If you plan to cite any of the work below, please read my citation note.

Talking beyond the binary: queer and genderqueer speech


My PhD research explores the speech of non-binary and queer people from the south of England. I'm particularly interested in how non-binary and queer people use speech to construct gendered and sexual identities. I'm primarily looking at the quantitative patterning of sociophonetic variable including /s/, pitch and voice quality. I consider the effect on speech of individual/social/contextual factors including setting (who is being spoken to and where), topic of discussion, political/ideological alignment, historical process (meaning the effect of social/legal advances, using age as a proxy), affect (positive, neutral or negative stance) and presentation (femme-/masc-leaning).

I'm also planning to undertake a complementary qualitative analysis to uncover the situated meaning of patterned phenomena and look at contextual variation, and I will provide ethnogaphic insight through my community-internal position. So my main focus is how people talk, but I'll also be looking a little at what they talk about.

Date Conference/event Format/length Download
18-21 October 2018 New Ways of Analyzing Variation 47 Oral: 20 + 5 Abstract
20 July 2018 The Annual Brighton Trans, Non-binary and Intersex Conference 2018 Oral: 15 + 5 Slides
20 April 2018 Lavender Languages and Linguistics 25 Oral: 10 + 5 Slides
3 March 2018 Gender in the Contemporary World Oral: 15 + 10
With Sebastián Córdoba
22 March 2017 Queen Mary University of London Department of Linguistics postgraduate research afternoon Oral: 20 + 10 Slides

Meaning across cultures: /s/ duration and perceptions of sexual orientation


This study is a new angle on the data from my MA thesis (see below). It contributes to the cultural diversification of work on the sociophonetics of sexuality by examining reactions to Northern England English speakers by listeners primarily from Belarus, Malaysia and the UK. Results show shorter /s/ tokens correlate with perception of speakers as gay in (cis) male speakers, contrary to North American findings. This difference in perceived meaning across regions supports the notion that aspects of a speaker’s perceived background or social history alter the indexical values listeners attribute to the features of their speech. Additionally, the perceived meaning of /s/ duration is remarkably consistent across listeners, even when taking into account differing social attitudes towards lesbian and gay people. While this intercultural perceptual consistency contradicts claims about the importance of culture and levels of acceptance, I argue it provides evidence of the influence of sexual orientation stereotypes on perception and their independence from sociocultural values. This work has been submitted to a journal for publication.

Date Conference/event Format/length Download
28 April 2017 Lavender Languages and Linguistics 24 Poster Poster
24 February 2017 York Lavender Linguistics Oral: 20 + 10 Slides

Sexual orientation, phonetic variation and the roots and accuracy of perception in the speech of Northern England English-speaking men


This research project was for my MA thesis. This was a broad study of both the speech of Northern England English-speaking men - four gay, four straight - and the perception of their speech by people from a range of sociocultural backgrounds. The phonetic analysis considered both pitch and various measures of /s/ (duration, intensity, low-cut-off, peak, centre of gravity, standard deviation, skewness and kurtosis). In addition, the phonetic analysis took account of stylistic variation (conversation versus read passage) and considered the effect of (self-declared) exposure to "LGBT" people. Within the perceptual analysis, I looked at how perceptions of gayness/straightness correlated with speakers' actual sexuality, as well as the effect on perception of style, listeners' exposure to "LGBT" people, listeners' linguistic and cultural background, segmental features and judgemental constraints.


MA thesis

Date Conference/event Format/length Download
18 March 2016 11th Newcastle-upon-Tyne Postgraduate Conference in Linguistics Oral: 20 + 10 Slides
27 January 2016 Sheffield Postgraduate Conference in Linguistics 2016 Poster + oral (5) Poster
7 January 2016 24th Conference of the Student Organisation of Linguistics in Europe Oral: 30 + 10 See Newcastle slides*
11 September 2015 Postgraduate Academic Researchers in Linguistics at York 2015 Oral: 20 + 10 See Newcastle slides*

* Negligible differences between these slides and those presented at Newcastle

A (very short) quantitative analysis of The Roots’ discography


Mostly to practise R analysis and plotting, I conducted a very short quantitative analysis of The Roots’ discography, observing the relationship between three variables: year of release, duration and critical reception.



Language policy in Belarus


As part of an MA module on language variation and change (sociolinguistics), I wrote a paper bringing together previous literature on language policy in Belarus. Having formerly been a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and now an established independent nation, the article explores the influence of Belarus' various changes in identity. It reflects broadly on the language policies of the nations of which it was once a part, outlining the fluctuating journey of the Belarusian language through periods of widespread usage and acceptance to periods of oppression. A more thorough analysis is provided of the impact of language policy post-independence (and also, of the Law on Languages which slightly predates the declaration of independence), from the initial glimmer of hope provided by the establishment of Belarusian as the sole offcial language to the long-term decline imposed upon the Belarusian public by pro-Russian "dictator" Lukashenko. The article concludes by highlighting recent activity (recent in January 2014) that could offer an optimistic outlook for the future.