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Prof. Helen Kelly Holmes


Helen Kelly-Holmes is Professor of Applied Languages in the School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics, Ollscoil Luimnigh/University of Limerick and is an active member of the Centre for Applied Language Studies (CALS), having previously served as Director of the Centre. Her research concerns sociolinguistics, the study of language in society, and focuses on the interrelationship between media, markets, technologies and languages. She is particularly interested in the economic aspects of multilingualism, especially in relation to minority languages and the global political economy of English Recent books include: Sociolinguistics from the Periphery: Small Languages in New Circumstances (Cambridge University Press, 2016); Language and the Media (Routledge Critical Concepts in Linguistics 2015); and Multilingualism and the Periphery (Oxford University Press, 2013). Helen is Co-Editor-in-Chief (with Kate Menken, CUNY) of Language Policy (published by Springer), the leading journal in the field, and of Palgrave's long-running Language and Globalization book series (with Sue Wright). She holds an Adjunct Professorship in Discourse Studies at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Helen is a graduate of the University of Limerick, where she studied Marketing and German (1987-1991). She completed her PhD in 1995 at Aston University Birmingham on the topic of advertising as a new discourse in the former German Democratic Republic. She took up a Lectureship in German at Aston University in Birmingham in 1995, and joined University of Limerick in 2002 as a UL Foundation Research Scholar (2002-2007). She was appointed as a Lecturer in Sociolinguistics in 2007 and was appointed to the Chair in Applied Languages in 2015. In September 2017, Helen was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Research Interests

I have a wide range of interests under the broad heading of sociolinguistics, with a particular focus on the interrelationships between media and language and on economic aspects of multilingualism. I am currently working on an edited volume on 'Language and Blue Collar Work' for Routledge with Kellie Goncalves, MultiLing, University of Oslo (to appear 2020) and a longer term text book project on Language and Globalization.
I am always interested in applications for research supervision in the broad areas of language policy, particularly in relation to media, marketing and multilingualism; projects in the area of discourse analysis; TESOL projects in the areas of language ideologies/attitudes, political economy and globalization; and in social media.
Previous collaborations included the Peripheral Multilingualism project (for more details: and the Northern Multilingualism project with Sari Pietikainen, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland.
If you are interested in submitting a proposal to the Language and Globalization series, which I co-edit with Sue Wright, please do feel free to contact me (

Teaching Interests

Please note: As I'm currently seconded to the role of Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, I only undertake very limited teaching. My teaching interests are closely linked to my research interests. I teach a number of modules in the area of general linguistics (Language and Culture, a first year introductory course), sociolinguistics and media studies (New Media, Language and Globalization, a fourth year elective; Applied Sociolinguistics, an elective on the Structured PhD in TESOL; and Analyzing Media Discourse, a second year elective).

Professional Activities


  • 2009 - Adjunct Professorship in Discourse Studies


  • 1995 Aston University, Birmingham, UK - Lecturer


  • 1995 Aston University, Birmingham - Doctor of Philosophy
  • 1991 University of Limerick - B.Business Studies


  • Member, Irish Association of Applied Linguistics
  • Member, International Pragmatics Association


  • Co-Editor in Chief, Language Policy (Springer),
  • Series Co-Editor, Language and Globalization (Palgrave),
  • Editorial Board, Discourse, Context and Media (Elsevier),


Book Chapter


Contact, community and continuity: The case of German speakers in mid-west Ireland
Kelly-Holmes, H;Conacher, JE
Sprachbegegnung und Sprachkontakt in europäischer Dimension


Thinking beyond the technology: Towards a broader understanding of new language-learning environments
Conacher, JE; Kelly-Holmes, H
New Learning Environments for Language Learning. Moving beyond the classroom?


`When Hector met Tom Cruise': Attitudes to Irish in a radio satire.
Kelly-Holmes, H; Atkinson, D
Language in the Media; Representations, Identities, Ideologies

Edited Book

Peer Reviewed Journal


Codeswitching, identity and ownership in Irish radio comedy
Atkinson, D; Kelly-Holmes, H
Journal Of Pragmatics DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2010.07.021


Convergence and divergence in Basque, Irish and Sami media language policing
Kelly-Holmes, H; Moriarty, M; Pietikainen, S
Language Policy DOI: 10.1007/s10993-009-9126-y


Death of a metaphor: reviewing the 'marketing as relationships' frame
O'Malley, L; Patterson, M; Kelly-Holmes, H
Marketing Theory DOI: 10.1177/1470593108089203


Minority language advertising: A profile of two Irish-language newspapers
Kelly-Holmes H., Atkinson D.
Journal Of Multilingual And Multicultural Development DOI: 10.2167/jmmd473.1