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Carmen Llamas



Carmen Llamas is a sociolinguist with a particular interest in phonological variation and change. She was appointed Lecturer in Sociolinguistics in 2007.


2020 - Professor in Sociolinguistics University of York
2012 - 2020 Senior lecturer in Sociolinguistics University of York
2007 - 2012 Lecturer in Sociolinguistics  University of York 
2001 - 2007 Lecturer in Linguistics University of Aberdeen
2001 PhD in Linguistics University of Leeds
1997 MA in Linguistics University of Leeds
1990 BA in Modern Languages University of North London


Departmental roles

  • Research Impact Officer



My research interests lie in phonological variation and processes of change. I am particularly interested in the identity-making and –marking functions of language and also in sociolinguistic fieldwork methods.


Accent and Identity on the Scottish/English border
This project investigates the relationship between accent, identity and social attitudes in a linguistic border region by drawing together data collected from a large stratified sample of speakers in four border towns. Variation in speakers’ phonological productions are correlated with their socio-psychological orientations towards language and identity, as well as their perceptions of accent variation and the indexicality of salient features derived using controlled experimental methods (see further AISEB) (with Dominic Watt, Gerry Docherty, Damien Hall, Jen Nycz).

Levelling and Diffusion in the North East of England
This project refines the gravity model of diffusion through investigation of regional phonological levelling and diffusion of innovatory forms in large urban centres and their satellite or dormitory towns throughout the North East of England. Speakers’ production patterns are related to their orientations to and contact with larger centres of gravity and their perceptions of the regional and social distribution of socio-indexical forms (with Peter French, Lisa Roberts).

Research group(s)


  • Economic & Social Research Council. 'Linguistic variation and national identities on the Scottish/English border' (AISEB; RES-062-23-0525), with Dominic Watt (York) and Gerry Docherty (Newcastle). 2008-11.
  • International Association for Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics (IAFPA). 'Perception of speech produced by individuals wearing garments covering the face', with Dominic Watt (York) and Philip Harrison (York/JP French Associates).
  • University of York Research Priming Fund. 'Levelling and diffusion in the North-East of England: a geographical survey', with Peter French (York/JP French Associated) and Lisa Roberts (York).


  • Dominic Watt
  • Gerry Docherty
  • Peter French

Available PhD research projects

I am happy to receive enquiries and proposals dealing with any aspect of sociolinguistics or language variation and change.


  • Thomas Devlin (2010 -)
  • Subiksha Krishniah (2010-)
  • Kimberley Witten (2010-)
  • Daniel Redinger (2007-2010)
  • Nanna Haug Hilton (2005-2009)
  • Heike Pichler (2002-2008 part-time)

External activities

Invited talks and conferences

  • Manchester University - 'Accents and Identities on the Scottish/English border' (2010)
  • University of Leeds - 'Mr. Straw and the constituent's veil: some initial observations of the effects of different face coverings on speech acoustics and intelligibility' (2008), with Dominic Watt
  • University of Nottingham - 'Language variation and shifting identities' (2005)
  • BAAL Language and Identity Conference - Keynote address, Reading (2004)
  • 4th UK Language Variation Conference - Keynote address, Sheffield (2003)
  • University of Essex - 'Borders, identities and phonological variation in the north-east of England' (2003), with Dominic Watt

Media coverage

I have been interviewed several times for radio programmes in the UK and details of my research findings have been reported in several newspaper articles. Part of the method of data elicitation I devised for my PhD research has since been used in the large-scale BBC Voices project.



  • Methods in language variation and change (L06H)
  • Language and identity (L18H)

Contact details

Carmen Llamas
Department of Language and Linguistic Science
Vanbrugh College B Block, Room: V/B/126
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: (0)1904 322618