Professor Urszula Clark

Head of English
50th Anniversary Professor of  English and Linguistics
Director of CCISC 

Urszula Clark

I am Professor of  English and Linguistics within the School of Languages and Social Sciences (LSS). I am Director of The West Midlands English: Speech and Society projectThe Aston Corpus of West Midlands English (ACWME), and Director of Aston’s Research Centre for Critical Inquiry into Society and Culture (CCISC), an initiative that brings together colleagues in applied linguistics, social sciences and business studies. I am also a member of the Centre for Language Research at Aston (CLaRA). My main areas of research interests are: English pedagogy; variationist sociolinguistics and discourse analysis.

  • BA (Hons) in Philosophy and English, University of York 
  • PGCE English and Drama, University of Leeds 
  • PhD in Arts Education, University of Warwick 
  • PhD supervision in discourse analysis, English Language pedagogy, Language and Identity 

Undergraduate Modules

  • LE1085 IEL: Contexts, Modes and Media
  • LE1088 Theories of Language and Identities
  • LE25053 Variations of English
  • LE2019 Research Methods in Language and Communication

Postgraduate Modules

  • LEM039 Grammar
  • LEM041 Literary Linguistics


  • Sociolinguistics: Regional/social variation in discourse structure and strategy; interactional sociolinguistics; ethnography of communication; gender and regional variation in discourse style; current work on variations of English in the West Midlands region of England and their relationship with notions of identity and place.  
  • Stylistics: Forms and functions of narrative; current work on the construction of place and local identity through discourse about local speech in the English West Midlands and the stylistics of crime fiction.
  • English Pedagogy: The relationship between education and notions of identity- national, regional and individual; current work on pedagogical stylistics. 

PhD Supervision 
I currently supervise research students in the research areas of sociolinguistics and English pedagogy.

  • Curriculum Innovation: Integrating QM into undergraduate programmes in Linguistics in the School of Languages and Social Sciences, Aston University
  • Language, Performance and Region: Discourse and Sociocultural Identity in the wider western Midlands
  • Language and Place: Birmingham
  • Language, performance and Region: Discourse and Sociocultural Identity
2011-2012: £79,865 (with Dr Tim Grant (PI) and Prof Gertrud Reershemius joint Co-PI) ESRC Quantitative Methods Initiative: Curriculum Innovation: Integrating QM into undergraduate programmes in Linguistics in the School of Languages and Social Sciences, Aston University.

2010-2012: £407,078.66 ESRC standard grant award for the project Language, Performance and Region: Discourse and Sociocultural Identity in the Wider Western Midlands 

2009-2010: £79,896.87 ESRC small grant award 1st December 2009 - 30th November 2010 for the project 'Dialect in Discourse: A Crticial Discourse Analysis Approach to Linguistic Conservatism and Sociocultural Identity in the Black Country'

2009-2010: £40,158 Leverhulme Research Fellowship award 1st July 2009 - 30th June 2010 for the project 'Language and place: Birmingham' 

  • Presentation given called: ‘Teaching Grammar: where do we go from here?’ as part of Cambridge Assessment’s Aspects of Writing seminar on 30th November 2016 held at the British Academy, London. Information on the event, including videos of all presentations, can be found at: http://www.cambridgeassessment.org.uk/events/aspects-2016/
  • 29th January 2014 & 9th April 2014: Half day workshops at Aston University for teachers of key Stage 2 ‘Teaching Grammar Through Reading’
  • 4th July 2013 Keynote address: ‘Literacy and English as an Additional Language’ for a one day CPD Ethnic Minority Achievement Conference:  Writing for EAL students across key Stages 2 and 3, organised by the consultancy firm, One Education,Manchester, UK
  • 27th -28th June 2013: Organiser of How does language work? 2 day international CPD conference, Aston University, UK
  • 26th March & 18th April 2013: half day workshops at Aston University for teachers of Key Stage 2 ‘Teaching Grammar at Key Stage 2’
  • 9th March 2012 Keynote address: ‘Teaching Grammar at key Stages 2 and 3’ for a one day CPD Conference: Teaching Literacy at Key Stages 2 and 3 organised by Lancashire Education Authority, Bury, Lancashire UK 


  • 2014: British Council English, Speech and Society event, 22 April 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVZgC75xRJ4
  • 2014: British Council Blog: http://blog.britishcouncil.org/2014/04/22/which-variety-of-english-should-you-speak/
  • 2014: 16 th January, interviewed as an expert on the Birmingham dialect on BBC Midlands Today. 
  • 2013: November,  interviewed as an expert on dialect for the BBC RadioMark Forrest Show, broadcasted nationally on local BBC radio stations.
  • 2011: 11 th November,  interviewed as an expert on the Black Country dialect for the BBC2 series: Story of English
  • 2007:  7 th December,  interviewed as    an      expert    on West Midlands English accents and dialects,  BBC Radio Shropshire Breakfast Programme. 
  • 2003:  July, Interviewed as an expert on the Black Country dialect as part of the  national BBC ‘Voices’ initiative for  BBC Midlands Today programme.
  • 2013. ‘Let’s celebrate our linguistic heritage’ letter published in the Black Country Bugle 19 th December
  • 2012. ‘ By ‘eck, accents are thriving’ article published in Daily Mail 8 th November 2012
  • ‘Pride in region’s dialect is why we still spake it’ article published in Express and Star 19 th July.
  • http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2229592/Byeck-accents-thriving-Regional-dialects-getting-stronger-people-aim-retain-sense-identity.html                                 
  • http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dr-urszula-clark/you-are-what-you-speak_b_1131228.html
Room: MB735b
Phone: 0121 204 3819
Email: u.clark@aston.ac.uk 
Fax: 0121 204 3766

Twitter: @UrszulaLinguist