Universiteit Leiden

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Nathan Albury

Researcher 4

Dr. N.J. Albury
+31 71 527 2727

I am a postdoctoral fellow on the LEaDing Fellows programme, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND. I hold a PhD in Sociolinguistics from the Centre for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan at the University of Oslo.

More information about Nathan Albury

Fields of interest

  • Societal multilingualism
  • Language policy and planning
  • Linguistic epistemology and ideology
  • Language and ethnicity
  • Diasporic sociolinguistics
  • Decolonising sociolinguistic


My research concerns multilingualism, how communities construct and engage it in their own epistemological terms, and how societies manage linguistic diversity through policy and ideology. This helps to broaden our understanding of how humanity responds to linguistic diversity beyond sociolinguistic theory dominated by the West.

My postdoctoral project is titled "Rationalising multilingualism in Malaysia from an interethnic perspective", which straddles sociolinguistics, race and ethnicity studies, nation-building, Southeast Asian studies, and socioeconomic mobility. It examines societal and individual multilingualism through the local and comparative folk linguistic perspectives of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Indigenous Malaysian youth. It analyses how these language users themselves rationalise, experience, and construct Malaysia's significant multilingualism - resulting from ethnic diversity and historic migrations - in epistemic and dispositional terms. This includes how they engage with language contact and their own translanguaging practices, English and Mandarin as languages of economy, the linguistic landscape, and the government’s language policy. It also examines ideologies of diversity within and between Malaysia's ethnic groups, including how different Malaysian youths think diversity and the maintenance of their own heritage language is perceived by the other ethnic groups.

My other research has concerned problematising language vitality theory through local epistemological perspectives in Aotearoa New Zealand on what revitalising the Maori language means and should achieve, and perceived tensions in Norway between Sami language rights and Norwegian cultural identity. 

My work has also concerned language policy and practice in Serbia where Cyrillic and Latin are both official scripts, with a focus on discursive connections between script choice, post-Yugoslavian nationalism, ethnic identity, Orthodoxy, contemporaneity, and regionalisation.



Doctor of Philosophy in Sociolinguistics 
Centre for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan 
University of Oslo, Norway, 2016

Master of Arts (Linguistics) 
University of New England, Australia, 2013

Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Applied Linguistics 
Griffith University, Australia, 2002

Academic employment:

Assistant Professor, Department of English 
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Sep 2017 – Sept 2018

Visiting scholar, Graduate School of Education 
University of Pennsylvania, Aug 2016 – Feb 2017

Research Fellow, Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan 
University of Oslo, May 2014 – May 2017

Grants and awards

187,948HKD from Dean’s Reserve 
Faculty of Humanities, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 2018

Alumnus of the Year 
School of Languages and Linguistics, Griffith University, 2015

Key publications

Albury, N. J. (2018). Linguistic landscape and metalinguistic talk about societal multilingualism. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. doi: 10.1080/13670050.2018.1452894.

Albury, N. J. (2017). Mother tongues and languaging in Malaysia: Critical linguistics under critical examination. Language in Society, 46(4):567-589.

Albury, N. J. (2017). How folk linguistic methods can support critical sociolinguistics. Lingua, 199, 36-49.

Albury, N. J. & Carter, L. (2017). A typology of arguments for and against bilingual place-naming in Aotearoa New Zealand. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 38(9):831-842.

Albury, N. J. (2016). Defining Māori language revitalisation: A project in folk linguistics. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 20(3), 287-311.

Albury, N. J. (2017). The power of folk linguistic knowledge in language policy. Language Policy 16(2), 209-28.

Albury, N. J. (2015). Your language or ours? Inclusion and exclusion of non-indigenous majorities in Maori and Sámi language revitalization policy. Current Issues in Language Planning, 16(3), 315-334.

Researcher 4

  • Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
  • Leiden Univ Centre for Linguistics
  • LUCL Taalwetenschap

Work address

P.N. van Eyckhof 3
2311 BV Leiden
Room number 2.02c



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