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Carla Xavier, PhD in Linguistics from 2013

What are your research interests / what are you working on?

My research interests include language acquisition and development in everyday conversation. I'm specifically interested in how repairs, or corrections, are done in interactions between children and their caretakers. I'm currently analyzing the audio recordings I collected in Brazil for my pilot study, which consists of a one-hour recording of playtime between children and their parents. I will look at the feedback that the speakers give to each other in the conversation.

Why York rather than somewhere else?

Besides being the place where my field of research (Phonetics of talk-in-interaction) was coined, York offers top-notch facilities and a vibrant environment for a PhD student. The city is full of interesting cultural initiatives and it is an ideal place to study and live.

How has your experience at York broadened your horizons as linguist?

It was great to study under the guidance of great names in my field (for example, Traci Walker, Richard Odgen, Tamar Keren-Portnoy). Moreover, I really enjoy the participation of visiting scholars in seminars (such as William Labov) and the other activities promoted by the department.

What’s the level of support like from staff and the department as a whole, are they receptive to feedback?

All the members of staff, from administrators to professors and the head of department, are always willing to provide students with the necessary tools to become the best among researchers in their fields. Each student has not only the support of their supervisors but also of their TAP members (another professor that follows his/her work), who guide them through the process of elaboration, data analysis and writing of the student’s dissertation.

What has been your favourite aspect of living and studying at York so far?

Apart from living in an inspiring medieval town, York has a lot to offer in terms of cultural festivals, restaurants, theater, cinemas, etc. There is always something going on in the city center. As for the university, the students’ welfare and leisure activities are priorities. The student association (GSA) regularly organizes day trips around the UK, comedy shows, and social dinners. The student societies offer a vast array of options to participate in cultural events, language classes and get-together events to help us make new friends and relax after a long day of study.

What do you feel is the most important thing you will take away from your experience at York?

Apart from great friends, I will take away the connections made within the academic community that will be essential for my career in academia. I will also leave with a PhD from university renowned internationally. Moreover, I will leave with the experience of having lived in a very cultural city.


Thesis topic

The use of self-repetition in child-caretaker interactions: A study of Brazilian Portuguese