LASC11180: Sociolinguistics (Organiser)

LASC11141: Language Variation and Change 

LASC10117: Guided Research - The Sociolinguistics of Digital Communication (Organiser)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I am happy to receive applications for PhD supervision on a number of sociolinguistic topics including: Language + technology, ethnography, language variation & change (particularly youth language), queerness+language, & Language-social-class-ethnicity. I particularly welcome proposals from minoritized students and those who are first-gen/state school educated.

Please note, I do not supervise projects on EFL/ESL/TEFL/TESOL. 

Current PhD students supervised


Shutong Han (PPLS funded, first supervisor, with Sumin Zhao)

Ashley Xing (first supervisor, with Guy Puzey)

Ryan Shaw-Hawkins (SSGSS funded - with Jane Stuart-Smith, Glasgow & James Scobbie, QMU)

Zhaoxi Yan (second supervisor, with Lauren Hall-Lew)

Bonnie Liu (second supervisor, with Sumin Zhao)

Past PhD students supervised

Ashley Xing (MScR)

Angel Garmpi (MScR) 

Research summary

Sociolinguistics ∙ sociolinguistic variation ∙ ethnography ∙ digital communication ∙ linguistic appropriation ∙ gentrification ∙ ‘youth’ language ∙ accent bias ∙ language-gender-sexuality ∙ Digital Culture ∙ social media ∙ language and media ∙ affordances and constraints ∙ society and technology ∙ youth online ∙

Research activities

View all 22 activities on Research Explorer

View all 13 publications on Research Explorer