Dr Sam Kirkham


Research Overview

Acoustic-articulatory dynamics of speech production My current research investigates the dynamic aspects of speech production using acoustic analysis, ultrasound tongue imaging and electromagnetic articulography. I am particularly interested in the relationship between dynamic vocal tract kinematics and phonological contrast and how this varies between different linguistic systems. This includes work on the articulatory basis of vowel targets, dynamic acoustic-articulatory relations, and the articulatory exponents of phonological contrast. I also have a soft spot for lateral consonants.

New accents, bilingualism and language contact I am also interested in the development of new accents out of bilingualism and language contact. My PhD investigated phonetic variation and social practice in a multiethnic school in northern England. Since then, I have worked with South Asian communities in the UK and studied language contact in West Africa. My research in this area increasingly focuses on child bilingualism in large immigrant communities.

  • Acquisition of liquids by Sylheti-English bilingual children (with Kathleen McCarthy, QMUL)
  • Intergenerational phonoological transmission in a Punjabi-English bilingual community in Blackburn, Lancashire (with Maya Zara, Lancaster)
  • Articulation of [ATR] contrasts in West Africa (with Claire Nance, Lancaster)

Sociophonetics and dialect variation In addition to the above, I work on various aspects of sociophonetics and dialect variation, including segmental and intonational variation in northern Englishes, the social meanings of variation, and new methods for analysing dialect variation.