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Personal profile

Overview

I have recently defended my PhD in Linguistics. My PhD project, funded by the AHRC, investigates relative and cleft constructions in Kréol Rényoné/Reunion Creole, a French-lexified creole language. I use the term "creole" here in a socio-historical sense, to designate a language which has developed in the context of European colonization, beginning around the 17th century (De Graff, 2003). In the case of La Réunion, French colonisers settled on the island in 1665 (Bollée 2013), transporting enslaved people to the island from Madagascar and East Africa. Later, indentured workers came to Reunion from India and China. Over subsequent generations, Kréol Rényoné developed into its current form through the interaction of these groups of speakers. Today, it is the native language of the majority of the island, spoken alongside French. 

My interest in this language was sparked by a 5-month residence abroad period on Reunion island as part of my undergraduate degree in French. After returning, I undertook research into the sociolinguistic status of the language and on its relativising strategies during my undergraduate and master's degrees. My PhD expands on the latter research, investigating relative constructions (including free relatives and clefts) within the framework of Role and Reference Grammar (Van Valin & LaPolla 1997; Van Valin 2005 and subsequent works). I obtained first-hand data on these structures from a 3-month fieldwork trip from Jan-April 2022. On the one hand, I hope to improve our understanding of relative and cleft constructions and investigate how these structures differ in Kréol Rényoné from in its lexifier, French. On the other hand, I hope to contribute to documenting the language and enhancing its status. 

Alongside my PhD project, I worked as a Teaching Assistant on undergraduate Linguistics modules (English Word and Sentence Structure; Study of Meaning) and as a Widening Participation Fellow for the Faculty of Humanities. In this role, I developed and delivered my own workshops in Linguistics and French, designed to give students an insight into these subjects and enthuse them for further study. The workshops were delivered in schools in disadvantaged areas in the North West, with the aim of encouraging and inspiring their students to consider higher education. 

Since defending my PhD in April, I have been awarded an Incentive Fund grant from the University of Manchester (for May-July 2023) for post-PhD submission career development activities. I will be using this time to write up journal articles from my thesis and to contribute to the outreach activities of the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures' Linguistic Diversity Collective

References

Bollée, Annegret. 2013. Reunion Creole. In: Michaelis, Susanne Maria & Maurer, Philippe & Haspelmath, Martin & Huber, Magnus (eds.) Atlas of Pidgin and Creole Language Structures Online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. (Available online here)

DeGraff, Michel. 2003. Against Creole Exceptionalism. Language 79:391–410.

Van Valin Jr., Robert D. 2005. Exploring the Syntax-Semantics Interface. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Van Valin Jr., Robert D. & Randy J. LaPolla. 1997. Syntax: Structure, meaning and function. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Research interests

 

  • Syntax
  • Relative clauses
  • Cleft constructions 
  • Information Structure
  • Language variation and change
  • Creole languages
  • Language Contact

Prizes and awards

The University of Manchester Incentive Fund award (~£4216 for post-PhD submission career development activities)

PhilSoc Travel Bursary 2022 (£586 for conference attendance)

AHRC Travel Funding 2022 (£1106 for conference attendance)

Turing PhD Placement Scheme funding 2021 (£980 for a research stay abroad at the Université de La Réunion)

AHRC Overseas Institutional Visit Grant 2021 - £1805

AHRC Fieldwork Travel Grant 2021 - £7366

AHRC 1+3 Studentship 2018 (MA and PhD funding) ~ £90,000

Dean's Award for Academic Achievement 2018 (£250 prize for outstanding performance in my undergraduate degree) 

Jean Blackwood Award 2016 (£1000 award for a residence abroad period in Europe which will enhance employability prospects)

Walter's Scholarship 2016 (£200 prize for the best academic performance in the year in French in the second year of my undergraduate degree) 

Frederick West Prize 2015 (£50 voucher prize for best academic performance in French in my first year of my undergraduate degree)

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

The Linguistic Diversity Collective (The University of Manchester)

The Philological Society 

Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE)

Linguistics Association of Great Britain (LAGB)

Société de Linguistique Romane

Activities and esteem

Lead Organiser of the Manchester Forum in Linguistics 2022

Organising Committee for the Manchester Forum in Linguistics 2021 (Online platform and Website Co-ordinator)

Organising Committee for the Manchester Forum in Linguistics 2020 (Communications)

 

Other research

Associate Research Consultant - ESRC Collaborations Lab in partnership with Code-Switch Consultants. In this role, I worked in an interdisciplinary team of researchers on a project titled "Empowering women in Finance". Read our case-study report here.  

Teaching

Teaching Assistant LELA10301 English Word and Sentence Structure (Semester 1, 2021/22)

Teaching Assistant  LELA10332 Study of Meaning (Semester 2, 2020/21)

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Arts, Linguistics, Distinction, The University of Manchester

17 Sept 20182 Sept 2019

Award Date: 12 Dec 2019

Bachelor of Arts, French and Business Management, 1st Class, The University of Manchester

15 Sept 201430 Jun 2018

Award Date: 12 Jul 2018