Michelle secures British Academy grant

Published: 20 September 2015 at 00:00

Michelle Sheehan

Collaborative project to examine history of Portuguese language

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Congratulations to Dr Michelle Sheehan, Senior Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics, who recently won a £10,000 grant from the British Academy's International Partnership and Mobility Scheme.

From March 2016, Michelle, who has also been nominated to join the executive committee of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain as Meetings Secretary, will lead a project on the history of the Portuguese language. The project, a collaboration with Dr Sonia Cyrino at Universidade de Campinas, Brazil, will investigate variation and change in varieties of both Spanish and Portuguese.

Speaking about her research, Michelle said: "While different varieties of New and Old World Spanish and Portuguese have many grammatical properties in common (both descending from Latin), they also differ in interesting and intricate ways. A detailed consideration of these differences can help improve our understanding of how the grammar of human language is structured and constrained.

"This project will compare fine-grained properties of causative constructions (for example: 'hice cantar a Juan' - 'I made John sing') to learn more about how language changes over time and why."