Language Variation and Change

Members of the Language Variation and Change group in the school are all interested in the study of linguistic variation and the manner in which systematic and inherent variation in synchronic and diachronic linguistics can be observed, analysed and modelled using both quantitative and qualitative methods.

History of the English Language

Members of the Language Variation and Change group teach modules about all the different periods of the English language: Old and Middle English, Early Modern English and 19th century English. Our own research also spans the entire history of the language and we would welcome supervision of any project in this field.

The methodology that we use in collecting and interpreting the basic historical facts is varied. It ranges from methods developed in sociolinguistic studies to modern theories of language structure and from computer corpus work to the study of individual manuscripts. What we try to convey in our teaching and writing is that every aspect of the English language today (whether this relates to syntax, phonetics, phonology, vocabulary, idioms, text types, discourse structures, social and cultural embedding, or any other component) has a historical dimension too. Answering questions about the historical development of all these different aspects requires the use of different approaches.

Sociolinguistics and Dialectology