LINGUIST List 28.696

Mon Feb 06 2017

Support: English; Sociolinguistics; Historical Linguistics / United Kingdom

Editor for this issue: Amanda Foster <>

Date: 03-Feb-2017
From: Devyani Sharma <>
Subject: English; Sociolinguistics; Historical Linguistics, PhD, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom
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Department: Linguistics
Web Address:

Level: PhD

Institution/Organization: Queen Mary University of London

Duties: Research

Specialty Areas: Historical Linguistics; Sociolinguistics

Required Language(s): English (eng)


The Department of Linguistics at Queen Mary University of London is pleased to announce an ESRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Fellowship (MRes + PhD) on the theme of ''100 Years of Continuity and Change in Spoken British English''. The studentship involves collaboration between the Department of Linguistics at Queen Mary University of London and the British Library.

Theme: ''100 Years of Continuity and Change in Spoken British English''

Partner Institution: The British Library

Studentship type: 1+3 (1 year MRes Linguistics + 3 year PhD). Please check eligibility guidance carefully at Students should have a first-class/equivalent BA in Linguistics or a merit/equivalent MA in Linguistics or a closely related field.

September 2017 entry
Application deadline: 12 April 2017

Project description:

The project will compile a diachronic corpus of sound recordings from the historic holdings of the British Library Sound Archive, an unparalleled collection of natural British speech spanning over a century. The corpus design will aim for a balanced selection across region, register, and demographic factors while maximising time depth. Using this unique corpus, the project will investigate a fundamental theoretical challenge in the study of language change: What is the relative importance of linguistic factors, frequency, and social factors in changes observed in British English over time? This question has been difficult to address fully due to the lack of audio archives with sufficient time depth. Recent historical corpora have begun to remedy this, with some unexpected findings regarding the role of frequency in phonetic change (Hay et al. 2015), intensifying the debate over the relative role of frequency, among other factors, in large-scale dialect change (Labov 2010; Kiparsky 2016). A substantial diachronic corpus will also permit deeper investigation of related themes such as vernacular stability, social factors in change (e.g. age, demographics, gender, class), and co-variation in change. As this is a 1+3 studentship, the student and the supervisory team will refine the scope of the project during the first year. Alongside a range of research expertise, the successful candidate will acquire expertise in archival and library sciences and experience working in a major public institution. The project will also incorporate public engagement activities including reports to schools, to the British Library, and to the general public.

Supervisors: Devyani Sharma, Esther de Leeuw (Queen Mary University of London), Jonnie Robinson (British Library)

Funding (fees and living stipend) will be provided by the new London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (

The Linguistics Department at QMUL is a vibrant research community that currently includes 17 research and teaching staff and 25 PhD students. The department was top-ranked in REF2014 and RAE2008. For further details, see the department website (

Interested candidates should consult the LISS website ( for further details of how to apply. Application deadline: 12 April 2017.

Please address any enquiries to Devyani Sharma at of London and the British Library.

Applications Deadline: 12-Apr-2017

Web Address for Applications:

Contact Information:
        Devyani Sharma

Page Updated: 06-Feb-2017