I am a linguist based in Manchester (UK) involved primarily in sociolinguistic variation (especially at the level of sound), urban adolescent speech, dialects, linguistic ethnography, and identity. I am currently a senior lecturer in the Department of Languages at Manchester Metropolitan University, where I teach sociolinguistics and phonetics to final year undergraduates and MA students. I am Head of Youth Language at the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies, based at MMU.
In 2014 I was awarded a Leverhulme Trust project grant for a project entitled Expressing inner city youth identity through Multicultural Urban British English. This is a continuation of the work I started in 2013, looking at the speech of 14-16 year olds in two non-mainstream learning centres in Manchester. The project ran for two years and involved the appointment of a full-time research associate (Dr Susan Dray) who joined me in collecting and analysing ethnographic and speech data from two Pupil Referral Units and one mainstream school in the city. The project is now known as the UrBEn-ID project, details here.
I have also been working with Erin Carrie on Manchester Voices – a series of studies into the accents, dialects and people of Greater Manchester. This is an ongoing project which will eventually encompass my work with young people and my previous work with non-native English speakers.
In 2010 I was awarded a PhD in Linguistics from The University of Manchester. My thesis is a sociophonetic study into variation in L2 phonological acquisition entitled ‘Sociolinguistic variation in a second language: the influence of local accent on the pronunciation of non-native English speakers living in Manchester’. More details here.
I undertake (and supervise) research in sociolinguistics, with a special focus on the following areas:
- Language variation and change (particularly phonetic and phonological variation)
- Urban youth language
- Sociolinguistics and grime music
- Dialect acquisition
- Sociolinguistic variation in a second language
- Language and identity
- The acquisition of linguistic variation
- Sociolinguistics and language teaching