Sam Kirkham

Sam Kirkham

Lancaster University Phonetics Lab
Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University
phonetics lab  |  my lancaster webpage

I'm a Lecturer at Lancaster University, based in the Department of Linguistics and English Language and Lancaster University Phonetics Lab. I'm also a member of Lancaster's Language Variation and Change Research Group and NCUB's 50 Under 30 Network.

My primary research interest is phonetic variation, including social, linguistic and physiological sources of variability. I'm particularly interested in studying the relationship between these types of variation in different accents of English. I take a broad approach to the study of variability in speech, including acoustics and digital signal processing, articulatory measurement and modelling (ultrasound, EMA, EPG), variationist sociophonetics, and fieldwork.


Studying language contact and the articulatory implementation of contrasts using ultrasound tongue imaging (British Asian English liquids with Jessica Wormald; advanced tongue root vowels in Twi & Ghanaian English with Claire Nance)

An acoustic-articulatory corpus of speech production data (Funded by Lancaster University FASS Research Fund 2013-14)

Interaction of prosodic and segmental variation in English accents (with Claire Nance. Funded by Lancaster University SPRINT 2014; FASS Research Fund 2015-16)

Ethnicity, social practice and phonetic variation (Funded by Arts & Humanities Research Council Doctoral Award 2009-12)


Kirkham, Sam & Alison Mackey. forthcoming. Research, relationships and reflexivity: reflections on two case studies of language and identity. In: Peter De Costa (ed.) Exploring Ethical Issues from the Ground: Language Researcher Narratives. London: Routledge.

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

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 ]

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

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


My teaching includes LING223 English Phonetics and LING327 Advanced English Phonetics, as well as co-teaching LING416 Sociophonetics. Basic scripts, experiment files and resources for various classes that I teach are available here.


I'm a musician (drums, guitar, keys). My most recent release is an album with folk-roots band Who Killed The Cranks? (November 2014), on which I played drums. I also play keys/organ in country-rock band The Hobo Conspiracy and drums in Lancaster-based The Fauxnemes. Additionally, I am involved in a studio-based progressive metal duo and am currently working on a doom metal solo project.

I also enjoy the wonderful countryside surrounding Lancaster, such as mountain biking down hills, exploring forests, and going to the beach.