People

 Catherine Travis Project Leader

Catherine Travis

  • Title: Project Leader
  • Institution: Australian National University

Catherine Travis' research addresses questions related to linguistic and social factors impacting on language variation and change, in particular in socially diverse communities. As well as the Sydney Speaks project, another major project she is involved in examines language contact in a long-standing Spanish-English bilingual community in northern New Mexico, USA (NMSEB). She recently co-edited (with Rena Torres Cacoullos) a Special Issue of the International Journal of Bilingualism (19, 4:365-480), which explored the outcomes of language contact and code-switching in New Mexico. Catherine is Professor of Modern European Languages in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics at the ANU. She has a BA/Asian Studies (Hons) degree from the ANU (1992), and a PhD in Linguistics and Spanish from La Trobe University (2002). She worked at the University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque for 10 years, before coming to the ANU in 2012.

Simon Gonzalez Post-doctoral Fellow

Simon Gonzalez

  • Title: Post-doctoral Fellow
  • Institution: Australian National University

Simon’s research focuses on acoustic phonetics, empowered by computational tools. After finishing his PhD in English Phonology (Australian English) at the University of Newcastle, and working as a Research Assistant at Griffith University analysing West Australian English (ARC-funded, led by Gerard Docherty), his experience is mainly on Australian English. He develops computational tools (scripts and online apps) for more efficient and practical analysis/visualisation of phonetic and phonological phenomena.

James Grama Post-doctoral Fellow

James Grama

  • Title: Post-doctoral Fellow
  • Institution: Australian National University

James completed his PhD at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa where he focused largely on vocalic variation in English and English-based varieties. His work on California English, Hawaiʻi English, and Hawaiʻi Creole has investigated the ways in which phonetic variation is correlated with social factors and sound change over time. In his research, he uses quantitative acoustic measures along with rigorous statistical models to describe how changes in linguistic varieties have taken shape, especially in heterogeneous communities. At the Centre, he works as a member of the Sydney Speaks project where he hopes to investigate the acoustic features of a variety of features of Australian English in the diverse and changing Sydney community, especially as a function of socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and network affiliation.

Cale Johnstone Project Manager

Cale Johnstone

  • Title: Project Manager
  • Institution: Australian National University

Cale Johnstone is Project Manager for the Sydney Speaks project. She holds a BA in Latin American Studies from the Australian National University (2016). After working full time on Sydney Speaks throughout 2017, Cale is moving to Mexico where she will continue to contribute to the corpus development of the project by distance. Previously, she gained experience working in a non-governmental organisation in Mexico providing support to infants and single parents in the community. In this position she managed a team of local and international staff and volunteers with diverse linguistic needs. She has a TEFL qualification and has taught English and Spanish at all levels. She is excited to be part of the Sydney Speaks team.

Ben Purser Lead RA

Ben Purser

  • Title: Lead RA
  • Institution: Australian National University

Ben graduated from the Australian National University in 2014 with a PhB in Linguistics, receiving First Class Honours and the University Medal. He joined the Sydney Speaks project that same year, transcribing the 1970s data and developing research methodologies. Ben presented his Honours research on children’s vowel variation and social networks at the Australian Linguistics Society annual conference in 2015, and continued working as Lead RA while undertaking performing arts training in Sydney for the next two years. After a year working abroad in Tokyo, Japan, Ben rejoined the team in 2018 based in Sydney, working in many capacities across both the 1970s and contemporary corpora. Ben currently divides his time between Sydney Speaks and performing arts, recently appearing in Opera Australia’s production of West Side Story.

Ksenia Gnevsheva Project Affiliate

Ksenia Gnevsheva

My research interests lie at the intersection of sociolinguistics and second language acquisition and have largely been shaped by my training in theoretical and applied linguistics. The two main strands of my research program focus on language variation and change as applied to bilingual speakers: sociophonetic variation in the speech of bilinguals and factors affecting variation in perception of foreign-accented speech. I finished my PhD at the University of Canterbury and worked in research and development in the industry before starting my current position as a Lecturer in Linguistics at Australian National University.

Barbara Horvath Project Advisor

Barbara Horvath

  • Title: Project Advisor
  • Institution: University of Sydney

Barbara's research interests have centred on empirical and quantitative studies of English speech communities, particularly those that include ethnic varieties of English resulting from in-migration or which were originally bilingual speech communities. Before joining the University of Sydney Linguistics Department in the mid-70s, she studied Mexican children in Los Angeles and African-American, Anglo and Mexican children in Lansing, Michigan. The Sydney speech community provided the opportunity to study the impact of recent widespread migration (Italians and Greeks) on Australian English, building on the work of A. G. Mitchell, Arthur Delbridge and John Bernard. After retiring from Sydney University, she collaborated with Sylvie Dubois from Louisiana State University for ten years on the study of Cajun English. Most recently, with Ronald Horvath, she analysed a language change in progress in nine cities - five in Australia, three in New Zealand, and one in England (London) with the aim of integrating sociolinguistics and dialect geography. Barbara received an MA from Michigan State University and a PhD from Georgetown University.

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University