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School of English Language, Literature and Linguistics, Percy Building
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 7RU


PhD Linguistics – 2018, University of Sheffield, Passed without correction
Thesis: Sociophonetic variation in Stoke-on-Trent’s pottery industry
Examiners: Professor David Britain & Professor Joan Beal
Supervisors: Dr Emma Moore & Dr Chris Montgomery
Funded by a Wolfson Scholarship for the Arts and Humanities from the Wolfson Foundation

MA Linguistics – 2012, University of York, Awarded with distinction
Thesis: The witch[i:z] watch [ɪt]: variable tense unstressed vowels in Stoke-on- Trent Supervisor: Dr Dominic Watt

BA English Language & Linguistics – 2010, Lancaster University, Awarded with First-Class Honours
Thesis: Phonetic cues for the naïve listener perception of accent varieties of the North- West Midlands
Supervisor: Dr Kevin Watson

Research and teaching interests: sociolinguistics; language variation and change; world Englishes, multilingualism and language contact; language and social class; acoustic and articulatory phonetics and the fundamentals of the International Phonetic Alphabet; language and gender; language, discrimination and prejudice; urban dialects of the North and Midlands

Academic employment

University of Newcastle – September 2019 – July 2020: Lecturer in Phonetics and Phonology

University of Sheffield – October 2018 – June 2019: Teaching Associate

University of Newcastle – October 2018 – January 2019: Teaching Assistant

University of Sheffield – October 2014 – June 2018: Postgraduate Teaching Assistant


Leach, H. /h/-variation in Stoke-on-Trent’s pottery industry. (accepted pending review, Journal of Sociolinguistics)

Leach, H. & Montgomery, C. Perceptions of accent variation in Stoke- on-Trent. (under review)

Leach, H. (2018) Sociophonetic variation in Stoke-on-Trent’s pottery industry. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield. Available here.

Leach, H., Watson, K. & Gnevsheva, K. (2016) Perceptual dialectology in northern England: Accent recognition, geographical proximity and cultural prominence. Journal of Sociolinguistics 20 (2) pp. 192-211. Available here.

Leach, H. (2013) [review] English accents and dialects: An introduction to social and regional varieties of English in the British Isles. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 43, pp. 358-361.



SEL3094 Accents of English – Module convenor
Key topics: phonetic and phonological variation in the accents of English; acoustic phonetics and quantitative methods

SEL1032 Language Variation and Change: Dealing with Data – Module convenor
Key topics: introduction to quantitative data analysis, theory and practice

SEL8163 The Sociolinguistics of Language and Society – Module Lead (postgraduate)
Key topics: Variationist sociolinguistics theories and methods; language contact and multilingualism; language endangerment, death and revitalisation; pidgins and creoles

SEL2091 Sociolinguistics and the Sociology of Language – seminar tutor
Key topics: Variationist sociolinguistics theories and methods; language contact and multilingualism; language endangerment, death and revitalisation; pidgins and creoles


ELL232 Phonology – Module convenor
Key topics: Phonological rules and derivations; features, classes and phonological processes; Autosegmental Phonology, Optimality Theory, Syllables

ELL120 Introduction to Linguistic Theory – Lecturer/seminar tutor
Key topics: Intro to theories in phonology, morphology and syntax

ELL110 Varieties of English – Lecturer/seminar tutor
Key topics: phonological, grammatical and lexical dialect variation in the UK; theories and methods in dialectology; world Englishes; standardisation of English; dialect commodification

EGH607 Research Methods – Lecturer (postgraduate)
Key topics: methods in perceptual dialectology and acoustic phonetic analysis

ELL112 Sounds of English – Seminar tutor
Key topics: Introduction to the articulation and English phonology; connected speech processes; intonation

ELL217 Sociolinguistics – Seminar tutor
Key topics: Language variation according to class, age, gender, ethnicity, topic, style, social networks and communities of practice

ELL207 Phonetics – Seminar tutor
Key topics: Practical training in articulation and transcription of the full IPA, and acoustic analysis

Peer-reviewed presentations

– Phonetically-motivated morpho-phonological change in an unstressed vowel: the horses vowel in Stoke-on-Trent English; BAAP, University of York

– Salience, noticeability and enregisterment of dialect features in Stoke-on-Trent English (with Dr Chris Montgomery); UKLVC, Queen Mary University of London
– The interaction between language, occupation and social meaning in Stoke-on- Trent’s pottery industry; ICLaVE10, University of Leeuwarden/Ljouwert (unable to attend)

– The making of local social meaning: /h/ variation in Stoke-on-Trent; 8th Northern Englishes Workshop, University of Newcastle
-Making it local: /h/ variation in Stoke-on-Trent’s pottery industry; Language, Place and Periphery, University of Copenhagen

– Phonetic variation and the particulars of the Potteries; UKLVC11, University of Cardiff
– Language variation and the local social relationships of the Potteries; ICLaVE9, University of Malaga

– Construction of identity in the Potteries; Masterclass on Language and Place, University of Copenhagen
– Priv[i:]t (ɪ)s – the curious case of the (ɪ) vowel in Stoke-on-Trent; 7th Northern Englishes Workshop, University of Edinburgh

– Selected speaker; Wolfson Scholars Symposium, British Academy
– Forced Alignment techniques in social meaning studies, ShefLingPGC, University of Sheffield
– Forced Alignment techniques in social meaning studies; the study of sociolinguistic meaning in the era of ‘big data’: issues, questions and future directions, University of Sheffield

– Proximity, cultural prominence and sociolinguistic salience in perceptual dialectology (with Dr Kevin Watson and Dr Ksenia Gnevsheva); Language and Society, University of Waikato

– Stoke-on-Trent: a case study investigating the ‘new working class’; UKLVC9, University of Sheffield [poster]
– A region divided: accent and identity in Stoke-on-Trent (with Dr Chris Montgomery); iMean 3, University of the West of England

– The witch[i:z] watch [ɪ]t – variable tense unstressed vowels in Stoke-on-Trent; Manchester Forum in Linguistics, University of Manchester

Research-based employment

Research Assistant: A Future for Cornish English project, University of Sheffield
Transcription and coding of sociolinguistic interviews.

Research Associate: Digital Humanities Institute, University of Sheffield
Assistance on a variety of digital humanities projects, using GIS mapping software and designing websites

Reviewer: Annotation for Transparent Inquiry initiative, Syracuse University
Review and workshop regarding the use of digital annotations to enhance transparency in qualitative research (

Research Assistant: Sheffield Archives and Special Collections, University of Sheffield
Cataloguing and digitising of dialect recordings and producing a report assessing their viability and providing instructions for use.

Project Officer: Temporal co-ordination in talk-in-interaction, University of York
British Academy funded ( Transcribed, coded and analysed dyadic video recordings of talk and music for conversational and gestural pikes.

Research Assistant: Scilly Voices, University of Sheffield
Transcribing and coding of phonetic variables ( .

Writing and media experience

Linguistic consultant, Vice magazine
Radio interviews: BBC Radio Stoke, BBC Radio Coventry, BBC Radio Lincolnshire, Mark Forrest Show (BBC Radio)
Contributor, History Matters
Contributor, Sheffield School of English blog
Founder and contributor, So Long As It’s Words language blog

Public engagement and outreach

  • English Language and Linguistics schools outreach representative
  • Accents and judgements: why there is no wrong way to speak; The Mobile University, University of Sheffield
  • Miners, mugs and Monkeys – the Sheffield dialect; guest speaker, Woodland Heritage Festival
  • Miners, Monkeys and Robbie Williams – dialect change over time; City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College
  • English Language taster session for Y13 pupils; Discover Arts and Humanities open day, University of Sheffield


  • [Nominated] Best Postgraduate Student Who Teaches, University of Sheffield
  • Learned Societies Fund award (£530, University of Sheffield)
  • Research Strategy Committee award (£100, University of Sheffield)
  • Learned Societies Fund award (£350, University of Sheffield)
  • Second year examinations award (Lancaster University)
  • Mary Bishop Prize for English Language (City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College)

Professional development

Decolonising the Curriculum workshop (March 2019)
Autism Awareness training (February 2019)
Supporting LGBT+ students training (January 2019)
LAGB student committee (2016-2018)
Co-ordinator, UK Linguistics Olympiad (2015-present)
MA Applied Linguistics mentor(2016)
Conference chair, ShefLingPGC; 5th & 6th March (2015)
Organiser, ShefLingPGC; 4th & 5th February (2014)
Organiser, Work in Progress (School of English postgraduate research seminars)


available on request