British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow
My principal research interests are in the sociolinguistics of minority language use, speakers’ attitudinal and ideological perceptions, and the sociology of the Gaelic languages. I've also conducted research and published on the sociolinguistics of the Cornish language. I obtained my undergraduate MA (Hons) degree in Celtic and Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh in 2008, before graduating from the University of Oxford in 2010 with a master’s degree in Celtic. My PhD, which was funded by the inter-university research network Soillse, examined long-term outcomes of Gaelic-medium education in Scotland, assessing language use, ideologies and attitudes among a sample of 130 adults who started in GME between 1985 and 1995. After completing my doctorate in 2014 I was employed as a postdoctoral project assistant at the University of Glasgow as part of a team researching language proficiency among new speakers. In October 2015 I was employed as Soillse Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, contributing to an interim assessment of the impact of the current National Gaelic Language Plan, as well as teaching undergraduate students of Celtic Civilisation and Linguistics & the Gaelic Language. In 2016 I was awarded a three-year postdoctoral fellowship by the British Academy to investigate new speaker practices and ideologies in Scotland and Nova Scotia, Canada.
Linguistics and the Gaelic Language (Pragmatics, Second Language Acquisition, Bilingualism)
Celtic Civilisation 1A & 1B
Current research interestsMy postdoctoral fellowship will address the role of new speakers in Gaelic revitalisation initiatives in two divergent contexts. Gaelic is a minority language, spoken by just over 1% of the total population of Scotland, with another small community of speakers in Canada. New speakers in these contexts have acquired Gaelic as an additional language outside of the home and make frequent use of it in their daily lives. Whilst attitudes to Gaelic have been examined in quantitative surveys, the relationship between bilingual individuals’ attitudinal perceptions of their languages and their actual linguistic practices remains an understudied area of sociolinguistic analysis. Through a combination of mixed methods, this project will build on work I have previously conducted to investigate the nature of that relationship among new speakers in both Scotland and Nova Scotia.
Past research interestsSociolinguistics, Bilingual education, Bilingualism, Celtic language maintenance, Language policy and planning
Affiliated research centres
Examing language use, identities and ideologies among new Gaelic speakers in Scotland and Nova Scotia through bibliographic, semi-structured interviews, participant observation and statistical analysis.
Current project grants
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship 2016-19 'Linguistic practice and ideology among new speakers of Gaelic in Scotland and Nova Scotia, Canada'