About Bristol Centre for Linguistics

BCL academics

The Bristol Centre for Linguistics (BCL) was established in August 2007 as UWE Bristol’s focal point for research in linguistics and on the relation between linguistics and other disciplines.

Promoting the visibility of linguistics

The Centre aims to promote the visibility of linguistics and the relevance of language research to the wider public, and to form partnerships for the exchange of expertise with other universities and organisations outside academia.

Main research

The Centre’s main research endeavours are empirical, using multi-media, corpus-based, text-based and archive-based methods.

Our main subject areas are:

  • semantics in the most general sense, including pragmatics, rhetoric, metaphor, lexicology and onomastics;
  • contact linguistics (applied and historical);
  • first- and second-language acquisition and applied linguistics;
  • analysis of verbal interaction and sociolinguistics;
  • political discourse;
  • multimodality;
  • visual-spatial communications, including sign languages and (co-speech) gesture;
  • the phonology of Bristolian and dialects spoken in Bristol ("Sounds Bristolian");
  • dementia talk.


The Bristol Centre for Linguistics is currently running two projects in collaboration with local community partners. Student volunteers are encouraged to help with these projects, giving them some real-world experience of hands-on language work.

  1. "From Talk to Writing": A BCL project in collaboration with the Department of Education and Childhood colleagues and Fonthill Primary School.
  2. ESOL for Somali women: A BCL project in collaboration with the Somali Resource Centre.

We aim to foster and develop research in these areas (though not exclusively), and to reach out to the concerns of other researchers on language-related topics within and outside UWE Bristol, expanding the Centre as appropriate.

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