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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Current and Recent Grants


Economic and Social Research Council, 2023-2025

Generations of London English: Language and Social Change in Real Time

Devyani Sharma (QM), Paul Kerswill (York/QM), Kathleen McCarthy (QM), Sam Hellmuth (York)


This project aims to track how London speech is changing in real time, over multiple generations. London has historically been the most important source of both standard and urban vernacular British English, and some of the most significant dialect innovations have taken place in the last quarter century, spurred by migration and rapid social change. The first generation of people to speak these new varieties are now middle-aged and the second generation are adolescents or children. This represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for longitudinal tracking of dialect in real time, as a window into the cognitive and social forces that will shape the future of the language. We will examine generational changes in phonetic and grammatical usage across social class and ethnicity, how children select among these forms to develop their first speech repertoires, how this changes in adulthood, and implications of perception of these forms for equality. The project will also create the first comprehensive London English Corpus.


Systematicity and Variation in Word Structure Processing Across Languages: a Neuro-Typology approach (SAVANT)

Economic and Social Research Council
- with additional support from the NeLLab operating grant at NYU/NYUAD.
The project brings together a global team of researchers to explore how speakers detect, recognise and interpret constituent pieces of complex words
Linnaea StockallChristina Manouilidou (University of Ljubljana), Alec Marantz (NYU/NYUAD)


Cognitive Plasticity and Language Acquisition: The Effects of Linguistic Environment

Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture, Programme de soutien aux équipes de recherche.

Linnaea Stockall; Heather Goad, Fred Genesee, Gigi Luk, Stefano Rezzonico, Phaedra Royle, Karsten Steinhauer, Elin Thordardottir, Lydia White, Denise Klein (McGill University) & Johanne Paradis (University of Alberta); Victoria Joffe (Essex)


Structure and Interpretation in Imere

British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant


Perception and Representation of Prosodic Prominence in Singapore English

British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant
Adam Chong, and James Sneed German (Aix-Marseille Université, Laboratoire Parole et Langage)


Permanency of L1 Attrition of Multiple Linguistic Domains in Returning Albanian Migrants from the UK and US

BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants SRG 2018
Esther de Leeuw, Enkeleida Kapia (Akademia e Studimeve Albanologjike)


Connecting Cognitive Biases and Typological Universals in Syntax

Economic and Social Research Council, 2018-2020
Jennifer Culbertson (Edinburgh), David AdgerKlaus Abels (UCL)

This project will shed light on whether there are universal cognitive biases in language learning, if such biases are at play for particular phenomena, and how people's native languages affect these biases.


Accent Bias and Fair Access in Britain

Economic and Social Research Council, 2017-2019
Erez Levon, Devyani SharmaDominic Watt (York), and Christina Perry (QMUL Law)

The aim of the project is to investigate attitudes to regional accents in Britain today, and the effects that accent bias may or may not have on access to the professions among speakers of different varieties of English in the UK. Combining methods from Linguistics, Psychology, and Economics, the project will focus on the role of accent and other speech factors in people's ability to judge competence in hiring contexts, both members of the public and recruiters in law firms in London and Leeds.


The Scots Syntactic Atlas (SCOSYA)

Arts and Humanities Research Council, 2015-2019
Jennifer Smith (University of Glasgow), David Adger, Caroline Heycock (University of Edinburgh)


Advancing the European Multilingual Experience (AThEME)

European Commission Collaborative Project Award, 2014-2019
Linnaea Stockall, David Adger, Jenny Cheshire, and Hagit Borer, together with colleagues at 16 other European institutions

This grant is to establish the AThEME consortium to study bilingualism and multilingualism in Europe. Research will focus on the following four core research topics.

  1. Regional languages in Multilingual Europe: Linguistics resources in need of resourceful policies
  2. Heritage languages and language users in the EU: challenges and dilemmas of immigrant language maintenance
  3. Multilingualism and communicative impairments (e.g., dyslexia, aphasia, dementia)
  4. Being Multilingual (e.g., factors which lead to successful multilinguals, bilingual advantages in cognitive tasks)

 At QMUL, we will focus on (2) [Adger, Cheshire, Cotter] and (4) [Stockall, Borer].


Perspective and the Self in Natural Language

Marie Curie Career Integration Grant, 2014-2018
Hazel Pearson

Past Grants

Clausal Selection: Integrating Theoretical with Experimental Linguistics (ClauSe: InTEL)

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, 2015-2017
Christos Vlachos, David Adger


Syntactic Uniformity, Syntactic Diversity: Syntactic Building Blocks and their Role in Determining Inter- and Intra-linguistic Variation 

Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, 2015-17
Hagit Borer 

This award is to investigate the cross linguistic consequences of the syntactic architecture that Professor Borer lays out in her 3 volume Structuring Sense series. 


Why Do People from Different Cultures Think Differently?

ESRC, 2013-2016
Alex Mesoudi (PI, University of Exeter), Devyani Sharma, Peter McOwan, Parvati Nair


Learning about the World through Generic Statements: a Cross-linguistic Perspective

British Academy, 2014-2015
Linnaea Stockall, Napoleon Katsos (University of Cambridge), Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga


Is Earlier Always Better? Factors Affecting Bilingual Speech Perception and Production

British Academy, 2012-2014
Esther de Leeuw, Linnaea Stockall


Multicultural London English/Multicultural Paris French

ESRC/ANR, 2010-2014
Jenny Cheshire, Penelope Gardner-Chloros (Birkbeck), Françoise Gadet (Université de Paris-Ouest)


The semantics of definite descriptions

Leverhulme Trust, September 2010-July 2011.
Paul Elbourne investigated the meaning of the word 'the' and related issues.


Atomic Linguistic Elements of Phi (ALEPH)

Arts and Humanities Research Council, 2009-2013
David Adger and Daniel Harbour investigated the features that underly person and number systems.


Intonation Patterns in British and Dutch Radio News Broadcasts

British Academy
Colleen Cotter and co-investigators Carlos Gussenhoven (Queen Mary, University of London and Radboud University Nijmegen) and Hans Van de Velde (Utrecht University) developed a corpus from which to investigate the ways in which intonation patterns in radio news broadcasts in British English and Netherlandic Dutch have changed over time. 


Forms and Functions of Prosodic Structure

The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, January 2008-December 2010.
Carlos Gussenhoven conducted an international network project on Forms and Functions of Prosodic Structure. 


Multicultural London English: the Emergence, Acquisition and Diffusion of a New Variety

Economic and Social Research Council, October 2007-September 2010.
Jenny Cheshire investigated the emergence of a new variety of English in London.


Dialect Development and Style in a Diasporic Community

Economic and Social Research Council, January 2008-January 2010.
Devyani Sharmainvestigated English dialect variation and change within families of Indian origin in London.


The Grammar-Meaning Connection: Evidence from Scottish Gaelic

Leverhulme Trust, September 2006-September 2009.
David Adger investigated the connection between meaning and grammar in Scottish Gaelic.


Linguistic Innovators: the English of Adolescents in London

Economic and Social Research Council, October 2004-September 2007.
investigated linguistic innovation among adolescents in London.


Syntax and Information Packaging in a Polysynthetic Language

Arts and Humanities Research Council, April 2004-April 2007.
investigared information structure in Kiowa.

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