• UK 5th

    for modern languages and linguistics

  • 50% of our publications rated world-leading

    for their originality, significance and rigour

    Source: Research Excellence Framework 2021

  • 96%

    of our graduates in work or further study 15 months after graduating

    Source: Graduate Outcomes Survey 2020 to 2021

About us

Our department is welcoming, dynamic, and diverse. We offer outstanding teaching, engage with the latest research, and carry out enterprise work. We work with students, partners and stakeholders in the UK and overseas to provide crossdiciplinary answers to global challenges. Our research is wide-ranging, from understanding language and attitudes in the global spread of English to breaking down deep-rooted ideas about wine making.

We are home to over 540 undergraduate and postgraduate taught students learning about language, linguistics, culture, translation and communication. Our students graduate with the knowledge, mindset and skills needed to advance their careers, inspire others and make a substantial contribution to society.

Our research informs our teaching in a wide range of taught courses for example our:

  • BA English Language and Linguistics
  • BA English Language and Literature
  • BA and MLang programmes

We offer a comprehensive programme of language learning from beginners to degree-level through the Centre for Language Study. Our BA in Modern Languages is aimed at students with at least one A-level in a foreign language, but allows students to study up to 2 additional languages from beginners level. The BA in Languages, Cultures and Communication is aimed at students with little or no previous knowledge of a foreign language.

We have a dynamic programme of professional development, especially in English language teaching and translation which includes several master's programmes.

Our Lifelong Learning programme provides extra-curricular teaching in 12 languages.

Modern Language students discussing laptop contents
Modern languages students collaborate on a group project.

Research culture

We engage in and produce interdisciplinary research with impact. Our research staff are members of many subject associations, learned societies, journal boards and international networks. We work with early career researchers and postdoctoral research fellows, who are active researchers in our community.

We are home to 3 research centres:

  • Centre for Global Englishes
  • Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research
  • Centre for Transnational Studies

They bring together staff and students to explore:

  • global Englishes
  • language acquisition
  • language teaching and testing
  • sociolinguistics and variational sociolinguistics
  • linguistic anthropology and ethnography
  • medical humanities
  • migration and globalisation
  • literary and cultural studies

We are members of two UK research council funded doctoral training centres:

We are also committed to the highest standard of ethics and adhere to the Researcher Development Concordat guidelines.

Research impact

Our research generates impact and knowledge exchange on topics including:

  • language and social stereotypes in the context of domestic abuse policing
  • language ideology, particularly in the use of English in an academic context
  • infrastructures for food and water in three sub-Saharan African countries
  • wine practices in France and around the world
  • primary language teachers through online learning
  • memorial afterlives of internment camps in France
  • additional language learning and native language forgetting
  • death, dying, end of life, grief and commemoration from an arts-based perspective

International partners

We partner with prominent international universities and industry around the world. These collaborations enhance our research and increase our global reputation. Universities we work with include:

  • Cukurova University (Turkey)
  • Kasetsart University (Thailand)
  • Leiden University (Netherlands)
  • Santander Universities
  • The Arctic University of Norway
  • Universidad Autónoma del Estado de (Mexico)

Other partners include:

  • The British Council
  • FutureLearn
  • China Scholarship Council
  • Pearson
  • the NHS

Interdisciplinary culture

Our research is fundamentally interdisciplinary. We cover topics, methodologies and philosophies which are loosely brought together by our 3 research centres, various reading groups and research clusters.

We collaborate with departments in our school including History, English and Music. We work closely with other groups in the wider faculty such as:

We also work with Schools across the University. We've collaborated with the School of Geography and Environmental Science to support better infrastructures for food and water in 3 sub-Saharan African countries. We are working with the School of Electronics and Computer Science, and the Web Science Institute to investigate policy and practice concerning Generative AI tools. This work is part of the University's Generative Artificial Intelligence working group.


We provide an environment where students can flourish. We support them as they develop into independent, creative and critical thinkers who can make positive and meaningful contributions to society.


Our Centre for Language Study offers courses and resources tailored to their needs. We offer all language stages up to graduate level in Chinese, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish. Introductory modules up to A2 in the European framework are available in Arabic, Italian, Japanese and Russian.

Our research-informed curriculum reflects the expertise and passion that our staff and students share for their subject areas. We cover cultural and linguistic studies of the Spanish, French, German and Portuguese Speaking world as well as English Language and Linguistics.

Interdisciplinary study

Interdisciplinarity is central to our languages and linguistics curriculum. Our staff have a background in anthropology, cultural studies, history and linguistics.


The first year of the undergraduate curriculum helps students transition to university study. It gives a grounding in their chosen subject areas. In the following years, it allows students to build on this foundation and tailor their studies to their own specialist interests.

Students in the BA Modern Languages programmes spend their third year abroad to study at university, teach or take up a work placement. In the BA English Language and Linguistics and the BA Language, Culture and communication, students can pursue study abroad opportunities and undertake a year in employment.

Knowledge exchange and public engagement

The exchange of knowledge with the public and other external partners is at the heart of our activities. Whether we’re running events or offering evening classes to the local community, partnering with people and organisations help us share expertise on issues with real-world impact. Recent activities include art events and a research group launch.

Arts and Humanities Festival native language attrition event

Organised as part of the University’s Arts and Humanities Festival this event raised awareness of native language attrition. This can be experienced by people who move to a new country or region as adults. It may affect their native language knowledge and use. The event included a screening of a short film by documentary filmmaker Asten Holmes-Elliott, ‘Lost in the Middle'.

This festival activity was organised by Professor Laura Domínguez and Dr Glyn Hicks.

Bournemouth civic community 'Day of the Dead' event

This community event explored the role of arts-based engagement using the Mexican Day of the Dead as a case study. It encouraged both Mexicans and non-Mexicans to talk about death, dying and end of life. This includes its relevance to wider communities in civic, educational and healthcare settings.

350 people attended talks, performances and arts and crafts workshops led by Mexican and British artists.

Dr Jane Lavery co-organised the event with World of Love Festival and a range of partners including:

  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council
  • Lewis-Manning Hospice Care
  • Bobby's cultural centre
  • Spill the Beans coffee café
  • South Coast Makers Market
  • Colores Mexicanos
  • Avery Care Home

Language Assessment and Testing Unit launch

The department's Language Assessment and Testing Unit (LATU) brought together students, colleagues, and external stakeholders to discuss innovative language testing and assessment methods. It included a discussion on the future of language assessment, with representatives from the British Council.

LATU is a departmental research group led by Dr Ying Zheng and colleagues, as well as our postgraduate research students.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Our equality, diversity and inclusion priorities are three-fold, echoing the University mission statement which is grounded by the triple helix.

Mission statement

Equitable community-building

This relies on the co-creation of the School as an inclusive environment where we feel safe in bringing our whole selves to work and study. Senior academic staff, early career scholars, administrative and other staff and students at all levels are invited to join in this process.

Accessible practices and interactions

This is the commitment to make deliberate decisions in ensuring that nobody is disadvantaged by what we do and how we do it. We seek to engage meaningfully with one another in the spirit of collegiality, reducing barriers to access and success for all.

Transparent processes

We have transparent processes that build a culture of openness and accountability, enabling all to understand the rationale for decisions made through plain communication and meaningful collaboration.

Research and outreach

We host research groups within our department. Learn about the the real-world impact of our work, along with our projects, publications and people. We also run outreach activities to help younger learners engage with languages.

Our research community

The research centres and groups we host bring together specialists to share knowledge and solve problems. Explore research projects, publications, people and more.


People are the centre of all academic activity in our department. I aim to provide a supportive working and learning environment that inspires and values staff and students alike.
Head of Department
My research-led Mexican Day of the Dead arts-based public engagement encourages different communities to discuss matters of death, dying, end of life, grief and commemoration.
Associate Professor
I guide our LCL students through their Residence Abroad journey, a life-changing experience which is full of challenges, surprises and exciting opportunities for personal growth.
Principal Teaching Fellow
My current work examines the perceptual link between language and social stereotypes in the applied context of domestic abuse policing.
Lecturer in Sociolinguistics

Work with us

  • Modern Language students learn popular culture

    Jobs at Southampton

    Find out about current opportunities at the University of Southampton, including any current vacancies in our department.

Contact us

Get in touch, we’re happy to help

You can contact us by:
Building 65, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Southampton SO17 1BF
We’re open Monday to Friday 09:00 to 17:00 GMT

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