My research interests lie in the field of Cognitive (Socio-)linguistics, variational linguistics and dialectology. I am very much interested in the interplay between language variation, culture and cognition. I strongly believe in the use of innovative quantitative techniques and methods from digital humanities to gain insight into language variation.
I currently work at the Language Variation and Change (LVC) lab with Sali Tagliamonte. We examine language variation and change in the dialects of Ontario. For more information, visit the Ontario dialects website.
In my PhD dissertation, which was supervised by Dirk Geeraerts (KU Leuven), Dirk Speelman (KU Leuven) and Roeland van Hout (Radboud University Nijmegen), I applied ideas from Cognitive Sociolinguistics to lexical semantics and dialectology.
My PhD research focused on why particular linguistic variables are more prone to variability than others. More specifically, I use statistical analyses of large datasets of dialect data to investigate which factors influence the amount of lexical dialect variation that a concept shows. In my PhD, I showed that both semantic and socio-cultural concept features affect this type of lexical variation.
I am currently involved in a project on the predictability of language change at the University of Leuven (How predictable is language change? A quantitative approach: PI: Freek Van de Velde, PhD researcher: Jozefien Piersoul).
In 2018, I held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Instituut voor de Nederlandse Taal (Leiden, the Netherlands: MentalLex project, PI: prof. Nicoline van der Sijs) and at the University of Leuven (Leuven, Belgium: Nephological Semantics project, PI: Dirk Geeraerts, co-supervisors: Dirk Speelman, Stefania Marzo & Benedikt Szmrecsanyi).
In collaboration with Benedikt Szmrecsanyi (KU Leuven), Douglas Biber (Northern Arizona University) and Jesse Egbert (Brigham Young University ), I investigated probabilistic diachronic variation in the English genitive system. With Eline Zenner and Dirk Speelman, I examined variation in the gender of English loanwords in Dutch.