Research

I am interested in social meaning and how people use language and linguistic variation to do things.

What does this mean?

By linguistic variation I’m talking about differences in the way people speak. These differences can be really noticeable, like geographical accents, but also really subtle, like slightly different pronunciations of a vowel by the same speaker across one conversation. I’m interested in how people use these differences, big and small, to do social things like construct a persona, create and understand group identities, navigate conversations, and covertly signal ideological affiliations.

I take the position that linguistic variation is ideological variation. Understanding the ways in which language and ideology work together is at the heart of my research.

I am now starting to apply some of these questions to young children’s language.

I received my M.A. in Linguistics from Queen Mary, University of London in 2016.  My M.A. dissertation looked at the use of creaky voice (or vocal fry) amongst a small cohort of middle and upper-middle class London millennials. I presented some of this work in a talk at NWAV46. You can see those slides here.

Before that, I received my B.A. in Linguistics from SOAS, University of London in 2014.  My B.A. dissertation explored possible social motivations for ideophone loss (highly expressive, sensory, “iconic” words) in two very different linguistic and social situations: Zulu and Quechua. Some of these ideas were covered in a talk I gave at Nanzan University in November 2017 at Workshop in Mimetics II: New approaches to old questions. You can see those slides here and learn more about ideophones here.