Miriam Meyerhoff

Professor of Linguistics School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies


Teaching in 2017

Research interests

Language and identity, language variation, language change, gender and language, New Zealand English, language attitudes, Vanuatu languages, language contact.

Prof Miriam Meyerhoff profile picture


BA, MA (VUW), PhD (Penn)

I completed my PhD at the University of Pennsylvania in 1997 and since then have held academic positions at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Cornell University, University of Edinburgh and University of Auckland. I have also been a Visiting Professor with Michigan State University, University of Colorado at Boulder, and the University of Agder. In addition, I have taught short workshops on sociolinguistics at a number of other places, including the University of the South Pacific, the University of Western Australia, and with primary and intermediate schools in the UK and New Zealand. I especially welcome invitations to workshop language problems and linguistics with primary and secondary students.

Research interests/areas

My research deals with language variation and change in its broadest perspective. As well as an active research programme investigating variation in situations of language and dialect contact, I have long-standing interests in the ways social ideologies affect language use and perceptions of language users. In particular, I am interested in ideologies of gender and language. My work often combines quantitative methods with qualitative analysis to the mutual benefit of both, I hope.

My current research is mainly focused on variation and change in the Nkep speaking community of Hog Harbour, Vanuatu. This work is supported by a grant from the Endangered Languages Research Project (2010-2014) and involves basic descriptive work on the community's language, with a sociolinguistic perspective on language variation. The community is concerned about language attrition in the face of pressure from Bislama and English. This project is a welcome return to Vanuatu for me: I conducted fieldwork for my PhD in 1994-95 in Santo township and on Malo island, and I have come back to Vanuatu regularly in the years since.

I have other ongoing corpus-based projects looking at language contact/creolisation: one focuses on the creole spoken in Bequia [St Vincent and the Grenadines] (with James Walker, York University, Canada); another focuses on the acquisition of language variation in teenage migrants in Edinburgh and London (with Erik Schleef, University of Manchester).

I am Co-Editor (with Umberto Ansaldo, University of Hong Kong) of the Creole Language Library (John Benjamins). I recently finished editing the second edition of the Handbook of Language, Gender and Sexuality (Wiley-Blackwell) with Susan Ehrlich (York University, Canada). Sue and I are also co-editors of the Language and Sexuality section of the Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality (Wiley-Blackwell).

Listen to Miriam's favourite research areas mp456.7MB


Recent publications - books

Duhamel, Marie-France and Miriam Meyerhoff 2014. An end of egalitarianism? Social evaluations of language difference in New Zealand. Linguistics Vanguard 1. (In press)

Ehrlich, Susan, Miriam Meyerhoff and Janet Holmes (eds) (2014) The Handbook of Language, Gender and Sexuality. New York/Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Meyerhoff, Miriam and James A. Walker 2013. Bequia Talk (St Vincent and the Grenadines). Westminster: Battlebridge Publications. ISBN 9781903292228.

Meyerhoff, Miriam 2010. Introducing Sociolinguistics, 2nd ed.. London/NY: Routledge.

Meyerhoff, Miriam and Erik Schleef (eds) 2010. The Routledge Sociolinguistics Reader. London/NY: Routledge.

Meyerhoff, Miriam and Naomi Nagy (eds) 2008. Social Lives in Language: The sociolinguistics of multilingual speech communities, Celebrating the work of Gillian Sankoff. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Links to reviews in Language in Society and Journal of Sociolinguistics. The links are  here and here.

Articles and book chapters

Meyerhoff, Miriam 2014. Place and purpose: Indexicality in ecological perspective. In Ernst Håkon Jahr, Peter Trudgill and Wim Vandenbussche (eds.) Language Ecology of the 21st Century: Social Conflicts in their Linguistic Environment. Continuum Press. 267-291.

Meyerhoff, Miriam 2014b. Introduction: Language, gender, and sexuality. In Susan Ehrlich, Miriam Meyerhoff & Janet Holmes (eds.) The Handbook of Language, Gender and Sexuality. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. (Susan Ehrlich and Miriam Meyerhoff) 1-20.

Meyerhoff, Miriam 2014c. Variation and gender. In Susan Ehrlich, Miriam Meyerhoff & Janet Holmes (eds.) The Handbook of Language, Gender and Sexuality. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. 87-102.

Brezina, Vaclav and Miriam Meyerhoff 2014. Significant or random? A critical review of statistical analyses in corpus-based sociolinguistic studies. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics. 19 (1): 1-28. doi 10.1075/ijcl.19.1.01bre

2013a. Studies of the community and the individual. In Robert Bayley, Richard Cameron and Ceil Lucas (eds). Handbook of Sociolinguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (James A. Walker and Miriam Meyerhoff) 175-194.

2013b. Pacific Creoles. In Carol A. Chapelle (ed.) The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0893

2013c. Syntactic variation and change: The variationist framework and language contact. In Isabelle Léglise and Claudine Chamoreau (eds) The Interplay of Variation and Change in Contact Settings (SILV 12). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 23-51.

2013d. Gender differences in language and language use. In Harold Pashler (ed.) Encyclopedia of the Mind. Sage Publications.

2013e. Bislama. In Susanne Maria Michaelis, Philippe Maurer, Martin Haspelmath & Magnus Huber (eds.), The Survey of Pidgin and Creole Languages: Vol. 1 English-based and Dutch-based languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 223-231.

2013f. Hitting the target: Constraints on variation in native- and foreign-born teens in Edinburgh. In Robert Lawson (ed.) Sociolinguistic Perspectives on Scotland. London: Palgrave. (Miriam Meyerhoff & Erik Schleef) 103-128.

2013g. Communities of practice. In J.K. Chambers and Natalie Schilling (eds.) Handbook of Language Variation and Change, 2ed. Wiley-Blackwell. (Miriam Meyerhoff & Anna Strycharz) 428-447.

2013h. An existential problem: The sociolinguistic monitor and variation in existential constructions on Bequia (St Vincent and the Grenadines). Language and Society 42 (4): 407-428. doi:10.1017/S0047404513000456 (Miriam Meyerhoff & James A. Walker)

2012a. Variation, contact and social indexicality in the acquisition of (ing) by teenage migrants. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 16 (3): 398-416. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9841.2012.00535.x  (Miriam Meyerhoff & Erik Schleef).

2012b. Uncovering hidden constraints in micro-corpora of contact Englishes. In Mukherjee, Joybrato and Magnus Huber (eds.) Corpus Linguistics and Variation in English: Theory and Description. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi. 109-130.

2012c. Grammatical variation in Bequia (St Vincent and the Grenadines). (Miriam Meyerhoff & James A. Walker) Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages. 27: 209-234.

2012d. Sociolinguistic fieldwork. In Nick Thieberger (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Fieldwork. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Miriam Meyerhoff, Chie Adachi, Golnaz Nanbakhsh & Anna Strycharz) 121-146.

2012e. Variation and change in English. In Peter Seargeant and Joan Swann (eds.) Worlds of English. Milton Keynes: The Open University. (Miriam Meyerhoff & Anna Strycharz). 291-329.

2011a. La comunidad de práctica: teorías y metodologías en investigación de la lengua y género. Portal de Lenguas de Colombia: diversidad y contacto [‘Website of Colombian Languages: Diversity and contact’] <www.lenguasdecolombia.gov.co>. (Janet Holmes & Miriam Meyerhoff). [Translation of Holmes & Meyerhoff 1999.]

2011b. Teaching Sociolinguistics. In Koenraad Kuiper (ed.) Teaching Linguistics: Reflections on practice. London: Equinox. 87-98. [Reprint of Meyerhoff 2007b in Te Reo.]

2011c. Teenagers’ acquisition of variation: A comparison of locally-born and migrant teens’ realisation of English (ing). (Erik Schleef, Miriam Meyerhoff & Lynn Clark) English World-wide. 32: 206-236.