25 years of English Language and Linguistics

English Language and Linguistics has reached volume 25. We four current editors are proud to be associated with the journal, and – in celebration of this quarter-century – we are happy to be able to write this blog-post to reflect a little on how ELL has developed over its years of publication.

ELL was founded in the mid-1990s (with first publication in 1997) by Bas Aarts, David Denison and Richard Hogg. They wrote in their editors’ note in the first issue that they began the journal because of a perceived need to offer a forum which “covers the range that ELL is intended to cover, a ‘natural class’ of research interests which deserves to be treated in one place”. They described this range as “the synchronic and the diachronic aspects of English language studies”, covering “the structure and development of the English language” and “informed by a knowledge and appreciation of linguistic theory”. We are very glad that they founded ELL all those years ago. The need that they perceived was real, as the success of the journal over the past 25 years has shown.

When ELL began, it had two issues per volume, publishing an average of 11 articles each year over the first five years of publication. There has been a steady increase in size over the years, showing both the need for the journal, and its success among its audience. ELL increased to three issues a year in 2007 (with an average of 18 articles per year in the following five years), and to four issues in 2019 (with 31 articles appearing in both 2019 and 2020). Alongside research articles, ELL has always had a substantial book review section. There were 13 book reviews in the first volume of ELL, and there were also, with remarkable (if coincidental) consistency, 13 book reviews in the latest full volume. We see the review section as an important part of the journal, spreading news of current research and research trends in a way that can be as important as the articles that is publishes.

While reflecting on the first 25 years of ELL, we found ourselves wondering whether the types and topics of articles have changed over the years, and whether there has been a change in who it is that writes the articles. We have investigated these things in some detail and we will be publishing a detailed analysis of trends in these areas as an editorial in the final issue of this jubilee volume. A spoiler about our findings that we can give here is that the range of topics covered in ELL and the types of people who have written on them have remained notably stable over the years, except in one respect: the use of quantitative methods and statistical analysis has increased considerably.

ELL has grown over its 25 volumes, but it has served its audience in a fundamentally consistent manner, showing that it is flexible where appropriate, but also that it has always served a very real and constant need. We look forward to ELL’s next 25 years with excitement.

Laurel J. Brinton (University of British Columbia)
Patrick Honeybone (University of Edinburgh)
Bernd Kortmann (University of Freiburg)
Elena Seoane (University of Vigo)

Both the first and the second issues of the 25th volume of English Language & Linguistics are available without charge for a limited time.

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