Postgraduate research projects

If you are interested in joining ELL research community, check out the postgraduate funding opportunities at Kent.

‘Low-contact versus high-contact areas: The influence of London English on Canvey Island and the Isle of Sheppey’

  • PhD-candidate: Sandra Burk
  • Supervisor: David Hornsby

This project investigates the influence of London-based Estuary English variants on low-contact areas (the isles of Canvey and Sheppey) which are situated within or near high-contact areas. Differences in patterns of adoption of London variants between low- and high-contact areas are hoped to be found.

‘Arpitan: a study of an emerging linguistic variety’

  • PhD-candidate: Jonathan Kasstan
  • Supervisors: David Hornsby (1st) and Damien Hall (2nd)
  • This project is funded by University of Kent PhD Scholarship

This project examines variation and change in obsolescent Francoprovençal – a severely endangered and under-studied dialect grouping spoken in parts of France, Italy and Switzerland. The project focuses on ‘new speakers’ of Francoprovençal as agents of (socio)linguistic change in traditional native speaker communities.

‘Prosody of Language and Music’

This study compares language and music from the perspective of prosody. Especially linguistic and musical rhythm will be discussed. The aim of the thesis is not only to compare language and music, but also to detect the influence of mother tongue on musical rhythm.

Kobayashi, S. 2016. The Influence of Mother Tongue and Musical Experience on Rhythm Perception. Poster presented at BAAP 2016, Lancaster.

‘The Natural Narratives of Social Media: Multimodality, Costly Signalling and Collaborative ‘Small Stories’ of the Self’

  • PhD-candidate: Katherine May
  • Supervisors: Jeremy Scott (1st) and Ruth Page (2nd)

One aspect of social media use is the construction of multimodal autobiographical narratives in collaboration with others. This project examines the ways in which these narratives utilise costly signalling to assert and maintain social groups. A practice-based element to this project will see the development of an app that facilitates co-storytelling online.

‘Investigating and defining Urdu phonology and its role and use in L2 (English) perception and production’

  • PhD-candidate: Ishrat Rehman
  • Supervisors: Amalia Arvaniti (1st) and Gloria Chamorro (2nd)
  • This project is funded by 50th Anniversary GTA Scholarship

The study intends to better define and investigate Urdu phonology and its perception in the L1 case, and its relation to the perception of English for L2, whether similar or contrastive.

Rehman, I. & A. Arvaniti. 2016. A Phonetic and Phonological Investigation of the Urdu vowels. Poster presented at BAAP 2016, Lancaster.

‘Refusals in context: negotiating opposing goals, identities, and interpersonal relations’

  • PhD-candidate: Isabella Reichl
  • Supervisors: Eleni Kapogianni (1st) and Christina Kim (2nd)

This project examines the act of refusing in spontaneous conversations. It is investigated how speakers navigate the challenging task of being persuasive, on the one hand, and avoiding or resolving conflict, on the other hand.