Assistant Professor in Historical Linguistics, Faculty of Arts
After studying at the University of Sheffield (BA English Language with Linguistics 2005; MA Historical Language Studies 2006), I came to the University of Nottingham for my PhD (Vocalism in the Continental runic inscriptions, 2010). I taught at several UK universities and at the Universität Paderborn in Germany before starting work on a postdoctoral research project in 2011. I rejoined the School of English at Nottingham as a permanent member of staff in September 2015.
Runology; historical linguistics (chiefly Germanic phonology); history of the English language; the popular reception of ideas about runes, language, magic and Germanic mythology.
I teach on undergraduate modules in medieval English and in modern English Language and Linguistics, bringing a historical perspective into the teaching of synchronic linguistics. I also contribute… read more
From 2011-2015 I was a postdoctoral Research Associate on the Leverhulme Trust-funded research programme "The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain" (www.le.ac.uk/diasporas). The focus of my… read more
I am currently supervising PhD students working on runology, historical pragmatics, Old English medical texts, place-names and historical language contact.
I teach on undergraduate modules in medieval English and in modern English Language and Linguistics, bringing a historical perspective into the teaching of synchronic linguistics. I also contribute to postgraduate teaching in both of these areas. Modules taught include:
From 2011-2015 I was a postdoctoral Research Associate on the Leverhulme Trust-funded research programme "The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain" (www.le.ac.uk/diasporas). The focus of my project, "Linguistic Variation in Early Anglo-Saxon England", deals with linguistic data from the period c.400-700 AD, which has hitherto been either neglected or studied through established methods of comparative and internal reconstruction, locating it as a precursor to the better-attested Old English of later centuries. As powerful as the methods of reconstruction are, they have limitations which are well known to historical linguists and are particularly salient when dealing with a small dataset, since traditional models of language reconstruction are designed to account for systemic change, rather than the synchronic description of language in use at a particular place and time. A thorough description of the language of this period is obviously impossible without a larger amount of data, but the traditional account can be supplemented by examining the data from other methodological perspectives and incorporating insights and methods from other linguistic subdisciplines such as historical sociolinguistics and contact linguistics.
I am in the process of writing up this research as a monograph, in which I argue for a focus on smaller-scale, local communities of use rather than treating the language as part of a monolithic "national" entity.
I have published research on the Continental (or "South Germanic") runic inscriptions; on runic inscriptions which are (or are suspected of being) of modern origin; on the use of runes in early twentieth-century völkisch occultism in Germany and Austria (which influenced Nazi iconography and also had a significant impact on modern pagan beliefs). I have also published a general introductory book on runes for the British Museum.
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