Dr Ella Jeffries

Department of Language and Linguistics
Dr Ella Jeffries
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 873762

  • Location

    4.207, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    Wednesdays 10-11am and Thursdays 2-3pm



My interests lie in the field of sociolinguistics, with a particular focus on regional accent variation. My PhD research looked into children's developing perceptual awareness of phonological regional accent differences. Building on this, my current research investigates children's attitudes towards speakers with different regional accents. This work incorporates approaches from different fields of linguistic research including language variation and change, sociophonetics, language acquisition and psycholinguistics. Other topics of interest within sociolinguistics include language and gender, varieties of English and language attitudes/ideologies.


  • BA Linguistics,Lancaster University

  • MA Linguistics, University College London

  • PhD Linguistics, University of York


University of Essex

  • Lecturer in Linguistics, Language and Linguistics, University of Essex (1/9/2017 - present)

Other academic

  • Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics, English, University of Worcester (1/8/2016 - 30/6/2017)

Research and professional activities

Research interests


Open to supervise


Open to supervise

Regional accents/dialects

Open to supervise

Variation in language acquisition

Open to supervise

Conferences and presentations

Accent the Positive: An investigation into children's implicit attitudes towards different regional accents

New Ways of Analyzing Variation 50 (NWAV50) conference, Stanford, United States, 15/10/2022

Negotiating heritage language and identity: a mixed-method study of multilingual HongKonger migrants in Britain

British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) conference, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom, 2/9/2022

Children’s categorisation of speakers by regional accent

Invited presentation, Invited talk (online), The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 5/7/2022

Children's developing awareness of regional accent variation

Invited presentation, Essex Language conference for teachers (online), Colchester, United Kingdom, 2/7/2022

Exploring the role of face-to-face and online interactions in rates of accent change for university students during the COVID-19 pandemic

Language Variation and Change in the South of England, Univesity of Suffolk, Ipswich, UK, 22/4/2022

The roles of familiarity and similarity in children’s developing accent awareness

UK Language Variation and Change 12, London, United Kingdom, 4/9/2019

The BATH TRAP split in the West Midlands a real time investigation

The International Conference on Language Variation in Europe, ICLaVE10, Leeuwarden, Netherlands, 27/6/2019

Children’s perception of monophthongal GOAT and FACE vowels from Yorkshire and Tyneside speakers

8th Northern Englishes Workshop, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, 28/3/2018

Not exactly West Midlands: findings from the Worcester Dialect Archive

UK Language Variation and Change 11, Cardiff, United Kingdom, 30/9/2017

Developments in accent perception between the pre-school and primary school years and the effects of exposure to variation

Workshop on Speech Perception and Production across the Lifespan, London, United Kingdom, 27/4/2017

The role of linguistic input in children’s perception of vowel changes in progress: The FACE and GOAT vowels in York

4th Workshop on Sound Change, 4th Workshop on Sound Change, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 21/4/2017

Methodological issues: investigating children’s perception of regional variation

Variation in Language Acquisition 3 (ViLA 3), Salzburg, Austria, 8/2/2017

Pre-schoolers’ categorisation of speakers by regional accent

UK Language Variation and Change 10, York, United Kingdom, 2/9/2015

Pre-schoolers’ categorisation of speakers by phonological variables

International Child Phonology Conference, St. John's, Canada, 25/6/2015

Pre-schoolers’ categorisation of speakers by regional accent

Variation in Language Acquisition 2 (ViLA 2), Aples, France, 4/12/2014

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Foundations of Sociolinguistics (LG114)

  • Language and Gender (LG220)

  • English Language in the media (LG222)


Journal articles (3)

Jeffries, E., (2022). 5–9-year-olds categorisation of regional accents: The role of exposure to variation. Lingua. 267, 103189-103189

Asprey, E., Jeffries, E. and Kailoglou, E., (2021). First approaches to an underexplored dialect region: Trudgill’s Upper Southwest. Dialectologia et Geolinguistica. 29 (1), 137-159

Jeffries, E., (2019). Preschool children's categorization of speakers by regional accent. Language Variation and Change. 31 (3), 329-352

Reports and Papers (1)

Jeffries, ERW., (2015). Pre-school children’s identification of familiar speakers and the role of accent features.

Other (1)

Jeffries, ERW., (2011).Book Review: Just a Phrase I’m Going Through by David Crystal, 2009.. Language and Literature. 20(2),SAGE Publications

Grants and funding


Dialect and identity in Essex

University of Essex (CPPE)


Accent the positive: an investigation into children's implicit attitudes towards different regional accents

British Academy

+44 (0) 1206 873762


4.207, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

Wednesdays 10-11am and Thursdays 2-3pm

More about me