Linguistics in Modern Languages
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Linguistics in Modern Languages is a thriving research cluster, with a strong track record in attracting external funding (AHRC, British Academy and Leverhulme). It is made up of modern languages staff, postdoctoral researchers, and postgraduates working on a wide range of projects. Current research foci include language prescriptivism and standardization, contemporary and historical sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, as well as the history of linguistics and of language teaching.



The School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies (CLAS) at the University of Nottingham is the ideal place to study any aspect of the linguistics of a modern language.


Expertise in our School covers French, German (and Dutch), Spanish & Portuguese, Russian and Slavonic languages. We also have expertise in Chinese and Italian, and a Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies.

We have particular expertise in sociolinguistics, language standardization, historical linguistics, history of language education, history of linguistic theory, grammatography, intercultural communication, and discourse analysis.

In addition to our funded projects we also collaborate with colleagues across the University through the Languages, Texts and Society Research Priority Area to understand how communication, languages and texts function and change in social, scientific and cultural contexts.




Our regular linguistics reading group meets every few weeks during semester, in addition to our research symposia, conferences, and public engagement events.


Over the next few years, many of our activities will be linked to our involvement in the AHRC-funded MEITS project (Multilingualism - Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies, 2016-2020, Nottingham CI Nicola McLelland), and the research network on the history of language learning and teaching, the result of and AHRC research network (PI Nicola McLelland, 2012-2014).

Note too the activities of the our colleagues in the Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies.


Significant results

Selected publications of the Linguistics in Modern Languages research cluster


  • Olivia Walsh, 2016. Les Chroniques de Langage and the Development of Linguistic Purism in Quebec, Nottingham French Studies. 55(2), 132-157
  • Olivia Walsh, 2016. Linguistic Purism: Language Attitudes in France and Quebec. John Benjamins.
  • Richard J. Whitt, 2016. Evidentiality in Early Modern German. Journal of Historical Pragmatics. 17(2), (In Press.)
  • Richard J. Whitt, 2016. Evidentiality in Early Modern English Medical Treatises (1500-1700). Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics. 2(2), (In Press.)
  • Nicola McLelland, 2015. German Through English Eyes.: A History of Language Teaching and Learning in Britain, 1500-2000 Harrassowitz.
  • Olivia Walsh, 2015. Attitudes to English in France. In: LINN, A., N. BERMEL and G. FERGUSON, eds., Attitudes towards English in Europe De Gruyter Mouton. 27-54
  • Alan K. Scott. 2014. The Genitive Case in Dutch and German: A Study of Morphosyntactic Change in Codified Languages. Leiden, Boston: Brill.
  • Nicola McLelland. 2014. French and German in Competition in British Schools, 1850-1945 Documents pour l'histoire du français langue étrangère ou seconde: Special issue:, ed. Marcus Reinfried: French, English and German: three languages in competition between 1850 and 1945. 52, 125-151
  • Nicola McLelland, ed., 2014. Building the history of modern language learning. Special issue of Language and History, 57.1, with an introduction by the editors. 116pp.
  • Nicola McLelland 2014. Language description, prescription and usage in seventeenth-century German.In: RUTTEN, GIJSBERT and VOSTERS, RIK, eds., Norms and Usage in Language History, 1600–1900. A sociolinguistic and comparative perspective Benjamins. 251-276
  • Olivia Walsh, 2014. ‘Les anglicismes polluent la langue française’. Purist attitudes in France and QuebecJournal of French Language Studies. 24(3), 423-449
  • Cecilia Goria, 2013. Collaborative Italian – Using technology to support student-led language teaching Language Education Technologies. 5, 173-184



Linguistics in Modern Languages

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5822