Peter Browning

Peter Browning

Department of English Language and Linguistics
Teaching Fellow

Contact details

Frankland Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Peter is a sociolinguist with a background in English language teaching and teacher education who works at the intersections of Applied Linguistics, Sociolinguistics and TESOL. He has carried out research and taught in a number of HE contexts both in the UK and abroad and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


I have a background in modern languages and linguistics having studied BA Multilingual Studies (French, Spanish, Italian) at Royal Holloway, University of London. During my undergraduate year abroad (spent between Montpellier, France and Lecce, Italy) I had the opportunity to study European sociolinguistics and sociology (including sociology of language) which sparked my interest in sociolinguistics. I used the final year of my undergraduate study to specialise in the sociolinguistics of French and Occitan. 

During my undergraduate studies, I had worked as a language assistant at a local school teaching French, Spanish and English as an Additional Language. Inspired by this experience, on graduating from my BA, I spent two years working as an English language teaching assistant in Colombia. During this time, I took the Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) course and gained my first experience teaching EFL.

I returned to the UK to study an MA in Linguistics at Newcastle University. Alongside formal aspects of theoretical linguistics, I studied the sociolinguistics (variation and change) of English, sociology of language and became socialised into linguistic anthropological approaches to language and communication through the study of multilingualism in the Andes and of Occitan in France. My Master’s study culminated in my MA Dissertation which looked into terms of address (namely the second person “voseo”) in Antioquia, Colombia from a third-wave variationist sociolinguistic perspective.

I returned to Colombia in 2013 where I joined the faculty of the Universidad Católica de Oriente as lecturer in English Language Education on the Licenciatura en Lenguas Extranjeras (inglés y francés) (a four year Undergraduate ITT programme leading to QTS in English and French teaching). I acted as coordinator for the English Language Pathway and convened a number of modules including: Sociolinguistics, Introduction to Applied Linguistics, and English Language Teaching Methods (Didactics).

I returned to the UK to carry out an ESRC-funded doctoral research project at University College London’s Institute of Education. This project grew out of my involvement in English language teaching in Rionegro, Colombia and focused on the implementation of a bilingual (Spanish-English) language policy in this rapidly urbanising municipality. Approaching this policy implementation from a critical ethnographic sociolinguistic perspective, I interrogated the ways in which the policy became enmeshed with the politics of urban “transformation” in the municipality. Drawing on ethnographic data collected during 11 months of fieldwork, I argued that the language policy itself became an important “infrastructure of transformation” - a mechanism through which the discursive and ideological work of imbuing the material-urban changes with the meaning of “transformation” was achieved.

I join the University of Birmingham after stints working on Applied Linguistics, English and TESOL programmes at the University of Middlesex, the University of Edinburgh and University College London.


  • MA Applied Linguistics


My research refracts sociological, anthropological and applied approaches to language and communication and is motivated by the changing political-economic and socio-cultural conditions of the current time.

I bring my background in English language teaching and teacher education into dialogue with my expertise in sociolinguistics to respond to the changing spatial politics of modernity (gentrification, renovation, transformation, displacement, exile, migration) and account for the involvement of, and impact on, language (including language teaching and learning) and communication.

I have research expertise in the sociolinguistic areas of: language policy; bi/multilingualism; ethnography of language and communication; discourse analysis; language and place; language and political economy; linguistic anthropology and the sociolinguistics of Colombia.

My research aims to broaden the scope of Applied Linguistic and TESOL methodological and epistemological assumptions by engaging explicitly with knowledge produced though urban-geographical and arts-based praxis in the generation, circulation and dissemination of research.