School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Language Variation and Change

Language Variation and Change

Our research includes historical/diachronic linguistics, sociolinguistics, grammaticalization, variationist linguistics, dialect syntax, corpus analysis and linguistic typology.

The Language Variation and Change research group (LVC) works on diverse issues that relate, broadly speaking, to synchronic language variation and diachronic language change. This includes sociolinguistic variation in English, where we focus in particular on Tyneside, Northumbrian and Irish varieties of English as well as British English ethnolects and standard British English. We study these partly through corpora specially constructed for the quantitative analysis of linguistic variation and change, such as the Diachronic Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English (DECTE) compiled and housed at Newcastle University. Our specialisms in this area include: morphosyntactic and discourse-pragmatic variation and change; dialect syntax; and language and dialect contact.

We also work on variation and change in the earlier history of English and in various other languages (the Germanic family more widely, as well as modern Welsh, Irish, Spanish and Bengali), focussing on grammatical phenomena such as word order, negation, and features of clause-linking. In this work, we take a specific interest in the mechanisms by which change is introduced into the language system and diffused through communities of speakers.

A further area in our research is cross-linguistic and typological comparison. This involves close investigation of specific grammatical phenomena in various languages, with a view to identifying the precise details of where they differ or are the same, and investigating the wider patterns of linguistic variation and language typology.