Miriam Meyerhoff

Prof Miriam Meyerhoff profile picture

Professor of Linguistics School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Research interests

Language and identity, language variation, language change, gender and language, New Zealand English, language attitudes, Vanuatu languages, language contact.


BA, MA (Victoria University of Wellington), PhD (Penn)

I completed my PhD at the University of Pennsylvania in 1997 and since then have held academic positions at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Cornell University, University of Edinburgh and University of Auckland. I have been a Visiting Professor with the Australian National University, Michigan State University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Arizona, Tucson, and the Universities of Bamberg, Agder, Leiden and the Vreie Universiteit Brussel. I am a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Max-Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and a Partner Investigator in three different research threads ot the ARC Centre of Excellence-Dynamics of Language (Evolution/Shape/Learning).

I teach short workshops on sociolinguistics for groups at all levels (primary, intermediate, secondary and tertiary) and I especially welcome invitations to workshop language problems and linguistics with primary and secondary students.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand/He Ahurei a Te Apārangi, and I delivered the Hudson Lecture to the Wellington Branch of the Society in 2018.

Research interests/areas

My research deals with language variation and change in its broadest perspective. As well as an active research programme investigating variation in situations of language and dialect contact, I have long-standing interests in the ways social ideologies affect language use and perceptions of language users. In particular, I am interested in ideologies of gender and language. My work often combines quantitative methods with qualitative analysis to the mutual benefit of both, I hope.

I sit on a number of journal editorial boards and co-edit major reference works in the field of language, gender and sexuality and pidgins and creoles. My full CV can be downloaded here.

Recent grants include:

  • Documentation of N’kep (north Vanuatu): Structure and variation. (Endangered Language Documentation Programme, 2011–2015)
  • Banam Bay Language: Documentation and endangered language maintenance. (Endangered Language Documentation Programme, 2018–2020) (Brittany Hoback, Miriam Meyerhoff)
  • A Grammar of ‘Oroha. (Endangered Language Documentation Programme, 2019–2021) (Darren Flavelle, Miriam Meyerhoff, Victoria Chen).
  • Development of tonal metacognition in Vietnames and Me’phaa. (Royal Society of New Zealand, Marsden Fund 2019–2021) (Rolando Coto-Solano, Miriam Meyerhoff).
  • War and peace in the nursery: How do young children negotiate conflict to establish belonging and well-being in a multi-ethnic NZ early childhood centre? (Royal Society of New Zealand, Marsden Fund, 2017–2020) (PI Prof. Carmen Dalli, AI Miriam Meyerhoff).
  • Rethinking language variation in a super-diverse city (Royal Society of New Zealand, Marsden Fund, 2016–2018). (PI Miriam Meyerhoff, Catherine Watson)
  • The British National Corpus (BNC) as a sociolinguistic dataset: Exploring individual and social variation (ESRC grant ref. (EP/P001559/1), 2016–2017) (Co-applicant with Vaclav Brezina, University of Lancaster)
  • Sociolinguistics and immigration: Linguistic variation among adolescents in London and Edinburgh (ESRC, RES 000-22-3244, 2009–2010). End of award evaluation: Outstanding.

Recent publications


Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2019. Introducing Sociolinguistics. 3rd ed. London/NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.

Hazenburg, Evan and Miriam Meyerhoff (eds). 2017. Representing Trans: Linguistic, legal and everyday perspectives. Wellington: Victoria University Press.

Meyerhoff, Miriam, Erik Schleef and Laurel Mackenzie. 2015. Doing Sociolinguistics: A practical guide. London/NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.

Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2015Nathme ro nhal vür (The day they opened the tarseal road). Year 1 reader/picture book. (In Nkep, Bislama and English). Wellington/Hog Harbour.

Ehrlich, Susan, Miriam Meyerhoff and Janet Holmes (eds). 2014. The Handbook of Language, Gender and Sexuality. New York/Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Meyerhoff, Miriam and James A. Walker. 2013. Bequia Talk (St Vincent and the Grenadines). Westminster: Battlebridge Publications. ISBN 9781903292228.

Meyerhoff, Miriam and Erik Schleef (eds). 2010. The Sociolinguistics Reader: Edited readings and teaching materials. London: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.

Meyerhoff, Miriam and Naomi Nagy (eds). 2008. Social Lives in Language: Sociolinguistic studies of multilingual communities. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Links to reviews in Language in Society and Journal of Sociolinguistics. The links are here and here.

Book chapters

Meyerhoff, Miriam and Alexandra Birchfield. 2019. Gender and language contact: How gender is/isn’t marked in language contact. In Jeroen Darquennes, Wim Vandenbussche (eds.) Handbook of Language Contact, 2nd edition. Berlin: De Gruyter. 246-256.

Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2017. Pidgin and Creole languages in the Pacific. In Hiroko Sato & Jake Terrell (eds.) Language in Hawai‘i and the Pacific. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press. 138-147.

Meyerhoff, Miriam and Steffen Klaere. 2017. A case for clustering speakers and linguistic variables: Big issues with smaller samples in language variation. In Isabelle Buchstaller and Beat Siebenhaar (eds.) Language Variation - European Perspectives VI: Selected papers from the Eight International Conference on Language Variation in Europe (ICLaVE 8). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 23-46.

James A. Walker and Miriam Meyerhoff. 2015. Bequia English. In Jeffrey Williams, Edgar Schneider, Peter Trudgill and Daniel Schreier (eds). Further Studies in the Lesser-Known Varieties of English, volume 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 128-143.

Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2015. All these years and still counting: Why quantitative methods still appeal. In Dwi Noverini Djenar, Ahmar Mahboob, and Ken Cruickshank (eds.) Language and Identity Across Modes of Communication. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 61-81.

Meyerhoff, Miriam and James A. Walker. 2015. Subject and object pronoun use in Bequia (St Vincent & the Grenadines). In Paula Prescod (ed.) Language Issues in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 67-85.

Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2015. Gender performativity. In Patricia Whelehan & Anne Bolin (eds.) The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality. New York: Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781118896877.wbiehs178 (4 pages).

Meyerhoff, Miriam and James N. Stanford. 2015. “Tings change, all tings change”: The changing face of sociolinguistics with a global perspective. In Dirk Smakman and Patrick Heinrich (eds.) Globalising Sociolinguistics. London: Routledge. 1-15.

Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2014. Variation and gender. In Susan Ehrlich, Miriam Meyerhoff & Janet Holmes (eds.) The Handbook of Language, Gender and Sexuality. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. 87-102.

Meyerhoff, Miriam and Erik Schleef. 2014. Hitting an Edinburgh target: Immigrant adolescents’ acquisition of variation in Edinburgh English. In Robert Lawson (ed.) Sociolinguistics in Scotland. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 103-128.

James A. Walker and Miriam Meyerhoff. 2013. Studies of the community and the individual. In Robert Bayley, Richard Cameron and Ceil Lucas (eds). Handbook of Sociolinguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 175-194.

Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2013. Pacific Creoles. In Carol A. Chapelle (ed.) The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0893.

Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2013. Syntactic variation and change: The variationist framework and language contact. In Isabelle Léglise and Claudine Chamoreau (eds) The Interplay of Variation and Change in Contact Settings (SILV 12). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 23-51.

Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2013. Bislama. In Susanne Maria Michaelis, Philippe Maurer, Martin Haspelmath & Magnus Huber (eds.), The Survey of Pidgin and Creole Languages: Vol. 1 English-based and Dutch-based languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 223-231.

Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2013. Communities of practice. In J.K. Chambers and Natalie Schilling (eds.) Handbook of Language Variation and Change, 2ed. Wiley-Blackwell. (Miriam Meyerhoff & Anna Strycharz) 428-447.

Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2013. Place and purpose: Indexicality in ecological perspective. In Wim Vandenbussche, Ernst Håkon Jahr and Peter Trudgill (eds.) Language Ecology of the 21st Century: Linguistic Conflicts and Social Environments. Novus Press. 267-291.

Journal articles

Daleszynska-Slater, Agata and Miriam Meyerhoff and James A. Walker. 2019. Order in the creole speech community: Marking past temporal reference in Bequia (St Vincent and the Grenadines). Language Ecology. 3: 58-88. doi.org/10.1075/le.17007.dal.

Meyerhoff, Miriam and Susan Ehrlich. 2019. Language, gender and sexuality. Annual Review of Linguistics. 5: 455-475. doi.org/10.1146/annurev-linguistics-052418-094326.

Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2019. In pursuit of social meaning. Journal of Sociolinguistics. 23: 303-315. DOI: 10.1111/josl.12341.

Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2019. Unnatural bedfellows? The sociolinguistic analysis of variation and language documentation. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand49: 229-241. DOI: 10.1080/03036758.2019.1619599.

Khanina, Olesya and Miriam Meyerhoff. 2018. A case-study in historical sociolinguistics beyond Europe: Reconstructing patterns of multilingualism of a language community in Siberia. Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics. 4: 221-251.

Watson, Catherine, Brooke Ross, Elaine Ballard, A. Helen Charters, Richard Arnold and Miriam Meyerhoff, 2018. Preliminary investigations into sound change in Auckland. Proceedings of the 17th International Australasian Conference on Speech Science and Technology, Sydney, Australia Dec 5-7, p 17-20. ISSN 2207-1296.

Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2017. Writing a linguistic symphony: Analysing variation while doing language documentation. Canadian Journal of Linguistics/Revue canadienne de linguistique. 62(4): 525-549. doi.org/10.1017/cnj.2017.28.

Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2017. Possession marking in Nkep (East Santo, Vanuatu). In Heidi Quinn, Diane Massam and Lisa Matthewson (eds.) Linguistic Travels in Time and Space, Wellington Working Papers in Linguistics 23. 169-179.

Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2016. Methods, innovations and extensions: Reflections on half a century of methodology in social dialectology. Journal of Sociolinguistics. 20(4): 431-452. (One of Top 20 downloads in first year out, 2016-2018).

Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2016. Borrowing from Bislama into Nkep (East Santo, Vanuatu): Quantitative and qualitative perspectives. Languages and Linguistics in Melanesia. 34, 1. http://www.langlxmelanesia.com/issues.

Truesdale, Sarah and Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2015. Acquiring some like-ness to others: How some Polish teenagers acquire the Scottish pragmatics of like. Te Reo. 58: 3-28.

Nagy, Naomi and Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2015. Extending ELAN into variationist sociolinguistics. Linguistics Vanguard, 17 Sept 2015. doi 10.1515/lingvan-2015-0012.

Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2015. Turning variation on its head: Analysing subject prefixes in Nkep (Vanuatu) for language documentation. Asia-Pacific Language Variation 1:79-109. doi 10.1075/aplv.1.1.04mey.

Strycharz-Banas, Anna, Miriam Meyerhoff and Erik Schleef. 2015. Socjolingwistyka a imigracja: zróżnicowanie językowe polskich nastolatków w Edynburgu. Socjolingwistika 29: 137-152.

Duhamel, Marie-France and Miriam Meyerhoff. 2014. An end of egalitarianism? Social evaluations of language difference in New Zealand. Linguistics Vanguard 1. 1 December 2014. doi 10.1515/lingvan-2014-1005.

Brezina, Vaclav and Miriam Meyerhoff. 2014. Significant or random? A critical review of statistical analyses in corpus-based sociolinguistic studies. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics. 19 (1): 1-28. doi 10.1075/ijcl.19.1.01bre.

Meyerhoff, Miriam and James A. Walker. 2013. An existential problem: The sociolinguistic monitor and variation in existential constructions on Bequia (St Vincent and the Grenadines). Language and Society 42 (4): 407-428. doi 10.1017/S0047404513000456.