Dr Emma Moore

BA (Manchester); MA (Manchester); PhD (Manchester)

Room 5.03, Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA

Internal extension: 20232
Tel: +44 (0)114-222-0232
Fax: +44 (0)114-222-8481

email : e.moore@sheffield.ac.uk

Dr Emma Moore


I am Senior Lecturer in Sociolinguistics.

I joined the department in February 2004, following a Lectureship at the University of Manchester. My PhD research was also completed at Manchester. During the course of my PhD, I also studied at Stanford University, USA.


My research examines the relationship between language and identity. In particular, I explore how individuals and communities use language to construct social styles, differences, and affiliations. I’m also interested in how and why language change occurs over time. This means figuring out which aspects of change can be explained by language-internal constraints and which are caused by social factors.

Much of my published research has focused on the language used by adolescents, but my methods and forms of analysis have enabled me to address the relationship between language and social factors more generally. In particular, I have explored the extent to which speakers are able to adapt their speech to reflect community memberships and associations. My work with adolescents demonstrates that the style of language used by an individual can constitute different identities dependent upon the context in which an utterance occurs. Sometimes language features may reflect someone’s social class or, at other times, place, peer-group or social aspirations affect how and why people use particular language forms. Understanding what language features mean socially offers a way to understand how individuals and social groups are evaluated. This may have implications on how we address issues of social inequality.

My latest work is on an AHRC funded project, entitled Language and distinctiveness on the Isles of Scilly. The Isles of Scilly are a highly heterogeneous island community 28 miles west of Land’s End, Cornwall. Scilly’s population includes ethnic Scillonians, incomers, and seasonal workers. This population mix makes Scilly open to on-going social and linguistic change. The project is documenting the island’s historical trajectory by analysing change in language use over time, and assessing the extent and direction of any change. More generally, the project will increase our understanding of the nature of modern communities and societal structure, and will increase our knowledge of sociolinguistic processes. Most of my previous work has focused on morphosyntax and discourse, but I’m lucky to be working with a great phonetician on this project, Dr Paul Carter.

See Scilly Voices


I´m committed to teaching innovation and, much like my research, my teaching tends to be data-led. I teach on both the BA in English Language and Linguistics and the MA in English Language and Linguistics. I contribute to modules on `Varieties of English´, `Sociolinguistics´, and `Language and Gender´ at undergraduate level, and `Linguistics in Context' and ‘Linguistics in Practice’ at graduate level.

In 2008, I undertook a University of Sheffield funded Knowledge Transfer project in collaboration with the Five Islands School on the Isles of Scilly. This produced a publicly-available scheme of work for teaching Language and Identity.

Language and Identity in the National Curriculum: A Scheme of Work


I currently supervise in the areas of variationist sociolinguistics, ethnography, dialectology, gender and sexuality, and ethnicity, and welcome PhD applicants who wish to undertake interdisciplinary work in language and linguistics. My PhD students include:

  • Lucy Jones (now Associate Professor in Sociolinguistics, University of Nottingham): The construction of identity in a lesbian community of practice: A sociocultural linguistics approach
  • Sam Kirkham (AHRC doctoral award; now Lecturer in Sociophonetics at Lancaster University): A sociophonetic ethnography of language variation and ethnicity in Sheffield
  • Kate Burland: Dialect variation in an ex-mining community in Barnsley
  • Isabelle van der Bom (Faculty studentship): Non-British identity and language use: A Text Word theory approach
  • Sonia Chib: Dialect writing in Sheffield
  • Hannah Leach (Wolfson Scholarship): Language and identity in Stoke-on-Trent

Selected Publications


  • Moore, Emma & Paul Carter (submitted) “Dialect contact and distinctiveness: The social meaning of language variation in an island community”.
  • Moore, Emma (2012) “The social life of style.” Language and Literature 21 (1): 66-83.
  • Moore, Emma (2010) “The Interaction between Social Category and Social Practice: Explaining was/were Variation”. Language Variation and Change 22: 347-371.
  • Moore, Emma and Robert J. Podesva (2009) “Style, indexicality and the social meaning of tag questions”. Language in Society 38 (4): 447-485.
  • Moore, Emma (2006) “‘You tell all the stories’: Using narrative to understand hierarchy in a Community of Practice”. Journal of Sociolinguistics 10: 611-640.
  • Moore, Emma (2004) “Sociolinguistic style: A multidimensional resource for shared identity creation”. Canadian Journal of Linguistics 49: 375-396.

Book Chapters

  • Kirkham, Sam & Moore, Emma (2012, in press) “Adolescence”. In: J.K. Chambers and Natalie Schilling-Estes (eds.), The Handbook of Language Variation and Change, Second edition. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Moore, Emma (2012) “On the impossibility of historical sociolinguistics”. In: David Denison, Ricardo Bermudez-Otero, Chris McCully and Emma Moore (eds.) Analysing Older English, 121-125. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Moore, Emma (2010) “Variation and Identity”. In: April McMahon and Warren Maguire (eds.), Analysing Variation in English, 219-236. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Moore, Emma (2010) “Communities of Practice and peripherality”. In: Carmen Llamas and Dominic Watt (eds.), Language and Identities, 123-133. Edinburgh: EUP.
  • Moore, Emma and Julia Snell (2010) “ ‘Oh, they’re top, them’: Right dislocated tags and interactional stance. In: Frans Gregersen, Jeffrey Parrott and Pia Quist (eds.), Language Variation - European Perspectives III, 97-110. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Edited Volumes

  • Denison, David, Ricardo Bermudez-Otero, Chris McCully and Emma Moore (eds.) (2012) Analysing Older English. Cambridge: CUP.