Skip to main content
School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Professor Leigh Oakes


Professor of French and Linguistics

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8319
Room Number: Arts One 1.05A


Originally from Adelaide, Australia, I completed my BA at the University of Melbourne, majoring in French, Swedish and Linguistics. My PhD, also from the University of Melbourne, was on language and national identity in France and Sweden. Thanks to a scholarship from the Swedish Institute, I spent 18 months at the Centre for Research on Bilingualism at Stockholm University as part of my PhD. Since I began at Queen Mary in January 2000, I have developed a broader expertise in language policy and planning (LPP), continuing to work on France and Sweden, but focusing now especially on Quebec. In recent years, I have become particularly interested in the linguistic justice debate in political theory and philosophy and have been involved in promoting the emerging interdisciplinary field of ‘normative language policy’.

Professional activities:


  • FRE6200 Language and Society in the French-Speaking World (level 6)
  • FRE5201 The Sounds of French (level 5)
  • SML/COM4006 Culture and Language (linguistics block) (level 4)
  • FRE4200 French 1 (level 4)


Research Interests:

Language policy and planning; language and nationalism/national identity (especially in France, Québec and Sweden); language attitudes and ideologies; French sociolinguistics

Current projects

The fair terms of linguistic integration

In an age of increased immigration, how are newcomers to be integrated fairly and equitably into the languages of host societies? What are the legitimate expectations of newcomers and host societies alike concerning their respective rights and duties in the linguistic integration process? And how should linguistic integration be conceived, especially in host societies whose languages do not enjoy global status and appeal? Rooted in an ongoing commitment to interdisciplinary approaches to complex real-world social challenges involving language policy, this project brings together four scholars from different pertinent disciplines to begin to systematically explore such questions and pave the way for an integrated theoretical framework for the study of the ethics of linguistic integration from a liberal democratic perspective. Combining the empirical rigour of applied linguistics/sociolinguistics with the analytical capacity of political philosophy/theory, the project compares the cases of England, Quebec and Wales to build the foundations for a comprehensive understanding of the ethics of linguistic integration that takes into account the interests, anxieties and aspirations of the various actors involved in the integration process.



Oakes, L. & Peled, Y. (2018). Normative Language Policy: Ethics, Politics, Principles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Oakes, L. & Warren, J. (2009). Langue, citoyenneté et identité au Québec. Ste-Foy: Les Presses de l'Université Laval. (Translation of title below)

Oakes, L. & Warren, J. (2007). Language, Citizenship and Identity in Quebec. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. (Winner of the 2008 Pierre Savard prize (category: book in English or French) awarded by the International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS).)

Lockerbie, I. Molinaro, I., Larose, K. & Oakes, L. (2005). French as the Common Language in Québec: History, Debates and Positions. (New Perspectives in Québec Studies 2). Montréal: Éditions Nota bene.

Oakes, L. (2001). Language and National Identity: Comparing France and SwedenAmsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Edited volumes and special issues

Wide, C., Norrby, C. & Oakes, L. (eds.) (2021). Neue Perspektiven auf Plurizentrizität / New perspectives on pluricentricity / Nouvelles perspectives sur la pluricentricité. (Sociolinguistica 35).

Articles and book chapters

Oakes, L. (forthcoming). Normative language policy: a new interdisciplinary framework for LPP research. In J. Lo Bianco and A. Lundberg (eds.) Research in Language Policy and Language Planning. London: Bloomsbury.

Oakes, L. (2024). The historical development of language policy and planning. In M. Gazzola, F. Grin, L. Cardinal & K. Heugh (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Language Policy and Planning. Abingdon: Routledge, 35-48.

Howard, M. & Oakes, L. (2024). Motivation for LOTE learning: a cross-country comparison of university learners of French. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 45(2): 427-443.

Oakes, L. & Howard, M. (2022). Learning French as a foreign language in a globalised world: an empirical critique of the L2 Motivational Self System. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 25(1): 166-182.

Oakes, L. & Peled, Y. (2021). Pluricentric linguistic justice in Quebec: an attitudinal study of the politics of norm setting in French. Language Problems and Language Planning 45(3): 331-356.

Oakes, L. (2021). Pluricentric linguistic justice: a new ethics-based approach to pluricentricity in French and other languages. Sociolinguistica 35, 49-71.

Oakes, L. (2017) Normative language policy and minority language rights: rethinking the case of regional languages in France. Language Policy 16(4): 365-384.

Oakes, L. (2016). Droits et obligations linguistiques au Québec: apports d’une approche éthique. In G. Potriquet, D. Huck & C. Truchot (eds). « Droits linguistiques » et « droits à la langue ». Identification d’un objet d’étude et construction d’une approche. Limoges: Lambert-Lucas, 179-188.

Oakes, L. (2013). Foreign language learning in a 'monoglot culture': Motivational variables amongst students of French and Spanish at an English university. System 41(1): 178-191.

Oakes, L. (2013). Beyond diglossia? Language attitudes and identity in Reunion. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 34(1): 30-45.

Oakes, L. (2011). Regional languages, the European Charter and Republican values in France today. In C. Norrby & J. Hajek (eds.) Uniformity and Diversity in Language Policy: Global Perspectives. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 68-85.

Warren, J. & Oakes, L. (2011). Language policy and citizenship in Quebec: French as a force for unity in a diverse society? In C. Norrby & J. Hajek (eds.) Uniformity and Diversity in Language Policy: Global Perspectives. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 7-21.

Oakes, L. (2011). Promoting language rights as fundamental individual rights: France as a model? French Politics 9 (1): 50-68.

Oakes, L. (2010). Lambs to the slaughter? Young francophones and the role of English in Quebec todayMultilingua 29 (3-4): 265-288.

Oakes, L. (2008). Language planning and policy in Quebec. In D. Ayoun (ed.) Studies in French Applied Linguistics. (Language Learning and Language Teaching 21). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 345-385.

Oakes, L. (2007). Whose French? Language attitudes and linguistic insecurity in Québec. In M. Howard (ed.) Language Issues in Canada: Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 64-85.

Linn, A. & Oakes, L. (2007) Language policies for a global era: the changing face of language politics in Scandinavia. In C. Fandrych and R. Salverda (ed.) Standard, Variation und Sprachwandel in germanischen Sprachen/Standard, Variation and Language Change in Germanic Languages. (Studien zur deutschen Sprache 41). Mannheim: Institut für Deutsche Sprache, 59-90.

Oakes, L. (2006). Le défi de l’ethnicité: modèles de nation et politique linguistique au Québec et ailleurs. In P. Georgeault and M. Pagé (eds) Le français, langue de la diversité québécoise.(Débats) Montréal: Québec Amérique, 107-129.

Oakes, L. (2005). From internationalisation to globalisation: Language and the nationalist revival in SwedenLanguage Problems and Language Planning 29 (2): 151-176.

Oakes, L. (2004) Le français comme 'langue publique commune' au QuébecGlobe: Revue internationale d'études québécoises 7(2): 155-176.

Oakes, L. (2004). French - a language for everyone in Québec? Nations and Nationalism 10 (4): 539-558.

Oakes, L. (2004). Language, Identity and Globalisation in Sweden. In L. R. N. Ashley and W. H. Finke (eds.), Language and Identity: Selected Papers (from the American Society of Geolinguistics International Conference, October 2-5, 2002). New York: Cummings and Hathaway, 7-20

Oakes, L. (2002). Multilingualism in Europe: An effective French identity strategy? Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development23 (5): 371-387.

Oakes, L. (2002). Phonostylistique des annonceurs de la radio: Etude prosodique de textes radiophoniques. Journal of French Language Studies 12 (3): 279-306.

Other publications

Darquennes, J., Oakes, L. & Riehl, C. (2022). Sociolinguistica: past, present and future. Sociolinguistica 36 (1-2): 1-7.

Wide, C., Norrby, C. & Oakes, L. (2021). New perspectives on pluricentricity. Sociolinguistica 35: 1-7.

Oakes, L. & Howard, M. (2019). Foreign language motivation in a globalised world: the case of languages other than English (LOTEs). In P. Maguire (ed.) Foreign Language Learning and Ireland’s Languages Connect Strategy. Reflections following a symposium organised by the National University of Ireland with University College Cork (Education and Society, Occasional Papers No. 1). Dublin: National University of Ireland, 26-34.

Oakes, L. (2019) Regional language policy for a 21st-century RepublicPreface to Harrison, M. & A. Joubert (eds.) French Language Policies and the Revitalisation of Regional Languages in the 21st Century. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, v-ix.

Oakes, L. & Howard, M. (2019). Foreign language motivation in a globalised world: the case of languages other than English (LOTEs).

Oakes, L. (2015). Parrots, pasta and the politics of language. The Ninth Eccles Centre for American Studies Plenary Lecture given at the British Association for Canadian Studies Annual Conference, 2014. London: British Library.

Oakes, L. (2003). Svenskan och svenskhetenSpråkvård 3/03: 30-35.


I have supervised a number of PhD students in a range of sociolinguistic topics both within and outside the French-speaking world.

I welcome applications from candidates wishing to undertake doctoral research in the following areas:

  • Language policy and planning
  • Language and nationalism/national identity
  • Language ideologies
  • Language attitudes
  • French sociolinguistics

Current PhD Students:

Scott Kunkel - Bidialectal French speakers' language attitudes and perception of gradient acoustic differences

Chiara Ardoino - Code-Switching in the French Caribbean Media: Negotiation and Accommodation in a Linguistic Continuum

Past PhD students:

Sujin Lee - The making of multilingual South Korea: Inter-discourse of neo-nationalism and transnationalism

Rachelle Vessey - Language ideologies and discourses of national identity in Canadian newspapers: A cross-linguistic corpus-assisted discourse study

Rusudan Amirejibi-Mullen - Language policy and national identity in Georgia

Ruth Kircher - Language attitudes in Quebec: A contemporary perspective

Jon Orman - Language and nation-building in post-apartheid South Africa

Back to top