I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol. My current research explores how children acquire knowledge about kinship and family, with a focus on Datooga-speaking children of Tanzania. This research forms part of the VariKin project headed by Professor Fiona Jordan.
My research interests are in linguistic anthropology, interactional sociolinguistics, and pragmatics. I’m interested in how speakers of different languages use their linguistic resources to mediate social relationships, particularly at fine-grained levels of everyday interaction. Relatedly, I’m interested in the ways in which linguistic practice might influence language form. I currently explore these topics in Datooga, a Nilotic language of Tanzania, using video-based ethnographic and linguistic methods.
My doctoral research investigated an elaborate system of name avoidance practiced by Datooga women. Women traditionally avoid the names of their senior in-laws as well as lexically related and similar-sounding words. To replace these words, women make use of a highly conventionalized avoidance vocabulary, which I document and describe in my dissertation. I also explore the use of avoidance language in everyday speech and show how avoidance language indexes particular interpersonal stances that construct relations of respect, gender, and seniority.
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