About

I’ve always been fascinated by what people can do with language.  At the broadest level, I’m interested in what can be expressed through language, and the different ways (linguistically and extra-linguistically) that people arrive at interpretation and create meaning.  It’s how these different types of meaning (semantic, pragmatic, social) interact, and influence each other, that my work is concerned with.

To some extent, we are all unreliable narrators when it comes to communicating.  Do I ever know that what I intended was fully interpreted by you?  Do you ever know that what you interpreted was what I fully intended?  It is in this interactional space between speaker intention and hearer interpretation where meaning gets messy.  This tension between intention and interpretation – how people navigate this pragmatic and social space – is at the core of my research interests.

I am currently at Stanford where my ongoing research projects are looking at political slogans, dogwhistles and quotation strategies (with Rebekah Baglini) – all areas where the social and semantic/pragmatic collide.

I got my M.A. in Linguistics from Queen Mary, University of London in 2016.  My M.A. dissertation looked at creaky voice (or vocal fry) use amongst a small cohort of middle and upper-middle class London millennials.  You can read about that here.

Before that, I received by B.A. in Linguistics from SOAS, University of London in 2014.  My B.A. dissertation looked at possible social motivations for ideophone loss (highly expressive, sensory, “iconic” words) in two very different linguistic and social situations: Zulu and Quechua.  You can read about ideophones here and my B.A. dissertation here.

In non-academic life I have been an aspiring actress, a teacher in Madrid, a local government consultant, and, for a very brief stint, an intern in the UK Parliament.