Sociolinguistics research

Sociolinguistics research

We're exploring the relationships between language and society

In our sociolinguistics research, we study the ways language can affect, and is affected by, social phenomena. We're exploring the relationship between language and power, the role language ideology plays in social identity, or how language varies according to class, region or ethnicity.

And with social inequalities becoming increasingly marked on a global scale, our sociolinguistics research is looking at the ways in which language – particularly English – may contribute to such inequalities, or provide opportunities to overcome them.

A recent area of interest concerns the destabilisation of traditional links between language and nation, and consequently, whether different languages are distinct entities, or form part of peoples’ semiotic repertoires.

This understanding of language as social practice can play a vital role in countering the resurgence of nationalist and sovereignist rhetoric around the world.

Our research covers the following topics

  • Language and ideology
  • Language and politics
  • World Englishes
  • English as a lingua franca
  • Translanguaging


Within our sociolinguistics research, we use qualitative research methods to gain rich and meaningful data relating to the interaction between language and social issues.

We also use quantitative approaches – including corpus linguistics – to assist us in the systematic gathering and analysis of large datasets.

Publication highlights

Our work is frequently published in leading journals within the field of sociolinguistics, including World Englishes, the Journal of Sociolinguistics, and English Today.

We've also published monographs, edited volumes, and contributed to major events such as the World Englishes (IAWE) Conference, the English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) Conference, and the Sociolinguistics Symposium.

Our members

Mario Saraceni Portrait

Dr Mario Saraceni

Associate Professor in English Language and Linguistics

School of Education, Languages and Linguistics

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

PhD Supervisor

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Discover our areas of expertise

Sociolinguistics is one of our six areas of expertise within our Linguistics research area. Explore the others below.

Corpus linguistics

We're looking at huge datasets of natural language – often many billions of words – to explore how language is used in different regions, genres and situations.

Two students at a seminar desk
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We're exploring how texts are translated and the practices around the translation of texts, including professional training, the use of technologies, and non-professional translation communities.

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Discourse analysis

We're researching how ideas, concepts and people are represented through language, and exploring how language is used in real-life contexts.

Young man in conversation with older man
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Professional communication

Our research in professional communication explores how spoken and written language is used in workplaces to develop relationships and achieve institutional objectives.

Smiling professional communication student seated at table
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Teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL)

We're focusing on the learning and teaching of English as a second or foreign language, in primary, secondary and adult learning contexts.

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Interested in a PhD in Languages and Linguistics?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Languages and Linguistics postgraduate research degrees page.