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 the use of multilingual resources 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 (with Joan Pujolar) 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 28 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: the use of multilingual resources in classroom interaction, bilingual education, language policy, the ethnography of literacy (including print and screen literacy), multilingual literacy (see her list of publications below).

Latest research

The changing language and literacy landscapes of Brazilian universities: English in policy development and in practice (2018 - 2019)

This ethnographic project investigated the specific ways in which university policy-making with regard to “internationalisation at home” unfolds in two universities in Brazil, and the specific ways in which the use and production of texts in English, online and offline, is mediating this process, in different areas of academic life: research, teaching/learning (in different disciplines), and administration. 

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 was also co-investigator on two other projects:

  • Researching multilingualism, multilingualism in research practice (RES-046-25-0004), funded under the ESRC’s Researcher Development Initiative, 2010-2013 (Dr Deirdre Martin was 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

November 2014: Faculty Visitor, School of Education, University of Hong Kong

September – December 2013:  Visiting Professor, Centre for Applied Language Studies, University of Jyväkylä, Finland

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

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

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

April 1989, April 1993, April 1995:  Three visits to the University of Brasilia and the University of São Paulo at Campinas, Brazil to present papers at local conferences and participate in seminars on bilingualism, on literacy and on research methods. The visits were funded by the British Council and by (CAPES), a Brazilian research foundation.


Selected publications

Martin-Jones, M. and Magalhães, I. (2019) Literacy in the study of social change: Lusophone Perspectives. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Special Issue 259. pp.1-13.

Cabral, E. and Martin-Jones, M. (forthcoming – 2019) Developing language policy in a global age: the case of Timor-Leste. Language Policy.

Martin-Jones, M. and da Costa Cabral, I. (2018) The critical ethnographic turn in research on language policy and planning. In J. Tollefson and M. Pérez-Milans (eds.) Oxford handbook of language policy and planning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp.71-92.

Cabral, E. and Martin-Jones, M. (2018) Paths to multilingualism? Reflections on developments in language-in-education policy and practice in East-Timor. In C. Stroud, L. Wee and L. Lim (eds.) The multilingual citizen. Bristol: Multilingual Matters, pp.120-149.

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

Cabral, E. and Martin-Jones, M. (2017) Moving north, navigating new work worlds, and re-mooring: Language and other semiotic resources in the migration trajectories of East Timorese in the UK. In C. Kerfoot and K. Hyltenstam (eds.) Entangled discourses: South-north orders of visibility. New York: Routledge.

Martin-Jones, M. (2016) Afterword. Language and Education, 30 (2), 186-195. (Special issue on “Researching language-in-education in diverse, twenty-first century settings”).

Mariou, E., Bonacina, F., Martin, D. and Martin-Jones, M. (2016) Researching language-in-education in diverse, twenty-first century settings. Language and Education 30 (2). (Joint guest editorship and a single-authored Afterword).

Martin-Jones, M. (2015a) Multilingual classroom discourse as a window on wider social, political and ideological processes. In N. Markee (ed.) Handbook of classroom discourse and interaction. Oxford: Wiley, 446-460. 

Martin-Jones, M. (2015b) Afterword: In J. Simpson and A. Whiteside (eds.) Adult language education and migration: challenging agendas in policy and practice. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 257-263. 

Martin-Jones, M. (2015c) Classroom discourse as a lens on language-in-education policy processes. In F. Hult and D. Cassels Johnson (eds.) Research methods in language policy and planning. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 94-106.

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.