Professor Marilyn Martin-Jones

Marilyn Martin-Jones

School of Education
Emeritus Professor

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Marilyn Martin-Jones is Emeritus Professor and former Director of the MOSAIC Centre for Research on Multilingualism. She has been involved in research on bilingualism and multilingualism in different regions of Britain for thirty years. She has undertaken three broad types of research: (1.) research on bilingual discourse in face-to-face interaction; (2.) research on multilingual literacy and the uses of texts in bilingual and multilingual settings; (3.) ethnographic research related to the processes involved in the translation of language policies into classroom practice.

Her research has been primarily sociolinguistic and ethnographic in nature and has been based in different research sites: in urban and rural settings, in community contexts as well as in schools, colleges and classrooms. She has a particular interest in multilingualism and gender and in the ways in which language and literacy practices contribute to the construction of identities in local life worlds, in institutional settings and in trans-local contexts.

She was co-editor (with Alexandra Jaffe) of the international journal Linguistics and Education, from 2004 – 2007 and she is also editor of a book series on Critical Studies in Multilingualism (Routledge).


  • Ph.D. Linguistics (Stanford, Ca. USA)
  • MA Linguistics (Stanford, Ca. USA)
  • PGCE, with distinction (London, Institute of Education) 
  • BA Hons in French (Southampton)


From 2005-2010 Marilyn Martin-Jones contributed to teaching, at undergraduate, masters and doctoral level, in the following areas: research methodology in Applied Linguistics, language discourse and society, ethnography of literacy and multilingualism, language and gender.

Postgraduate supervision

She is continuing as supervisor of doctoral research in the following areas: bilingual education (including language across the curriculum); language, faith and education; language teaching and learning (including culture in the language classroom and emotions in language learning); language practices in vocational education classes; literacy (including adult literacy and young people’s literacy practices). Marilyn Martin-Jones has already supervised 20 doctoral researchers to successful completion of their Ph.D. programmes. In June 2010, she received a university award in Excellence in Doctoral Supervision.


Marilyn Martin-Jones’ research and publications have been in the following areas: bilingual discourse, classroom codeswitching, bilingual education, language policy, the ethnography of literacy (including print and screen literacy), multilingual literacy (see her list of publications below).

Research grants

Marilyn Martin-Jones has been principal investigator on four ESRC-funded research projects:

  • Bilingual literacies for learning in Further Education (2008, RES-139-25-0171);
  • Literacies at work in a multilingual city (1996, R000221534), rated “Outstanding” ;
  • Multilingual literacy practices: home, community and school (1995, R000233833);
  • Bilingual resources in primary classroom interaction (1992, X204252001).

She is also co-investigator on two current projects:

  • Researching multilingualism, multilingualism in research practice (RES-046-25-0004), funded under the ESRC’s Researcher Development Initiative, 2010-2013 (Dr Deirdre Martin is PI).
  • Investigating discourses of inheritance and identity in four multilingual European settings, 2010-2012 (09-HERA-JRP-CD-FP-051) funded as a Collaborative Research Project, under the Joint Research Programme: Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA)

Other activities

She was Director of the MOSAIC Centre for Research on Multilingualism, School of Education from 2007-2010 and Chair of the Doctoral Research Board, College of Social Sciences from 2009-2010. 

Marilyn Martin-Jones has held the following professional appointments:

  • 2005 to 2010: Member of the ESRC’s Research Training and Development Board
  • 2002 to 2004: Member of the Executive Committee of the British Association for Applied Linguistics

Visiting professorships

Sept-Dec 1997: Visiting Professor of Education, Graduate School of Education (Educational Linguistics Program), University of Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Sept 2002-Jul 2003: Visiting Professor and Director of Research, Rinkeby Institute for Multilingual Research, City of Stockholm and Centre for Research on Bilingualism, Stockholm University, Sweden.

May and June 2006: Visiting Professor, Babylon Centre, Tilburg University, The Netherlands


Selected publications

Martin-Jones, M. and Martin, D. (eds.) 2017 Researching multilingualism: Critical and ethnographic perspectives. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge

Saxena, M. and Martin-Jones, M. (2013) Multilingual resources in classroom interaction: ethnographic and discourse analytic perspectives. Language and Education 27 (4), 285-297. (Joint guest editorship of a special issue on ‘Multilingual resources in classroom interaction’).

Martin-Jones, M; Blackledge, A. and Creese, A. (2012) Routledge Handbook of Multilingualism. London: Routledge.

Martin-Jones, M. and Gardner, S. (2012) Introduction: multilingualism, discourse and ethnography. In S. Gardner and M. Martin-Jones (eds.) Multilingualism, discourse and ethnography. New York: Routledge.

Martin-Jones, M. (2011) Languages, texts and literacy practices: an ethnographic lens on bilingual vocational education in Wales. In T.L. McCarty (ed.) Ethnography and language policy. New York: Routledge, 231-253.

Martin-Jones, M. (2011) Language policies, multilingual classrooms: resonances across continents. In F.A. Hult and K.A.King (eds.) Educational linguistics in practice: applying the local globally and the global locally. Bristol: Multilingual Matters, 3-15.

Martin-Jones, M.; Kroon, S. and Kurvers, J.J. (2011) Multilingual literacies in the global south: language policy, literacy learning and use. Compare: a journal of comparative and international education, 41 (2), 157-164 (Joint guest editorship of a special issue on ‘Multilingual literacies in the global south’)

Ivanič, R; Edwards, R; Barton, D; Martin-Jones, M; Fowler, Z; Hughes, B; Mannion, G; Miller, K; Satchwell, C and Smith, J. (2009) Improving learning in college: rethinking literacies across the curriculum. London: Routlege.