About me

I completed a PhD in Linguistics and English Language from the University of Edinburgh in 2011. My thesis considered the sociophonology of rhoticity and r-sandhi in East Lancashire. More information is available on my PhD page.

After submitting my thesis, I spent six months working as a postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Aberdeen on the Fisherspeak project, which investigated lexical attrition in Scottish fishing communities.

I have taught at the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and York: more details are on my teaching page.

I am currently working as a Research Associate at the University of Manchester on the Leverhulme-funded project Regional Identity and the Indexical Field.

From September 2012 I will be working as a Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Aberdeen, focusing on phonetics and phonology.

Before I returned to postgraduate study, I worked as a teacher of English at Dallam School in Cumbria for five years. I think that the teaching experience I gained as a secondary school teacher is useful for university teaching too!


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After my first degree at the University of Edinburgh (MA (Hons) English Language and Literature), I took a PGCE at St Martin’s College Lancaster and then taught English, Drama and Media Studies at Dallam School in Cumbria for five years. I taught across the age and ability range.

On returning to Edinburgh in 2005 to take an MSc by Research in English Language, I tutored various undergraduate courses, particularly first and second year courses in English Language and Linguistics. I also worked as a teaching assistant in some Honours level seminars and carried out some lecturing work.

University teaching

2011: The University of York. Lecturer for two third year courses: ‘Accents of Britain: English Dialect Phonetics, Phonology and Morphology’ and ‘Research in Language Variation and Change’.

2011: The University of Aberdeen. Lecturer for ‘Sounds of English’ second year course.

2009: The University of Edinburgh. Lecturer for English Language 1 module ‘The Sounds of English’.

2009: ‘Lancashire English’. Guest lecture given on the postgraduate seminar series on English Linguistics in the Faculty of Philology and History at the University of Augsburg.

2008: The University of Edinburgh. Teaching Assistant for Figurative Language Honours Course.

2006-9: Tutor for Linguistics 2: Empirical Methods.

2006: The University of Edinburgh. Teaching Assistant for Northern Englishes Honours Course.

2005-9: The University of Edinburgh. Tutor for English Language 1.

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Research Interests

I began my research career while an undergraduate by carrying out a short sociolinguistic study of realisational variation in the FACE and GOAT vowels in Kendal. After a six-year break to pursue a career in secondary school English teaching, I returned to academic research in 2005, when I began an MSc by Research at the UNiversity of Edinburgh. This focused on variation in the NURSE and SQUARE lexical sets in Greater Manchester, and is available on my MSc page.

The year I spent working on my MSc by Research was very useful in focusing my research interests. It soon became apparent that my research touched on several related areas including sociolinguistics, dialectology and phonological theory. I have continued to work in these areas, and my PhDtouches on all of them.

My research focuses on several related areas including sociolinguistics, dialectology and phonological theory. In my PhD, I investigate the dialectal feature of rhoticity, which is still present in East Lancashire. I consider socio-spatial factors which may influence the geographical variation in rhoticity. I also consider the distribution of intrusive-/r/, which is typically argued to be in complementary distribution with rhoticity. I show that the same speakers may have both features, and that this pattern is both compatible with existing phonological models and predicted by the socio-spatial factors in East Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

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