My main research interests lie in English historical phonology and some of my views on the nature of phonological change in English through time can be seen in my A History of English Phonology (London, Longman, 1989). I have more recently concentrated my researches into the phonology of English in the late Modern period and, as a long term research project, hope to be able to complete a full History of English Phonology 1700-1900. Over the past few years I have published several papers in this area, some of which directly relate phonological change to sociolinguistic events. I have also a strong research interest in the English language as it has been and is now spoken in Scotland. I have edited the first ever history of English in Scotland (The Edinburgh History of the Scots Language, Edinburgh University Press, 1997). More particularly, I have concentrated my work on the much neglected area of eighteenth and nineteenth century Scottish English, research which has produced A Language Suppressed: the Pronunciation of Scots in the Eighteenth Century (John Donald, 1995) as well as a critical edition of Sylvester Douglas' A Treatise on the Provincial Dialect of Scotland (Edinburgh University Press, 1991). I have also a research interest in spelling reform in general and, in particular, its manifestations in the eighteenth century.
1993. 'Scottish Standard English in the late Eighteenth Century' Transactions of the Philological Society 91, 95-131.
1996. 'Alexander Geddes: An Eighteenth Century Scottish Orthoepist and Dialectologist', Folia Linguistica Historica xvii, 71-103.
997. 'Phonology' in Charles Jones (ed.) The Edinburgh History of the Scots Language, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 267-334.
1997. 'An Early Eighteenth Century Scottish Spelling Book for Ladies', English Studies 78 430-450.
1999. 'An Improper Lady: Some Observations of the status of Sociophonetic Evidence in the early Nineteenth Century', Folia Linguistica Historica xix, 129-171.
2000. 'Nationality and Standardisation: the English language in Scotland in the age of improvement'. Sociolinguistics 13, 112-128.
2006. 'English Pronunciation in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries'. Palgrave McMillan, Basingstoke, xi+402pp.
'An Early Eighteenth Century Spelling Reformer: John Wild of Littleleek'. (forthcoming)