My research interests centre primarily around effects of language contact and interaction, especially the language situation on the Canadian Prairies. My doctoral thesis was a study of Michif, a Cree-French mixed language spoken primarily in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and in 2007 I began work with Michif speakers to develop an online audio Michif-English dictionary, funded by a SSHRC Aboriginal Research Grant. Since then I have expanded my research to include the study of Prairies French and English.
I am particularly interested in French in minority situations in Western Canada, and have done work comparing Métis and non-Métis varieties of French with the help of a grant from the Institut français from the University of Regina. I am currently working with Daniel Bérubé from the Université de Saint-Boniface on a project investigating the VOT of Saint-Boniface French-dominant bilinguals.
In Lethbridge, I began work studying English dialect differences in Southern Alberta, thanks to University of Lethbridge funding (ISG, ULRF, CREDO). The goal of this research is to build a Southern Alberta Corpus of English (SACE) to begin the investigation of social and linguistic factors involved in language variation between rural and urban speakers as well as variation between speakers of different religious backgrounds. Since taking up the CRC in Manitoba, I have expanded this project to include speakers from Winnipeg and Southern Manitoba. We have now collected and are analyzing data from the Steinbach, Winkler and Winnipeg areas. I am most interested in how language transfer effects develop into ethnolinguistic identity markers, and settlement patterns and non-Anglophone immigration has influenced English in the Prairies, especially in sociophonetic variation and change.
In Lethbridge I also was the principal investigator on the Interdisciplinary Research Development Fund Language: Development, Identity and Assessment at the University of Lethbridge as part of the team there with: Inge Genee (Modern Languages), Robbin Gibb (Neuroscience), Claudia Gonzalez (Kinesiology), Fangfang Li (Psychology) and Noella Piquette (Education). We have been involved in a number of projects bringing together researchers interested in language from very different backgrounds.