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Cambridge Language Sciences

Interdisciplinary Research Centre
Areas of Interest: 
History of the English language
History of London English
Historical code-switching
Historical sociolects


I am a historical sociolinguist.  My work is based on the history of London language.  I have a long-term interest in the specific kind of codeswitching between Medieval Latin, Anglo-Norman French and Middle English visible in accounts and inventories: in particular, late fourteenth to mid-fifteenth century changes in ratios, morphology and syntax.  I am currently preparing a volume with 21 colleagues on how this kind of multilingual situation resulted in the development of Standard English.  My monograph on house names (in press) also considers the influence of Scottish Gaelic and Old Norse, the effects of communities of practice (notably, North British farmers, Nonconformist Christianity), and fashion (notably, the glamour of early 14th century knights resulting in the long-lasting fashion for pubs named after the emblems of heraldry such as the Red Lion).


Key publications: 

(in press).  Wright, Laura.  'Sunnyside: a Sociolinguistic History of British House Names", British Academy/OUP.

2018.  Wright, Laura (ed.).  Southern English Varieties Then and Now.  Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

2018.  Pahta, Paivi, Janne Skaffari and Laura Wright (eds.). Multilingual Practices in Language History: English and Beyond.  Language Contact and Bilingualism 15.  Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

2011.  Schendl, Herbert and Laura Wright, eds.  Code-switching in Early English.  Berlin:  Mouton.

Reader in English Language
Departments and institutes: 
Dr Laura  Wright

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