Dr James McLellan


Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences


James McLellan is an associate professor in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Brunei Darussalam (from 2011 to present, and formerly from 1990-2002). Current teaching responsibilities include

Language Issues in Brunei

Language in Society

The History of English

The Structure of English

Analysing Talk

and Academic Exercise / Research Project supervision

His PhD is from Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia, on the topic of Language Alternation in two Brunei online discussion forums.

He previously taught languages (French, German, English) at secondary and tertiary levels in the UK, France, Malaysia, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and in Brunei Darussalam. His major research interests include: Malay-English code-switching, especially in electronically-mediated discourse; language maintenance and shift in the context of Borneo with particular reference to the Bidayuh community in western Sarawak; language policy and planning in multilingual societies, and South-East Asian varieties of English, including English as a lingua franca (ELF). He is preparing a sole-authored book entitled "Explorations in Interlingual Dynamics" which will challenge the notion of language as self-contained autonomous systems, and an edited volume on language use in social media across Southeast Asia.


B.A. University of Cambridge, 1974
M.A. University of York,1985
PhD. Curtin University of Technology, 2005


Language Alternation (Malay-English code switching; Bahasa campuran; ‘Bahasa rojak’), especially in written and online contexts, Multilingual Education in Borneo, and in Timor-Leste: policies and classroom practices, Southeast Asian Englishes: Asian lingua franca English, especially idiomatic expressions, Borneo Indigenous languages, especially varieties of Bidayuh


Media discourse of reports on the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement: A comparative analysis of UK and Malay World newspapers. (Dr Andrew Kythreotis, PI, Dr Sharifah N Alkaff Dr Siti Mazidah Mohamad Dr J McLellan)

4 key research questions: 1. What concerns about anthropogenic climate change are revealed through how the media in the UK and the Malay World framed the Paris Agreement? 2. To what degree are the three main frameworks for responding to climate change, catastrophism, gradualism and scepticism, revealed in this corpus? 3. Did the respective reporting of the Paris Agreement lead to any changes in government climate policy in the countries covered in the project over a timeframe of 6 months? 4. How can the project findings assist His Majesty’s Government with respect to future policy trajectories related to national and international climate change commitments and Wawasan 2035 in Brunei Darussalam?

Applications Invited

Borneo and Mindanao: A comparative study of translanguaging practices and identity projection, negotiation and concealment.

This project compares and contrasts the languages and peoples of two large islands of insular Southeast Asia, Borneo and Mindanao, focussing on multilingualism, and on interactions within and between ethnolinguistic communities. Whilst there are comparisons to be made using binary polarities e.g. coastal vs interior, indigenous vs immigrant, it is hoped that this project can break new ground by going beyond such simplistic frameworks in order to show that the region can be a locus for development of new theoretical and methodolgical approaches that are locally derived, not imported from elsewhere in the world. Translanguaging (Garcia & Li Wei 2014) is an alternative term for language mixing, language alternation or code switching, more appropriate to multilingual insular Southeast Asia. Identity projection is how communities and individuals view themelves and wish to be viewed by others. Identity negotiation is relevant in contexts where minority groups are part of larger polities and may thus feel that they have to subsume, or even conceal, their identity, language and culture. This is applicable to Mindanao as part of the Philippines governed from Manila, and to Sabah, Sarawak and Kalimantan in Borneo, ruled from Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta respectively. Brunei Darussalam is the only independent polity not controlled from outside.

Applications Invited

Scopus Publications

Scopus Publications


McLellan, J. (2019).Towards dehegemonizing the English language: Perspectives of a “center” researcher working in the periphery. Langkit, 8, 1-16.
Alkaff, S.N., & McLellan, J. (2018). ‘Stranger in the dark’: A comparative analysis of the reporting of rape cases against minors in Malay and English newspapers in Brunei and Malaysia.
GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies 18(3), 17–34.
Muhammed Najib Noorashid & McLellan, J. (2018). Teaching and Learning an Ethnic Minority Language at University Level: The Case of Dusun in Brunei. GEMA Online Journal of
Language Studies 18(1), 217-233.
Sharifah Nurulhuda Alkaff & McLellan, J. (2017). Same news, different stances’? A comparative media discourse investigation of hard news texts in the New Straits Times and Berita
Harian'. Pertanika: Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 25(2), 511–540.
McLellan, J., & Chin, G. V. S. (2016). Introduction: English in Brunei Darussalam. World Englishes, 35(4), 492–496.


Noor Azam Haji-Othman, McLellan, J., & Jones, G.M. (2019). Language policy and practice in Brunei Darussalam. In A. Kirkpatrick & A. Liddicoat (Eds.) Routledge Handbook of Language Policy and Practice in Asia (pp. 314-325). London: Routledge
McLellan, J., & Jones, G. (2015). Maintaining and revitalising the indigenous endangered languages of Borneo: Comparing 'top-down' and community-based policy initiatives and
strategies. In M. Jones (ed.), Policy and planning for endangered languages (pp. 18–30). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Noor Azam Haji-Othman, & McLellan, J. (2018). Case study: EMI in Universiti Brunei Darussalam. In R. Barnard & Zuwati Hasim (Eds.), English Medium Instruction Programmes:
Perspectives from South East Asian Universities (pp. 41-54). London: Routledge, Taylor and Francis
McLellan, J., & Campbell, Y. M. (2015). Bidayuh as a subject at pre-school and primary levels. Towards a greater role for a Borneo indigenous language in the Malaysian education
system. In C. Volker & F. Anderson (Eds.), Education in languages of lesser power: Asia-Pacific perspectives (pp. 131–151). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
McLellan, J. (2015). Borneo language revitalisation: What should communities aim to revitalise? Languages, varieties, or subvarieties? In A. Clynes, M. Boutin & P. Sercombe (Eds.),
Advances in linguistic and cultural research in Borneo: Studies in memory of Peter W. Martin, (pp. 57–77). Phillips, ME: Borneo Research Council.


‘Doctor-patient communication in initial consultations in Brunei outpatient clinics: Language choice and interaction patterns’
James McLellan, Dr Hjh Fazean Irdayati Hj Idris, Dr Hjh Hashmet Parveen Ghouse & Dr Hjh Dyg Fatimah Hj Awg Chuchu
01/04/2013 - 31/03/2014

'Language choice and use among foreign woorkers in Brunei Darussalam
James McLellan & Dr Hjh Dyg Fatimah Hj Awg Chuchu
$10,000 - Seed funding
29/04/2012 - 30/09/2014

'A multidisciplinary investigation of media texts in Malay and English in Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia'
Dr Hjh Sharifah Nurulhuda Alkaff, James Mclellan,Dr Hjh Dyg Fatimah Hj Awg Chuchu
06/01/2014 - 05/01/2016


Yes, provides consultancy.

Industry, Institute, or Organisation Collaboration

RBAF Command and Staff Course: Media Interview Strategies, consultancy: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Department of Civil Aviation, Brunei Darussalam: ICAO testing for air traffic control officers, 2018, 2020


Has industry experience.


All my research, published and unpublished, has social and academic benefits. Some may have commercial benefits.