Emeritus Professor Joan C. Beal

BA(Hons) Newcastle University
Ph.D Newcastle University

email : j.c.beal@sheffield.ac.uk

Photograph of Joan Beal


I am Emeritus Professor of English Language.

I was previously at Newcastle University, where I was a lecturer in English Language from 1977 to 1999 and then senior lecturer from 1999 to 2001, when I left to take up my post in Sheffield.

I am one of the co-editors of the Edinburgh University Press Dialects of English series and a member of the AHRC Peer Review College. I have also served on AHRC review panels.


My research interests are in two areas: the history of English in the Late Modern period (1700-1945) and dialect and identity in North of England, but I often work on the interface between them.

My PhD, subsequently published in 1999 as English Pronunciation in the Eighteenth Century: Thomas Spence's 'Grand Repository of the English Language' (Oxford: Clarendon Press) was concerned with a pronouncing dictionary written by the Newcastle-born radical, Thomas Spence in 1775. This led me to consider the relationship between linguistic thought and radical politics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as the nature of linguistic change in the Later Modern period. It also sparked an interest in the nature of prescriptivism and the continuities and contrasts between prescriptive texts of the 18th century and those of the present day.

Having spent all my career in the North of England, I have a long-standing interest in the dialects of this region. I contributed the chapters on the phonology and morphosyntax of northern English dialects to the multi-volume publication Varieties of English. I have just completed (with Lourdes Burbano and Carmen Llamas) a book on the dialects of the North-east of England, which will be published in 2012 by Edinburgh University Press.

I was a co-investigator on the AHRC-funded Newcastle Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English (NECTE) project. The end product of this project is a website incorporating a major corpus of Tyneside English speech with orthographic and phonetic transcriptions, tagging and sound-files.

The Newcastle Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English

This has led to an interest in constructing linguistic corpora and I am currently exploring the possibility of creating a corpus or database of 18th-century English phonology.

Selected Publications


  • An Introduction to Regional Englishes. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2010.
  • (With Philip Shaw) Revised and updated edition of Barber The English Language: a Historical Introduction Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  • (ed. with C. Nocera & M. Sturiale) Perspectives on Prescriptivism. Bern: Peter Lang, 2008.
  • (ed. with K.P. Corrigan & H.L. Moisl) Creating and Digitizing Language Corpora: Vol. 1, Synchronic Databases; Vol. 2, Diachronic Databases. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
  • Language and Region London: Routledge, 2006.
  • English in Modern Times 1700-1945. London: Hodder Arnold, 2004.
  • English Pronunciation in the Eighteenth Century: Thomas Spence's 'Grand Repository of the English Language’ Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999.


  • (with Chris Montgomery) ‘Perceptual Dialectology’ in McMahon, A. & Maguire, W. (eds.) Analysing Variation in English Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. 2011.
  • ‘The contribution of the Rev. Joseph Hunter’s Hallamshire Glossary (1829) to Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary’ in Markus, M., R. Heuberger and C. S. Upton (eds.) Wright’s Dialect Dictionary and Beyond. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 2010
  • ‘Prescriptivism and the suppression of variation’, in Hickey, R. (ed.) Eighteenth Century English. Ideology and Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2010, 21-37.
  • ‘Shifting Borders and Shifting Regional Identities’ in Llamas, C. and Watt, D (eds.) Language and Identities Edinburgh University Press, 2010, 217-226
  • ‘Three hundred years of prescriptivism (and counting)’, Tieken-Boon van Ostade, I and Van der Wurff, W. (eds) Current Issues in Late Modern English. Bern: Peter Lang, 2009, 35-56.
  • ‘Creating corpora from legacy materials’in Renouff, A. and Kehoe, A. (eds.) Corpus Linguistics: Refinements and Reassessment . Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009, 33-48.
  • ‘Pronouncing Dictionaries I- Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries’ in Cowie, T. (ed) The Oxford History of Lexicography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, 149-175.
  • (with K. Corrigan) ‘A Tale of Two Dialects: Relativisation. in Newcastle and Sheffield’ in Filppula, M. Palander, M., Klemola, J. and Penttilä, E. (eds.) Dialects across Borders Amsterdam: Benjamins, 2005, 211-229.
  • (with K. Corrigan) ‘“No, Nay, Never”: Negation in Tyneside English’, in Y. Iyeiri (ed.) Aspects of Negation in English. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 2005, 139-156.
  • ‘“Marks of Disgrace”: attitudes to non-standard pronunciation in eighteenth-century pronouncing dictionaries’ in Lass, R. & Dossena, M. (eds.) Methods and Data in English Historical Dialectology Bern: Peter Lang, 2004, 329-349.
  • ‘The Phonology of English Dialects in the North of England’ in Kortmann, B and Schneider, E. W. (eds.) A Handbook of Varieties of English, Volume I. Berlin: Mouton, 2004, 113-133.
  • ‘The Morphology and Syntax of English Dialects in the North of England’ in Kortmann, B. and Upton, C. (eds.) A Handbook of Varieties of English, Volume II. Berlin: Mouton, 2004, 114-141.

Journal Articles

  • ‘Enregisterment, Commodification and Historical Context: “Geordie” versus “Sheffieldish”, American Speech 84 (2) 2009, 138-156.
  • ‘“You’re not from New York City, you’re from Rotherham’: dialect and identity in UK “Indie” Music’ Journal of English Linguistics 37: 2009, 223-240.
  • (With W. A. Kretzschmar, J. Anderson, K. P. Corrigan, L. Opas-Hänninen, & B. Plichta ‘Collaboration on Corpora for Regional and Social Analysis’, Journal of English Linguistics 34, 2006: 172-205.
  • ‘Geordie Nation: Language and Identity in the North-east of England’, Lore and Language 17, 33-48, 2004.
  • ‘Out in Left Field: Spelling Reformers of the Eighteenth Century’ in Transactions of the Philological Society 100.1, 2002: 5-23.
  • ‘From Geordie Ridley to Viz: Popular Literature in Tyneside English’ in Language and Literature 9. 4, 2000: 343-359.