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Queen Mary in the Summer

I am currently a Visiting Lecturer in Social & Digital Media at Regents University and am a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Linguistics Department at Queen Mary University of London, supervised by Dr. Erez Levon & Dr. Colleen Cotter. I hold a BA in Linguistics from the University of Sussex and an MA in Linguistics also from Queen Mary University of London. 

My Ph.D. research, funded by the ESRC, explores the use of social media and its relation to offline (spoken) variation. This research can be seen as a response to the recent emergence of a new area of exploration mainly led by computational scientists, aptly named 'computational sociolinguistics'.

From October 2016 until October 2017, I conducted ethnographic fieldwork at a youth-group in Hackney, East London, recording speakers and studying how technology (and social media) is used by these individuals. This resulted in the collection of over 40 hours of spoken recordings (interviews and self-recordings) and over 800 social media posts from 25 adolescents.

My research aims to explore the connection between spoken variation and the use of social media. I do this by taking a 'third-wave' variationist approach to examine the social meaning of linguistic variation, drawing on Snapchat stories and Instagram posts to extrapolate the situated meaning of a feature in the community. In doing so, I hope to understand more about how the 'offline' and 'online' individual connects and how we can make sense this relationship in sociolinguistic variationist studies of digital communication. 

I also run social media for the Cross-London Sociolinguistic Seminar Group, the LISS DTP and until 2019, I ran social media for the Linguistics Department at Queen Mary University of London. Committed to increasing participation and outreach, I'm also a 'Researcher in Residence at St Francis' College, Letchworth. 

My CV can be accessed here. Feel free to follow me on Twitter at @ChristianIlbury



Particularly (third-wave) variationist sociolinguistics, (linguistic & cultural) appropriation & Language and Gentrification 


Digital contexts of communication, affordances of social media 


Orthographic variation, experimental approaches to orthography


Phonological theory, particularly Exemplar Theory & Sociophonogical theory