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Cambridge Language Sciences

Interdisciplinary Research Centre


I am a historical sociolinguist.  Many of my publications deal with codeswitching between Medieval Latin, Anglo-Norman French and Middle English in the late fourteenth to mid-fifteenth centuries.  My recent work is on the sociolinguistic properties of words - my forthcoming book is titled Lexical Sociolinguistics: a Historical Approach.


Key publications: 

2021.  Barron, Caroline and Laura Wright (eds.). The London Jubilee Book, 1376-1387: an edition of Trinity College Cambridge, MS O.3.11, folios 133-157.  London: London Record Society.

2020.  Wright, Laura (ed.). The Multilingual Origins of Standard English.  Berlin: de Gruyter.

2020.  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.

Publications (from Symplectic)

Journal articles

2024 (Published online)

  • Wright, L., 2024 (Published online). Peter Trudgill, The long journey of English: A geographical history of the language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023. Pp ix, 177. Pb. £19. Language in Society,
  • 2024

  • Wright, L., 2024. On Words for London Wharves London Journal, v. 49
    Doi: 10.1080/03058034.2022.2156153
  • 2023 (No publication date)

  • Wright, L., 2023 (No publication date). london wharves London Journal,
  • 2020

  • Wright, L., 2020. On early and late modern english non-native suffix -oon International Journal of English Studies, v. 20
  • 2019 (Accepted for publication)

  • Wright, L., 2019 (Accepted for publication). On Early and Late Modern English non-native suffix -oon International Journal of English Studies,
  • 2019

  • Wright, L. and Langmuir, C., 2019. Interpreting charles Lamb's 'Neat-bound books' Studia Anglica Posnaniensia, v. 54
  • 2018

  • Wright, LC., 2018. On the East India Company vocabulary of St Helena in the late 17th and early 18th century World Englishes, v. 36
  • 2015

  • Wright, LC., 2015. Some more on the history of present-tense -s, do and zero: West Oxfordshire, 1837 Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics, v. 1
  • Wright, L., 2015. From Lavender Water to Kiss Me, You Dare!: Shifting Linguistic Norms in the Perfume Industry, 1700-1900 Textus,
  • 2012

  • Wright, L., 2012. On Cribby Islands. Journal of the English Place-Name Society,
  • 2011

  • Wright, LC., 2011. Semantic shift of the colour-terms maroon and magenta in British Standard English Revista de Lengua para Fines Específicos, v. 17
  • Wright, LC., 2011. The Nomenclature of some French and Italian Fireworks in Eighteenth-Century London The London Journal, v. 36
  • Wright, L., 2011. Semantic Shift of the Colour-Terms <i>Maroon</i> and <i>Magenta</i> in British Standard English Revista de Lenguas para Fines Específicos, v. 17
  • 2004

  • Wright, LC., 2004. Daniel Schreier. Isolation and Language Change: Contemporary and Sociohistorical Evidence from Tristan da Cunha English. Palgrave Macmillan. xiv + 237 ISBN 1403904073 English Language and Linguistics, v. 8
  • 2002

  • Wright, LC., 2002. Third person plural present-tense markers in London prisoners’ depositions, 1562-1623 American Speech: a quarterly of linguistic usage, v. 77
  • Wright, LC., 2002. Code-intermediate phenomena in medieval mixed-language business texts Language Sciences, v. 24
  • 2001

  • Wright, L., 2001. Third person singular present-tense -s, -th and zero, 1575 - 1648 American Speech, v. 76
  • Wright, LC., 2001. Ronald E. Kephart, 2000. “Broken English”: The Creole Language of Carriacou. Studies in Ethnolinguistics Vol. 6. New York, etc.: Peter Lang, 2000 The Carrier Pidgin, v. 28
  • 2000

  • Wright, LC., 2000. Social Context, structural categories and medieval business writing Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, v. 3
  • 1998

  • 1998. Stylistics: A practical coursebook By Laura Wright and Jonathan Hope (review) Language, v. 74
    Doi: 10.1353/lan.1998.0090
  • 1997

  • Wright, LC., 1997. Derek Britton (ed.), English HIstorical Linguistics. Papers from the 8th International Conference on English HIstorical Linguistics, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1996 Notes and Queries: for readers and writers, collectors and librarians, v. 242
  • Wright, L., 1997. English historical linguistics 1994. Papers from the 8th International Conference on English Historical Linguistics NOTES QUERIES, v. 44
  • Wright, LC., 1997. Sex differences in Historical Syntax: Early Modern Testimonies in the MS Minutes of the Court of Governors of the Royal Hospitals of Bridewell and Bethlem 1559-1599 Studia Anglica Posnaniensia, v. 31
  • Wright, LC., 1997. The records of Hanseatic merchants: ignorant, sleepy or degenerate? Multilingua: journal of cross-cultural and interlanguage communication, v. 16
  • Wright, LC., 1997. More on the history of shit and shut Studia Anglica Posnaniensia, v. 32
  • 1997. Language Contact through Trade in the Late Middle Ages: Middle Low German and Other North European Languages Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, v. 16
  • Wright, LC., 1997. Terttu Nevalainen and Helena Raumolin-Brunberg (eds) Sociolinguistics and Language History: Studies based on the Corpus of Early English Correspondence Linguistica Antwerpiensia, v. 31
  • 1996

  • Wright, LC., 1996. Female education in Shakespeare’s Stratford and Stratfordian Contacts in Shakespeare’s London Notes and Queries 241 continuous series, v. 43
  • 1995

  • Wright, LC., 1995. Syntactic Structure of Witnesses’ Narratives from the Sixteenth-Century Court Minute Books of the Royal Hospitals of Bridewell and Bedlam Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, v. 96
  • Wright, LC., 1995. The London Middle English Guild Certificates of 1388/89: The Texts Nottingham Medieval Studies, v. 39
  • 1994

  • Wright, LC., 1994. An Exercise in Historical Stylistics Vienna English Working Papers, v. 3
  • 1992

  • Wright, LC., 1992. OED’s tabard, 4 (?) Notes and Queries, v. 39
  • Book chapters


  • Wright, L., 2023. On engaging the radio listener
    Doi: 10.4324/9781003096078-8
  • 2020

  • Wright, L., 2020. A critical look at previous accounts of the standardisation of English
  • Wright, L., 2020. Rising living standards, the demise of anglo-norman and mixed-language writing, and standard english
  • 2017

  • Wright, LC., 2017. A Multilingual Approach to the History of Standard English
  • Wright, L., 2017. <i>Kiss Me Quick</i>: On the Naming of Commodities in Britain, 1650 to the First World War
  • Wright, LC., 2017. On Non-integrated Vocabulary in the Mixed-language Accounts of St Paul’s Cathedral, 1315–1405
  • Wright, L., 2017. Language Contact
  • 2016 (No publication date)

  • 2016 (No publication date). Laura Wright (University of Cambridge): The Hammond Scribe: His Dialect, His Paper, and Folios 133-155 of Trinity College Cambridge MS 0.3.11
    Doi: 10.3726/978-3-653-02178-3/17
  • 2016 (No publication date). Introduction: Richard Dance and Laura Wright
    Doi: 10.3726/978-3-653-03027-3/4
  • 2016 (No publication date). On medieval wills and the rise of written monolingual English: Laura Wright
    Doi: 10.3726/978-3-653-04902-2/12
  • 2015

  • Wright, L., 2015. On Medieval Wills and the Rise of Written Monolingual English
  • Wright, L., 2015. Some early creole-like data from slave speakers
  • Wright, L., 2015. Some Early Creole-Like Data from Slave Speakers: The Island of St. Helena, 1695-1711
  • Wright, L., 2015. On the Place-Name Isle of Dogs
    Doi: 10.16993/bab.f
  • 2013

  • Wright, LC., 2013. The Language of Slaves on the Island of St. Helena, South Atlantic, 1682-1724
  • Wright, L., 2013. On Historical Dictionaries and Language Boundaries: Evidence from Medieval Mixed-Language Business Writing
  • 2012 (No publication date)

  • Wright, LC., 2012 (No publication date). The Hammond scribe: his dialect, his paper, and folios 133-155 of Trinity College Cambridge, MS 0.3.11
  • 2012

  • Wright, LC., 2012. Mixed-Language Accounts as Sources for Linguistic Analysis
  • Wright, L., 2012. On variation and change in London medieval mixed-language business documents
    Doi: 10.1075/cilt.321.06wri
  • Wright, LC., 2012. Early Modern English Language Contact
  • Elsinga, M., O’Mahony, LF., Ong, SE., Smith, SJ. and Wachter, S., 2012. Introduction
  • 2011

  • Wright, LC., 2011. The language of the medieval Bridge House Estate archive
  • Wright, L., 2011. On variation in medieval mixed-language business writing
    Doi: 10.1515/9783110253368.191
  • Schendl, H. and Wright, L., 2011. Code-switching in early English: Historical background and methodological and theoretical issues
  • Schendl, H. and Wright, L., 2011. Introduction
  • Wright, L., 2011. On variation in medieval mixed-language business writing
  • 2010

  • Wright, L., 2010. The contact origins of Standard English
  • Wright, LC., 2010. Eighteenth-Century London Non-Standard Spellings as Evidenced by Servants’, Tradesmen’s and Shopkeepers’ Bills
  • Wright, LC., 2010. A pilot study on the singular definite articles le and la in fifteenth-century London mixed-language business writing
  • Wright, LC. and Schreier, D., 2010. Earliest St Helenian English in writing: Evidence from the St Helena Consultations (1682-1723)
  • 2009

  • Wright, LC., 2009. Reading Late Eighteenth-Century Want Ads
  • 2008

  • Wright, LC., 2008. London speech: stasis and innovation
  • Wright, LC., 2008. Social attitudes towards Londoners’ front-glide insertion after velar consonants and before front vowels
  • Wright, LC., 2008. A City, its River and their Languages: London to 1550
  • 2007

  • Wright, LC., 2007. The Languages of Medieval Britain
  • Wright, LC., 2007. On the Pragmatics of [had like(d) to have + V] in Early and Late Modern English
  • Wright, L., 2007. The Languages of Medieval Britain
  • Wright, LC., 2007. On some Middle English Colour Terms, including pink
  • 2006

  • Wright, LC., 2006. Speaking and Listening in Early Modern London
  • Wright, LC., 2006. On the Global Dissemination of Medical Writing: Medicines Required by a Sea-surgeon in 1715
  • 2005

  • Wright, LC., 2005. Medieval Mixed-Language Business Texts and the Rise of Standard English
  • Wright, LC., 2005. The Space of English: Geographic Space, Temporal Space, and Social Space
  • 2004

  • Wright, LC., 2004. The language of transported Londoners: third-person-singular present-tense markers in depositions from Virginia and the Bermudas, 1607-1624
  • Wright, LC., 2004. Life after degrammaticalisation: plural be
  • 2003

  • Wright, LC., 2003. Eight Grammatical Features of Southern United States Speech present in Early Modern London Prison Narratives
  • 2002

  • Wright, LC., 2002. Standard English and the Lexicon: why so many different spellings
  • Wright, LC., 2002. Linguistics and Postcolonial Literature: Englishes in the Classroom
  • 2001

  • Wright, LC., 2001. The role of international and national trade in the standardisatin of English
  • Wright, LC., 2001. Models of language mixing: Code-switching versus semicommunication in medieval Latin and Middle English accounts
  • Wright, LC., 2001. Some Morphological Features of the Norfolk Guild Certificates of 1388/9: an exercise in variation
  • 2000

  • Wright, LC., 2000. Bills, accounts, inventories: everyday trilingual activities in the business world of later medieval England
  • Wright, LC., 2000. On the construction of some Early Modern English courtroom narratives
  • 1999

  • Wright, LC., 1999. Middle English Variation: the London English Guild Certificates of 1388/9
  • Wright, LC., 1999. Doing the Unexpected: Syntax and Style in Raymond Chandler’s Fiction
  • 1998

  • Wright, LC., 1998. Mixed-language Business Writing: Five Hundred Years of Code switching
  • 1997

  • Wright, LC., 1997. The Concept of the Macrosyntagm in Early Modern English Prison Narratives
  • Wright, LC., 1997. Medieval Latin, Anglo-Norman and Middle English in a Civic London Text: An Inquisition of the River Thames, 1421
  • 1996

  • Wright, LC., 1996. About the Evolution of Standard English
  • 1995

  • Wright, LC., 1995. Middle English -ende and -ing: a possible route to grammaticalization
  • Wright, LC., 1995. A Hypothesis on the Structure of Macaronic Business Writing
  • Wright, LC., 1995. Trade between England and the Low Countries: Evidence from Historical Linguistics
  • 1994

  • Wright, LC., 1994. Early Modern London Business English
  • Wright, LC., 1994. On the Writing of the History of Standard English
  • 1992

  • Wright, LC., 1992. Macaronic writing in a London archive, 1380–1480
  • Books


  • Wright, L., 2020. Sunnyside: A Sociolinguistic History of British House Names
  • Wright, L., 2020. The multilingual origins of standard english
  • 2018

  • Wright, L., 2018. Southern English Varieties Then and Now
  • 2017

  • Pahta, P., Skaffari, J. and Wright, L., 2017. Multilingual Practices in Language History English and Beyond
  • 2012

  • Wright, LC., 2012. The Use and Development of Middle English: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Middle English, Cambridge 2008
  • 2012. The Use and Development of Middle English
  • 2011

  • Wright, L., 2011. Code-switching in Early English
  • 2006

  • Wright, L., 2006. The Development of Standard English, 1300-1800: Theories, Descriptions, Conflicts.
  • 1997

  • Communities, COTE., 1997. Multilingua
  • 1996

  • Wright, L. and Hope, J., 1996. Stylistics: A Practical Coursebook
  • Wright, L., 1996. Sources of London English: Medieval Thames Vocabulary
  • 1995

  • Harding, V. and Wright, L., 1995. London Bridge: Selected Accounts and Rentals, 1381–1538
  • Conference proceedings


  • Wright, L., 2017. On Non-integrated Vocabulary in the Mixed-language Accounts of St Paul’s Cathedral, 1315–1405
    Doi: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266083.003.0012
  • Wright, L., 2017. 6. Kiss Me Quick: on the naming of commodities in Britain, 1650 to the First World War
    Doi: 10.1515/9781501503542-006
  • 2008

  • Wright, LC., 2008. The Playground Language of London Schoolchildren: Southern Voicing Revisited 2004 Harlaxton Symposium,
  • 2006

  • Wright, LC., 2006. Street addresses and directions in mid-eighteenth-century London newspaper advertisements. News Discourse in Early Modern Britain,
  • Professor of English Language
    Departments and institutes: 
    Laura Wright

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