50 years of excellence

Collection of linguistics text books

The Department of Linguistics and English Language in Lancaster is turning 50 in 2024. To mark the occasion, we are inviting everyone to join us in a series of community events and public lectures.

Come celebrate the joys of Linguistics and English Language with us and find out about our wide range of research.

Fabulosa! A brief history of Polari, the lost language of camp (Public lecture)

Speaker: Professor Paul Baker

Date & Time: June 26th 18:30

Venue: Margaret Fell Lecture Theatre, Lancaster University

Polari was a secret form of language, developing across the 19th and 20th centuries among a queer subculture that newspapers of the time referred to as the "twilight world of the homosexual". In the 1960s Polari became famous when it was used in a popular BBC radio comedy series called Round the Horne but by the 1980s it had all but vanished. Paul Baker has researched Polari for the last 30 years and he tells the fascinating and hilarious story of its rise, fall and rediscovery, charting its fortunes alongside tumultuous changes in British LGBTQ+ representation and visibility. He also reveals some of the secrets behind the words, so you'll learn how to tell your lallies from your luppers. Troll along and vada the palarying screeve-omee for some bona cackle.

Register online to attend (registration opens Sunday the 26th May)

Cover of book - Fabulosa! by Paul Baker

Public lectures

We will hold three more public lectures between September and November.

The speakers are:

  • Dr Isobelle Clarke (Leverhulme Trust Early Career Research Fellow)
  • Dr Sam Kirkham (Senior Lecturer in Phonetics)
  • Professor Patrick Rebuschat (Professor of Linguistics and Cognitive Science)

Further details to follow.

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More Events

Past events

Linguistics in the City

Date: April 11th (Thursday)

Venue: More Music, Morecambe

As part of Campus in the city 2024 take a tour of language and its wonders: From historical Lancashire to the digital world, from the depths of the mind to the tip of your tongue!

The influence of language is all around us: from the way we speak and hear, to how we think and interact with other people (and even machines). Linguistics and English Language is celebrating 50 years in Lancaster and invites you to come on a linguistic journey with us through games, displays and demonstrations. You can see how your own tongue moves when you speak, and enjoy a multimedia experience of how accents and dialects have changed over the years in Lancashire. Put your mind-reading skills to the test, and challenge yourself to see if you can tell a voice you hear is human or machine!

a small boy in front of shelves claps his hands at a lady holding a toy in the foreground