Claire Childs
Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics

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Profile

Biography

Claire joined the department in 2017 as Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics. Her research interests are in language variation and change, particularly grammatical and discourse-pragmatic phenomena in dialects of English. Her work aims to integrate formal syntactic theory into variationist sociolinguistic analysis, using quantitative methods to help understand the structure underlying linguistic variation.

Career

  • Lecturer
    University of York (2017-)
  • Lecturer (fixed term)
    Northumbria University (2016-17)
  • PhD in Linguistics
    Newcastle University (2012-16)
  • MLitt in Linguistics
    Newcastle University (2011-12)
  • BA in English Language
    Newcastle University (2008-11)

Teaching

Undergraduate

  • Introduction to Sociolinguistics
  • Intermediate Language Variation and Change

Research

Overview

My research interests are in language variation and change, with a particular focus on grammatical and discourse-pragmatic phenomena. My work on syntactic variation is situated at the intersection of variationist sociolinguistics and syntactic theory, to gain insight into the structure, limits and loci of variation, as well as the relationship between competence and performance. These were key themes in my PhD thesis, ‘Variation and Change in English Negation: A Cross-Dialectal Perspective’. I am also interested in discourse-pragmatic phenomena that are syntactically-optional yet have important functions in interaction, such as question tags. In my research, I have often taken a comparative sociolinguistic approach to analyse variables in multiple dialects of English, using quantitative methods to ascertain whether constraints at different levels of linguistic structure (as well as social factors) are robust cross-dialectally.

Research group(s)

Language variation and change

Grants

  • Economic & Social Research Council. 2012-16. ‘Variation and Change in English Negation: A Cross-Dialectal Perspective’. North East Doctoral Training Centre PhD studentship.
  • Arts & Humanities Research Council. 2011-12. Research Preparation Masters studentship.

Collaborators

  • Karen Corrigan
  • Chris Harvey
  • Sali Tagliamonte

External activities

Invited talks and conferences

Invited talks -

  • Northumbria University – ‘Variation, change and interviewer effects: The phonetic reduction of negative tags in British English dialects’ (2016)
  • University of Edinburgh – ‘Not versus no in British English dialects: Syntactic, discourse-pragmatic and social effects’ (2015)

Conference presentations -

  • Discourse-Pragmatic Variation and Change 3 (DiPVaC3) – ‘Interviewer effects on negative tag realisations in North-East England’ (2016)
  • Manchester Forum in Linguistics (mFiL) – ‘Change, innit? The form and function of negative tags in three British English dialects’ (2015)
  • New Ways of Analyzing Variation 44 (NWAV44) – ‘Looks like change, dunnit? Negative polarity tags in three varieties of British English’ (2015)
  • Göttingen Workshop on Negation and Polarity – ‘Quantitative cross-dialectal insights into the role of syntax and discourse-pragmatics in the use of not, no and negative concord’ (2015, Poster)
  • UK Language Variation and Change (UKLVC10) – ‘Change in progress, innit? A cross-dialectal perspective on negative polarity tags in British English’ (2015, Poster)
  • International Computer Archive of Modern and Medieval English 36 (ICAME36) – ‘Tracking a change in progress: Any- and no-negation in spoken corpora of British and Canadian English’ (2015, with Chris Harvey, Karen Corrigan and Sali Tagliamonte)
  • International Conference on Language Variation in Europe 8 (ICLaVE8) – ‘Variation in any- and no-negation from a transatlantic perspective’ (2015, with Chris Harvey, Karen Corrigan and Sali Tagliamonte)
  • New Ways of Analyzing Variation 43 (NWAV43) – ‘Comparative sociolinguistic insights in the evolution of negation’ (2014, with Chris Harvey, Karen Corrigan and Sali Tagliamonte)
  • International Society for the Linguistics of English 3 (ISLE3) – ‘Not or no? Variation in sentential negation across varieties of Northern British English’ (2014)
  • Sociolinguistics Symposium 20 (SS20) – ‘A canny bit of variation: The syntactic-semantic distribution of canny in the North East of England’ (2014)
  • European Dialect Syntax (EdiSyn) Workshop VI – ‘The Northern Subject Rule and verbal -s with conjoined NPs in dialectal English’ (2012, with Isabelle Buchstaller, Karen Corrigan and Anders Holmberg)
  • “How Spatial is Dialect Syntax?” Workshop at the International Symposium on Limits and Areas in Dialectology – ‘Geolinguistic patterns in the spatial distribution of the Northern Subject Rule’ (2011, with Isabelle Buchstaller, Karen Corrigan and Anders Holmberg)
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Contact details

Claire Childs
Department of Language and Linguistic Science
Vanbrugh College B Block
Room : V/B/122a

Tel: 01904 324504