James Milroy ( -)

Lesley Milroy (*1944)


  • Language variation and change

Research Interests

  • Historical linguistics, multifunctionality of language

Notable Ideas

  • the distinction between innovation as a speaker-based concept and change as a system-based concept;
  • providing a mechanism for explaining how the innovation becomes a change;
  • the attempt to combine a micro-level with a macro-level approach.


James Milroy is Professor Emeritus at Sheffield University, devoting his time to writing and research.

Lesley Milroy is a sociolinguist, and a professor emerita at the University of Michigan. She was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK in 1944. She studied and began her work in sociolinguistics in the United Kingdom.

Milroy moved to the United States in 1994, where she worked as a professor and the chair of the department of linguistics at the University of Michigan, and retired in 2004

Contribution to Linguistics

Among Milroy's accomplishments include her participation in writing over seven books and fifteen journal articles, her work as an editorial board member for several research journals, as well as various linguistic research and lecturing around the world.

Central Knowledge

Lesley's work in sociolinguistics focuses on urban and rural dialectology, language ideology and standardization, and includes her most famous work studying social networks and linguistic variations in Belfast in the 1970's.

Main Publications

  • James Milroy, Linguistic Variation and Change. Blackwell, 1992.

  • James Milroy, Lesley Milroy, Authority in Language: Investigating Language Standardisation & Prescription. London.

Categories: People