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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 interests include phonetics, sociolinguistics, and language variation and change. My research mainly focuses on sociophonetic variation in language contact varieties and multiethnic communities, but I also work on a range of topics within sociolinguistics and phonetics more broadly.

Most of my research falls into two closely-related strands. The first strand examines 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). I am currently further developing my ideas in this area, with particular attention to the role of intersectionality and style in sociolinguistic meaning.

The other major strand of my research investigates phonetic variation and phonological contrast in varieties that are the product of language contact and bilingualism. To this end, I am currently working on two articulatory sociophonetics projects using ultrasound tongue imaging: a study of liquids in British Asian English (with Jessica Wormald, York and JP French Associates), and a study of tongue root vowel contrasts in Twi and Ghanaian English (with Claire Nance, Lancaster). I am also involved in phonetic research on Dutch Burgher English, which is a contact variety that originally developed in Sri Lanka, then Ceylon (with Luke Harding & Claire Nance, Lancaster).

Other ongoing research includes some studies on stops and intonational variation in North West England (with Claire Nance, Eve Groarke & Beth Littlewood, Lancaster), as well research on articulatory adaptation and 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, sociolinguistics, and language variation and change, particularly in the areas covered by my research interests.

Current Teaching

I teach on the following courses:

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

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