Professor Department of Language and Linguistic Science
Sam is a linguist who works on the sound systems of spoken Arabic dialects, but also on the Indo-Aryan language Mirpuri Pahari (spoken in the UK and in Pakistan), and on the varieties of English spoken by people from these regions. The research focusses on how sound is used to express utterance meanings (e.g. using intonation), and on variation and change in the structure of the language due to historical language contact and present-day multilingualism. Sam's first degree was in Arabic and French at the University of Leeds, then, after a period teaching English as a Foreign Language in the Middle East, she pursued an MA and PhD in Linguistics at SOAS University of London.
Sam was Director and PI of the ESRC funded Intonational Variation in Arabic project which documented the intonation systems of eight contemporary spoken Arabic dialects. Sam has lived and worked for extended periods in the Middle East, including Egypt and Yemen. Sam is developing new work on the insights to be gained from reflection on how language is used by participants in the development process, and the potential benefits of enhanced knowledge about language for development practitioners.