Testing the AU Phon group’s audiometer.

Hello there!
I’m an AUFF Postdoctoral Fellow working within the areas of phonetics, sociolinguistics and language variation and change at Aarhus University in Denmark. Here at Aarhus I’m part of the English department, where there’s a small but steadily growing community of phoneticians (see here for more details on the phonetics and phonology research group I co-organise). I am also an affiliate of the AU Centre for Irish Studies

In my current postdoc (2019-2021) I’m working with Míša Hejná (the PI) on a project which aims to tease apart biological, social and chronological age in studies of language variation and change. The project is methodology-oriented, and we’re working on ways in which the linguist can operationalise and quantify a speaker’s social age (the age one identifies as) and biological age (the physiological age of one’s body) in expanded versions of the traditional sociolinguistic interview. We’re working with speakers of Newcastle English and Aarhus Danish (although data collection has, of course, been severely impacted by the coronavirus crisis).

A side project of ours during this time has resulted in a body of work on the socio-pragmatics of a code-switching phenomenon we call the language shift (“sprogskiftet”), whereby L2 learners of Danish attempting to converse with native Danish speakers in Danes often find that the conversational language is changed by the Danish interlocutor to English. We have also been investigating how Danish pronunciation is being taught to adult L2 learners at Danish language schools.

Previously, I’ve worked as a Carlsberg Foundation postdoc at AU on a project detailing intonational innovation in post-referendum Belfast. Here, I took a more sociolinguistic angle to variation by trying to map out how speakers make use of fine intonational detail to signal membership to unionist or republican political groupings. This work followed on from my PhD (2012-2016) at the University of Cambridge, where I was supervised by Bert Vaux and Francis Nolan. This work detailed the co-variation of intonational, ethnolinguistic and stylistic phenomena in Sydney Australian Englishes.

Research interests:

  • Intonation and other aspects of prosody
  • Language variation and change
  • Sociolinguistics and pragmatics
  • Dialects and dialectology