Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I have previously supervised a large number of doctoral students in areas of sociolinguistics, social psychology of language and in applied linguistics more widely. I would particularly welcome PhD proposals from individuals intending to conduct folklinguistic research, and most especially attitudes towards spoken language variation, as well as research in the areas of variationist sociolinguistics, sociophonetics, global Englishes, the social psychology of language, varieties of English and language and identity more generally.

Personal profile

Research interests

My research is focussed mainly in the areas of variationist sociolinguistics, folklinguistics and the social psychology of language. I have a particular interest in folk perceptions of and attitudes towards spoken language variation, especially the ways in which individuals’ attach social meanings to language varieties and how linguistic diversity is indexed within given speech communities. In turn, I also investigate the ways in which non-linguists’ perceptions of language variation impact upon communities of speakers more widely. My recent research has been relatively wide-ranging in scope and has focussed on implicit and explicit public attitudes towards language variation, language attitude change, speech perception, language ideology and identity, the social psychology of language spread and quantitative research methods in sociolinguistics.

As a result of a 2020-21 British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship Award (Sole PI, £137,078.50) (MD20/20009), I published my second monograph - 'Implicit and Explicit Language Attitudes: Mapping Linguistic Prejudice and Attitude Change in England' (Routledge, 2023)

I am also Founding Director of the Speaking of Prejudice Project:

My research findings have featured in a large number of newspapers and online media in the UK and elsewhere - including the Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mirror and The New York Times.

I have been invited to discuss a range of sociolinguistic issues on both radio and television, including a range of BBC and ITV outlets as well as NHK in Japan.


I received my first degree (Scottish MA) in Psychology from the University of Glasgow and then taught in Hong Kong, Italy, France, Spain and Poland. I returned to Scotland and taught at the University of Edinburgh for 2 years and completed an MSc in Applied Linguistics. In 1996 I began working at the University of Glasgow. During this time I completed a PhD in Sociolinguistics at the University of Edinburgh. In 2009 I left the University of Glasgow and joined the Department of Humanities at Northumbria University.

Education/Academic qualification

Linguistics, PhD, A quantitative study of the attitudes of Japanese learners towards varieties of English speech: Aspects of the sociolinguistics of English in Japan

7 Jan 200412 Dec 2006

Award Date: 12 Dec 2006

Applied Linguistics, MSc

1 Oct 199530 Sept 1996

Award Date: 1 Sept 1996

Psychology, MA (Hons), Social Psychology, University of Glasgow

1 Oct 19853 Aug 1989

Award Date: 3 Jul 1989


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