Linguistics and English Language

Research highlights

A selection of current projects in Linguistics and English Language

Advancing the European Multilingual Experience (AThEME)

(PI Antonella Sorace, funded by EC FP-7 framework c. £275k, 2014 - 2019)

Investigating multilingualism in Europe: the project will investigate cognitive, linguistic, and sociological issues in multilingual Europe, including minority and heritage languages, communicative impairment, and multilingualism across the lifespan. The project will also assess existing public policies and practices in education and health, and contribute to evidence-based policy making.

Advancing the European Multilingual Experience 

Cognitive and Interactional Causes of Regularity in Language

(PI Kenny Smith, funded by the ESRC c. £560k, 2013 - 2016)

Variation in language: languages are full of variation, but this variation is predictable rather than random. This project will explore why there is so little truly random variation in languages: is it a result of our biology, or the way we learn from one another, or both? 

Cognitive and Interactional Causes of Regularity in Language

Edinburgh Speaks

(PI Josef Fruehwald, supported by PPLS)

Investigating language use in and around Edinburgh: the project will explore the huge diversity of speech, accents, and language use in and around Edinburgh. Researchers are aiming to document, describe, and analyse this diversity, helped by resources such as the Edinburgh Speech Production Facility Corpus.

Edinburgh Speaks

From Inglis to Scots

(PI Bettelou Los, funded by the  AHRC  c. £1m, 2014 - 2018)

Building a corpus of spelling variation in early Scots: the project aims to understand the sound system in Older Scots and to trace it back to its sources in the dialects of Old English, Old Norse, and beyond. To do this, researchers are surveying spelling variations in Old Scots using the Linguistic Atlas of Older Scots, also developed at Edinburgh. 

From Inglis to Scots

Singing in tone: text setting constraints in South-East Asia

(PI James Kirby, funded by the AHRC c. £107k, 2015 - 2017)

Studying how people match words to melody in tonal languages: this project will study how it is possible to sing in a tone language like Thai or Chinese. In Thai, for example, the syllable 'khaa' can mean one of five different things depending on whether it is spoken with high, medium, low, rising, or falling pitch. Since music is made up of notes with different pitches, how is it possible for speakers of a language like Thai to understand song lyrics at all?

Singing in tone: text-setting constraints in South-East Asia