Stephen Joseph McNulty

PhD Linguistics & English Language


Stephen Joseph McNulty is currently undertaking a PhD in Linguistics and English Language at the University of Edinburgh, within the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences. 

He completed a joint honours degree in French and Spanish at the University of Glasgow in 2015, graduating with 1st Class Honours and with distinction in spoken French and spoken Spanish. During this period, he completed a year abroad, working in Nevers, France as a Language Assistant through the British Council, in the Lycée général et technologique Alain Colas. In addition to this, Stephen undertook a four-month voluntary teaching assistant placement in the English Montessori Scool in Aravaca, Madrid. 

His undergraduate dissertation consisted of a comparison of two Francophone language policies - the Loi Toubon in France, and the Charte de la langue française in Québec - in terms of the sociolinguistic factors which led to their enactments, their aims and their successes and shortcomings. 

Following completion of his undergraduate degree, Stephen took up a two-year position at the Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay (formerly ENS Cachan) as Lecteur d'anglais (Native language teacher). This role involved the preparation and delivery of English classes (of various levels) to students of engineering, physics, mathematics and economics, as well as English-language specialists and staff members. Teaching focussed strongly on preparing students for the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English examinations, as well as their future academic and professional careers.

In May 2017, Stephen was awarded a 1+3 studentship from the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (in partnership with the Economics and Social Research Council), and completed an MSc in Applied Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh in August 2018. His Master's dissertation explored the concepts of "Linguicide" and "Linguistic Suicide" in relation to language shift, decline and death of indigenous minority languages in France.

Finally, Stephen began his PhD in September 2018. His PhD concerns the creation, negotiation and endorsement of, and resistance to language policies on social media. He is particularly interested in the notion of language policing, and, focussing on the sociolinguistic context of Catalan in Catalunya del Nord online, he seeks to come to a greater understanding of how language behaviours and identities are regulated on fora such as Facebook. 


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September 2017 - August 2018:

  • M.Sc. Applied Linguistics (University of Edinburgh)
    • Awarded with Distinction
    • Dissertation title: "Linguicide or Linguistic Suicide?: A Case Study of Indigenous Minority Languages in France."

September 2010 - June 2015

  • M.A. (Hons.) French and Spanish (University of Glasgow)
    • 1st Class Honours with Distinction in spoken French and in spoken Spanish
    • Dissertation title: "La Charte de la langue française and Loi Toubon: A franco-québécois comparison of language policies intended to protect the French language, and an evaluation of their effects."

Postgraduate teaching

Writing Centre Tutor (2019-2020)

Research summary

  • Sociolinguistics
  • Sociology of language
  • Language policy and planning
  • Language endangerment, death and revitalisation
  • Language attitudes and ideologies
  • Linguistic human rights
  • Language teaching

Knowledge exchange

- Knowledge Exchange and Impact Project Assistant on the Lothian Lockdown: The Lothian Diaries Project (lead: Dr. Lauren Hall-Lew) (June 2020-present)

Project activity

Current project grants

1+3 Studentship, awarded by the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (in partnership with the Economics and Social Research Council).