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Dr Laura Wright

History of the English language; history of London English; historical code-switching; historical sociolects
Dr Laura Wright

Reader in English Language

History of the English language

History of London English

Historical code-switching

Historical sociolects

Office Phone: (+44) (0)1223 767322

Departments and Institutes

Faculty of English:

Research Interests

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).


  • Historical linguistics
  • Code-switching
  • English

Key Publications

May 2019 (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.