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Oliver Mayeux

Oliver Mayeux

Department: Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

Supervisor: Dr Mari Jones

College: Peterhouse

AHRC Subject Area: Linguistics

Title of Thesis: A corpus-based study of language change in an endangered creole language (Louisiana Creole)


My doctoral research focuses on morphosyntactic, phonological and lexical change in Louisiana Creole, a highly endangered French-lexifier creole. To conduct a diachronic analysis, I am currently building a corpus of texts from the 19th to the 21st Century, which will be analysed using the quantitative and computational techniques of corpus linguistics. During fieldwork on the Bayou Tèche (scheduled for January 2017), I will collect language data from the last speakers of the language. Another dimension of my study is to investigate how ongoing language change in Louisiana Creole is affected by so-called 'new speakers', learners of the language who arise as a result of revitalization. Creole languages have been largely excluded from discussion of language endangerment and revitalization. Further, corpus methods have been overlooked as a tool for studying language obsolesence, the particular kind of linguistic change which arises as a result of endangerment.

My MPhil dissertation examined the language of new speakers of Louisiana Creole using a corpus built from web data. Before that, I took a BA in Korean and Linguistics with Yoruba from SOAS, University of London with a year studying Korean language and culture at Korea University (고려대학교). 

I am one of the graduate convenors for the Cambridge Endangered Languages and Cultures Group and a member of the Mechanisms of Language Change and Computational Linguistics research clusters.

Other academic interests

- language and identity
- language and the internet
- computational linguistics