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Professor of Historical Linguistics and Language, Edge Hill University

I have been lecturing at Edge Hill University since September 2003, teaching modules including the History & Development of the English Language, the Language of Shakespeare, Structure and Usage of Modern English, and Beyond English.

Before coming to Edge Hill, I had a diverse academic career. I was born and educated in the polyglot city of Bradford, and did mostly classical subjects at school. My first degree in Language and Linguistics (including some Swedish, Old English, Old Norse and Hindi) was at the University of York, but my MPhil (on an extinct Native American language of Texas) and PhD (on Agglutinated Nominals in Creole French) were gained at the University of Bradford, where I also taught Linguistics and Russian structure and phonology, and conducted post-doctoral comparative research on Spanish-lexifier creoles. In 1996 I taught for two years at the University of St Andrews, again mostly presenting linguistic subjects, including (among others) Language, Culture and Ideology, Human and Animal Communication and Britain’s first ever module on Native North American languages. This was followed by a year at the University of Southampton (Syntax, Psycholinguistics and French Phonology), with subsequent time spent, principally in research, at the Universities of Manchester and Sheffield.

I am on the Editorial Advisory Committee of the Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages, and have published articles and reviews (in English, Spanish, German and Bulgarian) in numerous linguistic journals. My research interests include issues in language contact, the languages of Native America, Romani, pidgins and creoles, and developments in historical linguistics. I have edited or co-edited five books (four of which are linguistics) and over 150 articles, chapters and reviews. I am also editor of the Oxford Handbook of Language Contact (forthcoming) and of the bibliography for Penutian languages on Oxford Online Bibligoraphies. I have also presented papers in locations as far-flung as California, Sydney, Cayenne and Ormskirk.


  • –present
    Professor of Historical Linguistics and Language, Edge Hill University