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About me

I joined the University of Westminster in February 2016 as Dean of Social Sciences and Humanities, and I am currently Head of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research.. I am also Professor of Language, History and Society.

My first degree (at Emmanuel College, Cambridge where I was organ scholar) was in English, followed by a Master's degree in General Linguistics and a PhD in the History of Linguistics.

From 2003 I was Professor of the History of Linguistics at the University of Sheffield. In my time at Sheffield I was successively Head of English Language and Linguistics and Director of Research in the Arts and Humanities. I spent the academic year 2007-2008 working at the University of Bergen on a Leverhulme Fellowship, and in 2012 I was visiting professor at the University of Paris 7-Diderot.

I am a Fellow of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi) and of the Agder Vitenskapsakademi, a strategic reviewer for the Arts and Humanities Research Council and President of the Henry Sweet Society for the History of Linguistic Ideas.


My research activity is concentrated in two main fields: language policy & planning and the history of linguistics. Recent projects include:

  • English-Medium Instruction in Higher Education in the South Caucasus and Central Asia (Contract research for the British Council, 2019-2020)
  • Developing a Language Policy for Higher Education in Uzbekistan (2017-2018)
  • English in Europe: Opportunity or Threat? (Principal Investigator on a Leverhulme International Network, 2012-2016)
  • Ola Nordmann Goes West: Using virtual worlds and on-line social networking technologies as historical research tools (Principal Investigator on an AHRC research grant, 2012-2014)
  • The History of Applied Linguistics (my most recent article investigates the role played by new specialized journals in establishing the field in the late nineteenth century)

Some completed research projects:

  • Shaping Language Policy: the Norwegian Experience (Leverhulme Trust)
  • J. A. Lundell and the Anglo-Scandinavian School in Linguistics (British Academy / Royal Swedish Academy)
  • An Intellectual Biography of Johan Storm (Leverhulme Trust)


For details of all my research outputs, visit my WestminsterResearch profile.