Professor Emma Moore
School of English
Professor of Sociolinguistics, British Academy Mid-Career Fellow (2019-2020)
+44 114 222 0232
Full contact details
School of English
1 Upper Hanover Street
I am Professor of Sociolinguistics.
I joined the department in February 2004, following a Lectureship at the University of Manchester. My PhD research was also completed at Manchester. During the course of my PhD, I also studied at Stanford University, USA.
- Research interests
My research explores how individuals and communities use language to construct social styles, differences, and affiliations. My work is interdisciplinary (drawing upon methodologies from anthropology and sociology, in addition to linguistics), often collaborative, and has evolved through Research Projects 1-4 below.
Research project 1 (1999-): Language, adolescence, and the social meaning of syntax
My PhD research on adolescent language employed an ethnographic methodology to examine the ways in which young people used language to reflect and construct social identity. Most significantly, it demonstrated that features of grammar can carry social meaning in ways that had only previously be proven for accent features. I collected a large corpus of data during my PhD, and I continue to analyse and publish on the linguistic phenomena in this dataset. I am currently working on a monograph that uses this data to examine how children exploit grammatical variation to communicate affiliations, attitudes, and stances. By examining the complex ways in which nonstandard grammatical variation functions, I aim to expose the problems with current methods used to teach children Standard English grammar at Key Stages 3 and 4.
External Funding: AHRC PhD student scholarship 1999-2002 (£32,000 + fees); British Academy Small Grant 2007 (£2782); British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship 2019-2020 (£125,000)
Research project 2 (2008-): Language and community identity
This project traces language variation and change on the Isles of Scilly. In addition to documenting an unstudied variety of English (which is of particular significance because of the islands’ geographical isolation and their peculiar history of language contact), the project developed methodologies for working with communities by using community fieldworkers and existing archive resources.
External Funding: AHRC Research Grant 2012-2015 (£199,921)
Research project 3 (2014-): Language and social inequality
This project has evolved from a long term interest in challenging ‘deficit’ views of the language of young people in areas which are considered to be deprived. It has included working with the Park Youth Club in Sheffield in collaboration with a practitioner (Dr. Sarah Spencer, a Speech and Language Therapist), and civic partners in Sheffield (Tracy Brown from the Manor and Castle Development Trust).
This work focused upon the ways in which young people’s language serves to reflect allegiances to place and community. Most recently, I have been focused on challenging primary school educational policy in order to answer questions about the relationship between a child’s dialect and their success at school. To this end, I am working towards a project with Dr. Julia Snell (Leeds), Dr. Sarah Spencer (Sheffield), and Dr. and Mr. Ian Cushing (UCL).
Research project 4 (2016-): Language perceptions
As part of Research Project 2, we developed a piece of software which can be used to test language perceptions. The research community’s interest in this product has resulted in the development of a collaborative project (PI Dr Chris Montgomery) to further test and develop this software as freeware.
- Categories, Constructions, and Change in English Syntax. Cambridge University Press.
- Language and a Sense of Place: Studies in Language and Region. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Analysing Older English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Natural phonetic tendencies and social meaning: Exploring the allophonic raising split of price and mouth on the Isles of Scilly. Language Variation and Change, 30(3), 337-360. View this article in WRRO
- Evaluating S(c)illy voices: The effects of salience, stereotypes, and co-present language variables on real-time reactions to regional speech. Language, 94(3), 629-661. View this article in WRRO
- Constructing social meaning in political discourse: Phonetic variation and verb processes in Ed Miliband's speeches. Language in Society, 45(1), 87-111. View this article in WRRO
- Dialect contact and distinctiveness: The social meaning of language variation in an island community. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 19(1), 3-36. View this article in WRRO
- The social life of style1. Language and Literature, 21(1), 66-83.
- Interaction between social category and social practice: explaining was/were variation. Language Variation and Change, 22(3), 347-371.
- Style, indexicality, and the social meaning of tag questions. Language in Society, 38(4), 447-485.
- ‘You tell all the stories’: Using narrative to explore hierarchy within a Community of Practice1. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 10(5), 611-640.
- Book Review: A Dictionary of Sociolinguistics. Journal of English Linguistics, 33(4), 389-394.
- Sociolinguistic Style: A Multidimensional Resource for Shared Identity Creation. Canadian Journal of Linguistics/Revue canadienne de linguistique, 49(3-4), 375-396.
- Sociolinguistic Style: A Multidimensional Resource for Shared Identity Creation. The Canadian Journal of Linguistics / La revue canadienne de linguistique, 49(3), 375-396.
- “It just sounds proper common”: Exploring the social meanings expressed by nonstandard grammar. Linguistics and Education.
- The role of syntax in the study of sociolinguistic meaning: Evidence from an analysis of right dislocation, Advancing Socio-grammatical Variation and Change: In Honour of Jenny Cheshire (pp. 73-90).
- View this article in WRRO The social meaning of syntax In Hall-Lew L, Moore E & Podesva RJ (Ed.), Social Meaning and Linguistic Variation: Theorizing the Third Wave Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- The dialect of the Isles of Scilly: Exploring the relationship between language production and language perception in a Southern insular variety In Wright L (Ed.), Southern English Varieties Then and Now (pp. 39-73). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
- ‘The Land Steward Wouldn’t Have a Woman Farmer’: The interaction between language, life trajectory and gender in an island community In Montgomery C & Moore E (Ed.), Language and a Sense of Place: Studies in Language and Region (pp. 258-280). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. View this article in WRRO
- Adolescence In Chambers JK & Schilling N (Ed.), The Handbook of Language Variation and Change Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
- On the impossibility of historical sociolinguistics In Denison D, Bermúdez-Otero R, McCully C & Moore E (Ed.), Analysing Older English (pp. 121-125). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- 'Oh, they're top, them': Right dislocated tags and interactional stance In Gregersen F, Parrott JK & Quist P (Ed.), Language Variation - European Perspectives III (pp. 97-110). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
- Variation and Identity In Maguire W & McMahon A (Ed.), Analysing Variation in English (pp. 219-236). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Communities of Practice and peripherality In Llamas C & Watt DJL (Ed.), Language and identities (pp. 123-133). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
- Introduction to Part III, Analysing Older English (pp. 121-125). Cambridge University Press
- Research group
I currently supervise in the areas of variationist sociolinguistics, ethnography, dialectology, gender and sexuality, and ethnicity, and welcome PhD applicants who wish to undertake interdisciplinary work in language and linguistics. My PhD students include:
- Lucy Jones (now Associate Professor in Sociolinguistics, University of Nottingham): The construction of identity in a lesbian community of practice: A sociocultural linguistics approach
- Sam Kirkham (AHRC doctoral award; now Lecturer in Sociophonetics at Lancaster University): A sociophonetic ethnography of language variation and ethnicity in Sheffield
- Kate Burland-Gibson (now Associate Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University) : Sociophonetic variation and change in a post-industrial, South Yorkshire speech community.
- Hannah Leach (Wolfson Scholarship, now Teaching Fellow in Phonetics and Phonology at Newcastle University): Language and identity in Stoke-on-Trent
- Isabelle van der Bom (Faculty studentship): Non-British identity and language use: A Text Word theory approach
- Cheryl Mahmoud: Dialect and identity in the Birmingham Grime Music scene
- Holly Dann (co-supervised with Chris Montgomery; WRoCAH scholarship): Language variation and change in Cornish English.
- Hielke Vriesendorp (co-supervised with Chris Montgomery; University Prize Scholarship): Locating sociolinguistic knowledge: how language users store and process the social meaning of linguistic variation.
- Nathaniel Dzuira (WRoCAH scholarship): Does involvement with British culture and the LGBTQ+ community affect the use of linguistic features in Polish second-language speakers of English?
- Teaching activities
I’m committed to teaching innovation and, much like my research, my teaching tends to be data-led. I teach on both the BA in English Language and Linguistics and the MA in English Language and Linguistics. I contribute to ‘Varieties of English’, and convene ‘Sociolinguistics’, and ‘Language and Gender’ at undergraduate level. I convene ‘Linguistics in Context’ and ‘Linguistics in Practice’ at graduate level.
I have supervised three University of Sheffield-funded Student Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) projects:
2014 Kate Moore, “How do female performers use language to project authentic identities as rap artists in a male-dominated industry?”
2014 Annabelle Jones, “The role of language style in the maintenance of gender inequalities in the academic workplace”
2009 Shivonne Gates, “An online oral history database, hosting the contents of the Museum’s oral history archive.”
- Professional activities
Editorial Board membership
Language in Society, Cambridge University Press (2015-)
Gender and Language, Equinox Publications (2011-2017)
I am a member of the AHRC Peer Review College (2017-). I also review regularly for the ESRC, and have reviewed for the National Science Foundation in the USA.
Language Variation and Change journal; Journal of English Linguistics; Journal of Sociolinguistics; Edinburgh University Press; Wiley-Blackwell.
External Examining (taught programmes)
I was the external examiner for the MA in English Language at Lancaster University, UK (2013-2017).
Learned Societies memberships
Elected fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute (2014).
Member of the Linguistic Society of America (2017)
Member of the International Gender and Language Association (2003-).