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Languages and Applied Linguistics

Language is central to people’s social, political, personal and professional lives, and a powerful resource for communicating, learning and building knowledge across the lifespan. Our research reflects our belief in the important social role played by language in various contexts and our commitment to effecting real social change. We pursue world-leading innovative research in three main areas:

  • language and learning, including language education, teaching and learning across the curriculum, educational technology, and language testing;
  • language and society, including language and globalisation, social work, medical humanities, and language policy;
  • language and creativity, including cutting-edge work into the language of social media.

Our research draws on a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches under a broadly sociocultural framework, including corpus linguistics, multimodality and discourse analysis.

We work closely with non-academic organisations and institutions, both nationally and internationally, from schools, universities and teacher training colleges to NGOs, social work agencies and local authorities. Our research has been funded by a range of external funding bodies including the UK research councils (AHRC and ESRC) and the European commission.

Our research in the Languages and Applied Linguistics cluster encompasses Modern Languages, English Language Studies and Applied Linguistics. Within our research cluster, there are two research groups:

  • Applied Linguistics and Literacies (ALLRG) focuses on the social, cultural and political roles that spoken and written language plays across contexts ranging from higher education and English language teaching to social work and traditional and social media, drawing on perspectives including linguistic ethnography, critical literacies, corpus linguistics and narrative analysis.
  • Open Languages (OLRG) focuses on research into the learning, teaching of languages and cultures in technology-mediated contexts and from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives. Beyond the application of new technologies and social media, intercultural communicative competence and digital literacies development, our scholarly work also includes language education policy and practice.