I am a Lecturer in Modern Languages at the University of Birmingham, specialising in comparative Ibero-Romance linguistics, morphosyntax and dialectology. I was previously a Drapers' Company Research Fellow and Director of Studies for Spanish & Portuguese (MML) at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, and a College Lecturer at Exeter, Jesus and Trinity Colleges, University of Oxford.
My PhD was funded by a Leslie Wilson Research Scholarship at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where I was also a Bye-Fellow in Linguistics (2015-16). Prior to my PhD, I completed an MPhil (with Distinction) in Linguistics at King's College, Cambridge (2012) and a master's degree (with honours' matriculation) in Secondary Language Teaching and Further Education at the University of León, Spain (2011), before which I graduated with a double first in Modern and Medieval Languages from St Catharine's College, Cambridge (2010).
I specialise in comparative Ibero-Romance linguistics and dialectology, with a focus on the morphosyntactic variation of Spanish, Portuguese, Galician, Catalan and other understudied Romance varieties which descend from the Latin as originally spoken in the Iberian Peninsula. My research documents the grammatical patterns of these languages, and asks what the structural differences between these closely-related languages can reveal about the mental representation of grammar.
My PhD investigated the extent to which conversational turn-taking and signposting in dialogue is in some sense ‘hardwired’ into the grammatical core of human language, taking variation between members of the Ibero-Romance language family as a testing ground, whereas my most recent project (funded by a Drapers’ Company Research Fellowship at Pembroke College, Cambridge) examines what —beyond geography and genetics— distinguishes the Ibero-Romance branch from other Romance language families, and whether, in fact, we can even talk of an ‘Ibero-Romance’ grammar in terms of these languages’ linguistic properties alone. I am currently in the process of writing a monograph on illocutionary complementisers and utterance syntax in Ibero-Romance, which asks what happens when exclusively grammatical items (specifically, subordinators) come to be used as conversational signposts (e.g. 'pay attention to what follows'), losing their core function (i.e. subordination) along the way; or, put differently, where the limits of syntactic structure lie.
My theoretical interests include clause structure; utterance syntax; the syntax-pragmatics interface; complementizers and complementizer systems; auxiliary selection; word order; the status of left-peripheral elements; the notion of subjecthood and ‘expletives’; case marking in Romance; the null subject parameter and typology.
I am also interested in the documentation of understudied and endangered (Ibero-Romance) languages as well as the development of empirically-sound, qualitative methodologies for generative research. I am currently collaborating with colleagues in the UK and Catalonia on initiatives promoting the teaching and learning of theoretical linguistics in secondary education, particularly in the modern foreign language (A-Level) classroom.
Si hablas una lengua/habla que procede de la Península Ibérica, sobre todo si no tiene estatus oficial o está amenazada, por favor, documenta tu lengua aquí.
FULLY-FUNDED PhD POSITION (DEADLINE 16 MARCH 2018): Fully-funded, 3.5yr interdisciplinary (comparative literature/linguistics/digital humanities) PhD project as part of the Forest Edge Doctoral Scholarship Programme (Leverhulme Trust/University of Birmingham), co-supervised by myself and Dr. Emanuelle Santos. Available to EU/UK passport holders. Applicants in literary studies, linguistics, social sciences, comparative literature, human geographies, and Portuguese (or Lusophone) studies are welcome. Details here and here.