I work in the Department of Theoretical Linguistics of the University of Amsterdam. For my research, I am attached to the Amsterdam Centre for Language and Communication.
At present I teach Optimality Theory, Phonology & Morphology, Historical Linguistics and Minority Languages of Europe.
My research is divided betweenPhonology and Creole Studies - in the broadest sense of bothsub-disciplines.
I am the Programme Director for the M.A. in General Linguistics, and joint Research Co-ordinator for the Language Creation programme.
I am Scottish, i.e. I come from Scotland. In Scotland three autochthonous languages are spoken at the present day: Scottish Gaelic , Scots and ( Scottish ) English . Formerly, also a Welsh dialect, Cumbric , (till ca. 1200), Pictish (till ca. 1000) and Norn (till ca. 1800) were spoken. I am interested in all these languages.
Of these six languages three are Celtic, and three Germanic.
In addition there are a number of languages formerly used by (semi-)nomadic groups: "Scottish Gaelic Shelta" , Scottish Travellers' Cant , and "Scoto-Romany" . To what extent these are still spoken is completely unknown. Also the degree to which they formed independent linguistic systems, or were just "secret" add-ons to Gaelic, and Scots respectively, is unclear.
I no longer wear "ethnic" garments, but as a child I did on formal occasions.
I am firstly interested in questions of segmental and syllabic structure. The theoretical model I use is Dependency Phonology, within an Optimality Framework. Additional concerns are the representation of Vowel Harmony, questions of Lenition, and the relationship between syllable and foot structure.
For these aspects of my research I participate in the ACLC Research Group on Bidrectional Phonology and Phonetics .
Another research interest is pitch-accent languages. Particular questions are Level Stress phenomena, and tonal polarity. An article on Level Stress in Wursten Frisian will appear in Nowele in 2007.
For this I participate in the ACLC Research Group on Franconian Tones .
2) Creole Linguistics
The morphology and phonology of Atlantic English-based creole languages, and their substrates.
For this I participate in the ACLC Research Group on Language Creation , of which I am joint coordinator.
3) Phonological Reconstitution
I am very interested in what can be got out of pre-modern grammatical descriptions, pieces of text in naive orthography, and the linguistics field-notes of 19th century and early 20th century amateur linguists and anthropologists.
Projects include work on extinct Yokuts dialects, extinct Frisian dialects, older forms of Gbe (West Africa), extinct Scottish Gaelic dialects.
For this I participate in the ACLC Research Group Linguistics at two removes .
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