I am currently engaged in a number of research projects:
- “Contact, mobility and authenticity: language ideologies in koineisation and creolisation”. August 2013 - July 2016. Swiss National Science Foundation (CHF348,000) - co-researchers Christoph Neuenschwander and Laura Tresch. This project examines how the process by which new language varieties, such as pidgins, creoles and koines, with roots in acts of mobility, become, in public and media discourses, legitimised and authenticised. The project is examining two creoles (Tok Pisin and Hawai'ian Creole English) and two koines (New Zealand English and Estuary English).
- "English in paradise?: emergent varieties in Micronesia". January 2015 - December 2017. Swiss National Science Foundation (CHF615,799) - co-researchers Dominique Bürki, Sara Lynch and Tobias Leonhardt. This project investigates the emergent structures of and the similarities and differences between the new Englishes developing in three Micronesian territories: the Federated States of Micronesia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Kiribati. Eva Kuske and Laura Mettler are, in addition, working alongside the project team to examine the Englishes of Guam and Nauru respectively. See http://english-in-micronesia.weebly.com/ for more information.
- "Language contact in the Republic of Palau, Micronesia" - co-researcher Prof. Kazuko Matsumoto (University of Tokyo). In this project, we investigate the consequences of Palau's colonial contact with both Japanese and English, examining koineisation, borrowing and language obsolescence in the case of Palauan Japanese, and nativisation and the emergence of a new postcolonial variety in the case of Palauan English.
- "The linguistic consequences of counterurbanisation". This project examines the consequences for East Anglian dialects of English of decades of demographic in-migration from London and the South-East of England. Examining both phonological and morphological variables, the project highlights not only the dramatic scale of traditional dialect levelling, but also, because levelling was found to be most extreme in the more rural areas of the region, questions existing models of linguistic innovation diffusion. This research has also enabled me to work with a large number of colleagues (including Prof. Peter Trudgill, Dr Laura Rupp, Dr Jenny Amos, Dr Sue Baker, Dr Wyn Johnson, Rob Potter and Michelle Bray) on individual features of East Anglian English.
- "Language variation and change in the Falkland Islands" (co-researcher Dr Andrea Sudbury). This research examines phonological and morpho-syntactic variation and change in the English of the Falkland Islands, and considers how this variety emerged, given its roots in the British settler dialects of the 19th century.
- "Crowdsourcing dialect data: the English Dialect App" (co-researchers Dr. Adrian Leemann, Marie-Jose Kolly, Daniel Wanitsch, Sarah Grossenbacher, Melanie Calame). This research is developing an interactive app which engages users to think and learn about their own language variation, and collects dialect data from recordings and a questionnaire.
- "Where North meets South: Dialect boundaries in the Fens". For over two decades now, I have been investigating the nature of the dialect transition zone that straddles the Fens in Eastern England. This is the site of a number of major dialect boundaries, including for features that are said to divide the linguistic 'north' and 'south' of England, such as the realisation of the STRUT and BATH vowels. I have been exploring not only the linguistic manifestations of the transition by considering a number of grammatical and phonological features, but also how the border originally emerged and why it remains to this day.