About meI work as a senior lecturer in English Language in the department of Linguistics and English Language at the University of Edinburgh. I hold a BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature from the University of Manchester, and was a postgraduate at Edinburgh. I completed my PhD entitled Variation and (socio)linguistic theory: a case study of Tyneside English in 2000. I have also been a guest lecturer in sociolinguistics at the University of Glasgow, and I enjoyed a week teaching at the University of Naples as part of the Socrates program, and at the University of Hyderabad, India, as part of the British Council's India-UK Academic Network programme.
Grammaticalization and lexicalization in English
My current research is primarily concerned with the related phenomena of grammaticalization and lexicalization, as part of a wider interest in English historical linguistics. I have been particularly interested in the role of constructions in grammaticalization and lexicalization, and this has involved research into the development of English impersonals and transitive clauses, composite predicate constructions, and possessives. A current project is concerned with gradience/gradualness and the emergence of grammaticalized and lexicalized constructions. My work therefore represents an intersection of grammaticalization studies with Construction Grammars of various kinds.
Non-standard varieties of English, past and present
I have always been interested in accents and dialects of English (especially those spoken in England), and in how we can account for variation and change in such varieties. This means that I am also interested in certain aspects of general linguistic theory, including sociolinguistics. I have published work on a number of topics, from grammatical variation in present-day Tyneside English to variation in spellings in Old English charters written in Kent in the ninth century. I am also working on a textbook in the Edinburgh Textbooks on the English Language series, entitled An Introduction to English Sociolinguistics.
The place of language in the English school classroom is also important to me, and I have published research particularly on knowledge about language in the Scottish secondary curriculum, though I am involved in UK-wide committee and consultancy work. I am a member of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain's Education Committee, and also secretary of the Committee for Linguistics in Education. In Scotland, I chair the Committee for Language Awareness in Scottish Schools (CLASS), and am a member of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies' Language Committee. If you are a teacher of English in Scotland, and would like to discuss aspects of language study in the English classroom (from P1 to Advanced Higher), please contact me. If you are based in southern or central Scotland, you might be interested in an Open Studies course run by members of the department, entitled Language in Textual Analysis. This course will be available from the 2006-7 session onwards. For students and teachers working on A-level English Language, I can thoroughly recommend the English Language weblog created and maintained by Dan Clayton at St. Francis Xavier 6th Form College in Clapham, London, and emagazine (both the magazine itself and the associated website) published by the English and Media Centre in London.
University administrationConvenor, MSc in English Language
Member, University Disability Committee
Chair, Mental Health subgroup of Disability Committee
External administrationChair, Committee for Linguistics in Education (to 2012)
Chair, Committee for Language Awareness in Scottish Schools
Secretary, International Society for the Linguistics of English (to 2011)
Member, Linguistics Association of Great Britain's Education Committee
Member, Linguistics Specialist Advisory Group, LLAS Subject Centre of HEA
Contact detailse-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
post: Linguistics and English Language, University of Edinburgh, Dugald Stewart Building, 3 Charles Street, Edinburgh. EH8 9AD.