Janet Holmes (linguist)

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Janet Holmes

Janet Holmes ONZM (cropped).jpg
Holmes in 2016
Born (1947-05-17) 17 May 1947 (age 73)
Liverpool, United Kingdom
CitizenshipNew Zealand
Alma mater University of Leeds
Scientific career
Institutions Victoria University of Wellington
Thesis The language of spoken monologue: an analysis of topic and narrative structure.  (1970)

Janet Holmes ONZM (born 17 May 1947) [1] is a New Zealand sociolinguist. Her research interests include language and gender, language in the workplace, and New Zealand English.


Academic career

After obtaining an MPhil at the University of Leeds, Holmes moved to Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, later becoming a naturalised New Zealander in 1975. [1] She published a textbook Introduction to Sociolinguistics in 1992 which has run to five editions. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and won the Dame Joan Metge Medal in 2012. [2] She is now an Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Holmes has published widely on an array of topics. In 1996, she established the Wellington Language in the Workplace (LWP) project, [3] which is an ongoing study of communication formats occurring in the workplace, which examines “small talk, humour, management strategies, directives, and leadership in a wide range of New Zealand workplaces”.

Holmes has been featured on the media, such as the Radio New Zealand and newspapers. Topics she talked about included the way people communicate at work, [4] how complicated the phenomenon of sexist language is, [5] the pitfalls and possibilities of cross-cultural communication in the workplace, [6] or whether men or women talk more. [7]

In recognition of Holmes' contributions to the field of Sociolinguistics, Linguist at Work: Festschrift for Janet Holmes [8] brings together works by Holmes's colleagues, students, collaborators, and friends which present new ideas and analysis within the field. In the 2016 New Year Honours, Holmes was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to linguistics. [9] In July 2019, Holmes was conferred with an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the University of Warwick. [10]


Related Research Articles

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Small talk discourse

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  1. 1 2 "New Zealand, naturalisations, 1843–1981" . Ancestry.com Operations. 2010. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  2. "Medals awarded to top New Zealand researchers « Media Releases « News « Royal Society of New Zealand". Royalsociety.org.nz. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  3. "School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies". Language in the Workplace. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  4. "Professor Janet Holmes". RNZ. 3 July 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  5. "Janet Holmes". RNZ. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  6. "Janet Holmes - Work Talk". RNZ. 6 November 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  7. Holmes, Janet (10 August 2011). "Men v women: who utters more words a day?". Stuff. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  8. "Linguist at Work: A Festschrift for Janet Holmes". vup.victoria.ac.nz. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  9. "New Year honours list 2016". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  10. "Guardian journalist, leading Chinese scientist, and actor from Harry Potter and Doctor Who among those to receive University of Warwick honorary degrees". warwick.ac.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2019.