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Li Wei (linguist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Li Wei (Chinese: 李嵬; pinyin: Lǐ Wéi) is a British linguist, journal editor, educator, and university leader, of Manchu-Chinese heritage, who is currently the Director and Dean of the UCL Institute of Education, University College London.[1] He is an elected Fellow of the British Academy , Member of Academia Europaea, Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (United Kingdom), and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA).[2] Prior to his appointment as IOE's Director and Dean in March 2021, he held a Chair of Applied Linguistics, was Director of the Centre for Applied Linguistics at the UCL Institute of Education, and directed the ESRC UCL, Bloomsbury (Birkbeck, SOAS, LSHTM) and East London Doctoral Training Partnership. Until the end of 2014, he was Pro Vice Chancellor (then called Pro-Vice-Master) of Birkbeck College, University of London, where he was Chair of Applied Linguistics and Director of the Birkbeck Graduate Research School. His research interests are in contact linguistics, bilingualism and multilingualism, language learning, and language education. He founded a number of journals in linguistics and education.



Li Wei was born in Beijing, China, of Manchu-Chinese parents and was initially trained as an English language teacher at the end of Mao's Cultural Revolution. He worked as an English teacher for two and a half years before studying for a BA in English language and literature at Beijing Normal University. He went to Newcastle University to teach Chinese in 1986. He has an MA in English Language Studies and a PhD in Speech Sciences from Newcastle. His PhD supervisor was the sociolinguist Lesley Milroy, with whom he worked on a number of research projects.

He became Professor of Applied Linguistics at Newcastle University in 1998, the first Chinese to achieve full professorial rank in linguistics in a UK university, and was Director of the Centre for Research in Linguistics between 1999 and 2002 and founding Head of the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences between 2002 and the end of 2006. He joined Birkbeck, University of London in January 2007 as Chair of Applied Linguistics. In January 2015, he took up the Chair of Applied Linguistics at University College London's Institute of Education.[3]



Amongst Li Wei's publications are the best selling The Bilingualism Reader, The Routledge Applied Linguistics Reader, Applied Linguistics, Translanguaging: Language, Bilingualism and Education (with Ofelia Garcia, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) which won the 2015 BAAL Book Prize, and The Blackwell Guide to Research Methods in Bilingualism and Multilingualism which won the 2009 British Association for Applied Linguistics Book Prize.[4] He is editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism (Taylor & Francis), and Applied Linguistics Review (De Gruyter). He founded several other leading journals in linguistics and education, including the International Journal of Bilingualism (Sage),[5] Global Chinese (De Gruyter), Chinese Language and Discourse, Language, Culture and Society (Benjamins), Educational Linguistics (De Gruyter), and Research Methods in Applied Linguistics (Elsevier). He is editor of the Wiley-Blackwell book series Research Methods in Language & Linguistics and Bloomsbury Studies in Linguistics.



Li is his surname, but he follows the Eastern Name Order and is known as Li Wei in his professional work and research publications. He is married to the linguist and intercultural communication scholar and educator Professor Zhu Hua, with whom he has two sons. In his Who's Who entry, he lists travel, music, non-fiction, and food and drink as his recreations.


  1. ^ "Professor Li Wei appointed as Director and Dean of the UCL Institute of Education". UCL. UCL Institute of Education. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  2. ^ "Fellows Archive". ACSS. Academy of Social Sciences. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  3. ^ "Li Wei". www.ucl.ac.uk. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  4. ^ British Association for Applied Linguistics:Book Prize 2009 Li Wei & Melissa G. Moyer. The Blackwell Guide to Research Methods in Bilingualism and Multilingualism. Blackwell (Accessed 20 March 2012)
  5. ^ International Journal of Bilingualism: Homepage (Accessed 20 March 2012)