Photograph of Joan BealA Sense of Place: Studies in Language & Region

A one-day symposium in honour of Professor Joan Beal

Saturday 6th April, 10.00-18:00
The Exhibition Space, Jessop West, University of Sheffield.

Keynote speakers

  • Professor Karen Corrigan, Newcastle University
  • Professor Barbara Johnstone, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Dr. Carmen Llamas, University of York
  • Professor Sali Tagliamonte, University of Toronto


Place has always been central to studies of language variation and change. Since the eighteenth century, dialectologists have been mapping language features according to boundaries – both physical (rivers, hills) and institutional (districts and regions). In the twentieth-century, variationist sociolinguists developed techniques to correlate language use with speakers’ orientations to place (using social network and community of practice approaches to data collection). More recently, perceptual dialectologists are examining the cognitive and ideological processes involved in language-place correlations and working on ways to understand how speakers mentally process space.

This one-day event will celebrate the work of Professor Joan Beal and will bring together academics working across the field of language variation and change to explore twenty-first century approaches to place. It will offer a forum in which to share approaches, findings and theoretical insights.

The day will be structured around four keynote papers to be delivered by internationally-renowned linguists. These talks will reflect on the function of place in historical linguistics, dialectology, and variationist sociolinguistics.


10:00 Welcome
10:30 Professor Sali Tagliamonte: “Changing Places: Tracking innovation and obsolescence across generations”
11:30 Tea/coffee break
11:50 Professor Karen Corrigan: “Describing Places: Corpora for Regional And Social Analysis”
12:50 Lunch
14:00 Dr. Carmen Llamas: “Identifying places: Borders, boundaries and hinterlands”
15:00 Tea/coffee break
15:20 Professor Barbara Johnstone: “Enregistering Places: Characterological Figures in Dialect Enregisterment”
16:30 Wine reception
18:00 Close


Registration is now open.

Click here to register.

Registration is open until 25th March.


Dr. Emma Moore (
Dr. Chris Montgomery (

This event has been made possible by the support of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the School of English.