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Sam Kirkham supervises 2 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Dr Sam Kirkham


Sam Kirkham

Lancaster University

County South



Tel: +44 1524 5 94577

Research overview

My research investigates phonetic variation in language contact varieties and multiethnic communities. This typically involves a combination of acoustic phonetics, fieldwork, ultrasound tongue imaging, and sociophonetics.

The majority of my ongoing research investigates phonetic variation, phonological contrast and speech production in varieties that are the product of language contact and bilingualism. I am currently working on two projects using ultrasound tongue imaging. The first is a study of tongue root vowel contrasts in Twi (Akan) and Ghanaian English (with Claire Nance, Lancaster). The second is a study of liquids in British Asian English, a variety spoken by English-Panjabi bilinguals in the UK (with Jessica Wormald, JP French Associates). I am also involved in phonetic and sociolinguistic research on Dutch Burgher English, which is a contact variety that originally developed in Sri Lanka, then Ceylon (with Luke Harding & Claire Nance, Lancaster).

I have also worked on the social meanings and stylistic potential of sociolinguistic variation. My PhD was a sociophonetic ethnography of a multiethnic school in Sheffield – I looked at how different kinds of variation are used as stylistic resources and what this might tell us about the nature of sociolinguistic meaning. I have also done research on discourse and identity in multiethnic communities, as well as how social meaning operates across clusters of features that span different linguistic levels, such as phonetics, grammar and discourse (with Emma Moore, Sheffield).

Other ongoing research includes a study of intonational variation in Liverpool and Manchester English (with Claire Nance, Eve Groarke & Beth Littlewood, Lancaster), as well as a study of articulatory adaptation in response to different kinds of auditory feedback (with Max Topps, Lancaster & Agnes Henson, Leeds Beckett).

PhD supervision

I am happy to consider students who would like to do interesting research in sociophonetics and/or phonetics, particularly in the areas covered by my research interests (i.e. contact varieties, bilingualism, acoustic and articulatory sociophonetics, speech production, etc).

Current Teaching

I teach on the following courses:

  • LING102 English Language
  • LING223 English Phonetics
  • LING327 Advanced English Phonetics
  • LING416 Sociophonetics

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