I’m a linguist and philologist specialized in the earlier history of the Germanic languages, including Old and Middle English, Old Norse, Gothic, Old Frisian, Old Saxon, and Old High German. I have obtained grants to conduct postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford and Ghent University. My monograph, Prosody in Medieval English and Norse
, published in 2023 and available as an open-access PDF from OUP, explores topics in diachronic foot structure, the interactions between language and verse structure, and the structures of alliterative metres. Specific issues I cover include vowel deletions and reductions in early Old English, the ‘AB’ dialect of early Middle English, and in the runic corpus of early Norse, along with Kaluza’s law in Beowulf
, poetic evidence for resolution in Laȝamon’s Brut
and the early Middle English Moral Ode
) and the Norse fornyrðislag
metre, and Craigie’s law in Norse metre.
I maintain a broad interest in what used to be called Germanic comparative philology, including the phonological and morphological development of the Germanic languages from Proto-Indo-European. This field combines close attention to ancient and medieval texts as the primary sources for information about older languages, and a grounding in the typology of languages around the world and current thinking about the possibilities and constraints concerning how languages and Language in general work. My ongoing blog series The History of the English Language in A Hundred Words
aims to bring the full history of English, from its earliest reconstructable prehistory to the present day, to a wider public in a readable and reliable way.
My last name rhymes with herring