Sam Kirkham

Sam Kirkham

Department of Linguistics and English Language
Lancaster University
phonetics lab  |  my lancaster webpage

I'm Lecturer in Sociophonetics at Lancaster University, based in the Department of Linguistics and English Language and Lancaster University Phonetics Lab.


The majority of my research investigates phonetic variation and phonological contrast in bilingual and language contact contexts. Recent research in this area includes an acoustic-articulatory study of tongue root vowel contrasts in Twi and Ghanaian English (with Claire Nance, Lancaster), as well as an ultrasound study of liquids in English-Panjabi bilinguals (with Jessica Wormald, JP French Associates). My ongoing research focuses on speech production in English-Panjabi and English-Gujarati bilinguals, and I am also involved in a study of Dutch Burgher English, which is a contact variety that originally developed in Sri Lanka, then Ceylon (with Luke Harding & Claire Nance, Lancaster).

I also work on various topics in sociophonetics more broadly. My PhD was a sociophonetic ethnography of a multiethnic school in Sheffield, which examined the social meanings of phonetic variation amongst a group of teenagers. More recently, I have examined how phonetic variation interacts with verb processes and discourse strategies in constructing a persona (with Emma Moore, Sheffield), and I am currently working on a study of intonational variation in Liverpool and Manchester English (with Claire Nance & Kate Lightfoot, Lancaster).


Kirkham, Sam. forthcoming. Ethnicity and phonetic variation in Sheffield English liquids. Journal of the International Phonetic Association. [ doi | pdf ] *open access*

Kirkham, Sam. forthcoming. Urban communities of practice. In: Beatrix Busse & Ingo H. Warnke (eds) Language in Urban Space. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. [ pre-print ]

Nance, Claire, Sam Kirkham & Eve Groarke. forthcoming. Studying intonational variation in varieties of English: Gender and individual variation in Liverpool. In: Natalie Braber & Sandra Jansen (eds) Sociolinguistics in England. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Kirkham, Sam & Emma Moore. 2016. Constructing social meaning in political discourse: Phonetic variation and verb processes in Ed Miliband's speeches. Language in Society 45(1): 87-111. [ doi | pdf ]

Kirkham, Sam. 2016. Constructing multiculturalism at school: Negotiating tensions in talk about ethnic diversity. Discourse & Society 27(4): 383-400. [ doi | pdf ] *open access*

Kirkham, Sam & Alison Mackey. 2016. Research, relationships and reflexivity: Reflections on two case studies of language and identity. In: Peter De Costa (ed.) Ethics in Applied Linguistics Research: Language Researcher Narratives. London: Routledge, pp. 103-120. [ pre-print | book ]

Kirkham, Sam. 2015. Intersectionality and the social meanings of variation: Class, ethnicity, and social practice. Language in Society 44(5): 629-652. [ doi | pdf ] *open access*

Kirkham, Sam & Jessica Wormald. 2015. Acoustic and articulatory variation in British Asian English liquids. Proceedings of the XVIII International Congress of Phonetic Sciences 1-5. [ pdf ] *open access*

Nance, Claire, Sam Kirkham & Eve Groarke. 2015. Intonational variation in Liverpool English. Proceedings of the XVIII International Congress of Phonetic Sciences 1-5. [ pdf ] *open access*

Kirkham, Sam & Emma Moore. 2013. Adolescence. In: J.K. Chambers & Natalie Schilling (eds) The Handbook of Language Variation and Change. Second edition. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 277-296.
[ doi | pdf | pre-print ]

Kirkham, Sam. 2013. Ethnicity, social practice and phonetic variation in a Sheffield secondary school. University of Sheffield PhD dissertation. [ link | pdf ] *open access*

Kirkham, Sam. 2011. Personal style and epistemic stance in classroom discussion. Language and Literature 20(3): 201-217. [ doi | pdf ]

Kirkham, Sam. 2011. The acoustics of coronal stops in British Asian English. Proceedings of the XVII International Congress of Phonetic Sciences 1102-1105. [ pdf ] *open access*


Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my partner Claire and our two lovely cats, as well as running, swimming, cycling, stand-up paddleboarding, exploring the local countryside, and playing music (drums, guitar). You can check out some of the people/bands I've played with here, here and here.