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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 current research investigates phonetic variation and phonological contrast in varieties that are the product of language contact and bilingualism. This typically involves a combination of acoustic phonetics, ultrasound tongue imaging, and fieldwork. I am currently working on an ultrasound study of liquids in British Asian English (with Jessica Wormald, York and JP French Associates), and an acoustic-articulatory study of tongue root vowel contrasts in Akan and Ghanaian English (with Claire Nance, Lancaster). I am also involved in a phonetic description of Dutch Burgher English, which is a contact variety that developed in what is now modern-day Sri Lanka (with Luke Harding & Claire Nance, Lancaster).

I have also worked on the social meanings of phonetic variation, particularly in multiethnic and high-contact communities. My PhD was a sociophonetic ethnography of a multiethnic school in the UK, focusing on how adolescents use phonetic variation as a form of social practice. As part of the same project, I also looked at discourses of multiculturalism and diversity in talk by secondary school students, as well as some descriptive acoustic research on British Asian English. In subsequent research with Emma Moore (Sheffield), I have analysed the 'linguistically-layered' nature of sociolinguistic style, which involved charting the relationship between phonetics, grammar and discourse strategies in constructing a persona in political discourse.

PhD supervision

I am happy to consider students who would like to do interesting research in phonetics or sociophonetics, particularly in the following areas: sociophonetics; acoustic and articulatory phonetics (including ultrasound, EMA); phonetic variation and language contact; phonetics of Indian languages; phonetics of South Asian Englishes; phonetic fieldwork.

Current Teaching

I teach on the following courses:

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

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