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Research in Linguistics and English Language


The Department of Linguistics and English Language at Manchester is virtually unique in the UK and beyond in the breadth of subject areas and theoretical approaches represented by its members, many of whom are internationally renowned scholars in their specialisms. Particular strengths in the discipline include: endangered languages, field linguistics and language documentation, the linguistics of English (both synchronic and diachronic), phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax (especially lexical-functional grammar and construction grammar), typology, language contact and sociolinguistics, historical linguistics (especially English, Romance and Germanic), (formal) semantics and pragmatics, and corpus and computational linguistics.

Manchester is an international centre for research activities in Linguistics and English language. Manchester scholars contributed to The Cambridge history of the English language and The Cambridge grammar of the English language, and serve on the editorial boards of major journals and publishers: one of the editors of the journal English Language and Linguistics and the editor of Romani Studies are at Manchester.

The Manchester Phonology Meeting, which takes place annually in May, has arguably become the world's most important regular conference for phonologists. 2011 will see Manchester host three major conferences: the annual meeting of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain, the 12th International Pragmatics conference, and the 6th conference on the Semantics of Underrepresented Languages in the Americas. We have also hosted the Manchester Postgraduate Linguistics Conference, a conference organized by postgraduates for postgraduates, for more than 15 years.

Linguistics and English Language RAE successs

The Research Assessment Exercise 2008 has judged more than half of Linguistics and English Language work to be in the top two research categories of 4* (defined as 'world-leading') and 3* ('internationally excellent').

LEL belongs to the School of Languages, Linguistics and  Cultures, which is home to the RAE's top-ranked departments of Iberian and Latin American Studies and Russian, Slavonic and East European Studies as well as containing departments of German, Italian, French and Middle Eastern Studies, all with 50% or more of their work assessed by the RAE panels to be in the highest bands of research excellence. These departments include many further specialists in linguistics and related fields, and their activities come together within the newly founded Institute for Linguistics and Language Study (http://www.llc.manchester.ac.uk/ills/).

The department forms part of the School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures which RAE 2008 has shown to be among the leading units of its kind in the country. Moreover, the University of Manchester has emerged from this RAE as one of the UK's top four or five Universities for research and one which boasts a breadth of research achievement spread across more distinct discipline areas than any other UK institution.

So if your aim is to conduct doctoral or post-doctoral research in linguistic theory in relation to English and/or some of the many other languages of Europe and the world, then the University of Manchester is the place to be.

Recent and Forthcoming Conferences

New research

The School has posted some forthcoming papers by members of the Department on a page devoted to new research.

Related links

Part of Manchester's strength is the breadth of expertise available.  We work with linguistics specialists elsewhere in the School as well, including Iris Bachmann (Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies), Delia Bentley(Italian), Maj-Britt Mosegaard Hansen and Thanh Nyan (French), John Healey (Middle Eastern Studies), and also beyond it, notably Elena Lieven (Psychology), Gina Conti-Ramsden and her colleagues (Speech and Language Therapy), David Langslow (Classics). All the linguists in the School are now members of the Institute for Linguistics and Language Studies (ILLS), reflecting and enabling the critical mass of linguistic research. The ILLS - DON NOT UPDATE - INSTITUTE DISCONTINUED pages show the range and depth of linguistic work in the School.

For convenience we have gathered information on research within the Department on English Language and within and beyond it on Applied Linguistics.


Research profiles

Maciej Baranowski: Language variation and change; sociolinguistics; dialects of English; sociophonetics.

Paul Bennett: Syntax; morphology; computational linguistics; contrastive linguistics.

Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero: Phonology and morphology; historical linguistics; English; Spanish.

Kersti Börjars: English grammar; Germanic linguistics; morphology; syntax and syntactic theory.

David Denison: History of English (including current change); English syntax; English semantics; gradience in morphosyntax; linguistic corpora. Co-editor of English Language and Linguistics.

Martina Faller: Semantics; pragmatics; typology; field linguistics; Quechua.

Yuni Kim: Phonology and phonetics; morphology; language documentation; Mesoamerican languages; North Germanic.

Andrew Koontz-Garboden: The syntax-semantics interface; lexical and formal semantics; typology, language documentation and endangered languages.

Yaron Matras: Language contact; Romani linguistics; functional typology; bilingualism; descriptive linguistics; pragmatics; sociolinguistics; language standardisation; linguistic fieldwork; minority languages; historical linguistics; dialectology; German, Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish, Hebrew and Germanic languages. Editor of Romani Studies.

Filippo Nereo: German linguistics, Speech enclaves and language obsolescence, Post-war European population movements and identity

John Payne: Grammatical theory; typology; formal semantics; Germanic, Slavic, Iranian and Uralic.

Serge Sagna: Documentation of Joola languages (Atlantic, West Africa); nominal and verbal classification.

Erik Schleef: Language variation and change; acquisition of linguistic variation; sociolinguistics and perception; language and gender in educational settings

Eva Schultze-Berndt: Typology; semantics; language documentation; language contact; Australian languages.

Nuria Yáñez-Bouza: English historical sociolinguistics (mainly syntax); prescriptivism and the eighteenth-century grammatical tradition; language variation and change; corpus linguistics.