In what ways do sounds vary between languages and dialects? Are there different ways of being proficient in English, considering the spread of the language around the globe? How does the social media of the Edwardian era compare to ours? Does the language about women in videogames diverge from that about men? How “normal” is the grammar of English from the perspective of the thousands of languages in the world at large?

All these questions will be answered in Speaking of Variation in Language, a series of short online talks that the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University is organising.

For five weeks, we will be holding a session every Wednesday from 13:30 to 14:00 (British Summer Time).

The talks assume no prior knowledge and are aimed at students from Year 10 onwards, their teachers, our current applicants and others interested in variation in language. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions about the topic of the session or about studying linguistics or English language in general and next year.

The talks are free but sign-up via the links below is required.


Date / Time Topic Presenter
Wednesday 20 May 2020, 13:30-14:00 Battle of the grammars: English versus the world’s languages Dr Daniel Van Olmen
Wednesday 27 May 2020, 13:30-14:00 The dance of the tongue: Phonetic variation across languages and dialects Dr Sam Kirkham
Wednesday 3 June 2020,13:30-14:00 Exploring the language about gender in videogames: Big data and corpus linguistics Mr Frazer Heritage
Wednesday 10 June 2020,13:30-14:00 World Englishes and English as a lingua franca: Implications of the spread of English 
Prof Luke Harding


Wednesday 17 June 2020,13:30-14:00


Writing the Edwardian postcard: Formality, informality and multimodality
Dr Julia Gillen

How will the sessions run?

All sessions take place online in Microsoft Teams and will be recorded for later upload to our departmental YouTube channel.