Dr William Barras

Dr William Barras
MA (Hons), PGCE, MSc, PhD


Dr William Barras
Dr William Barras

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272539
The University of Aberdeen A46 Taylor Building


Dr William Barras completed a PhD in Linguistics and English Language at the University of Edinburgh in 2011. His thesis focused on the sociophonology of rhoticity and r-sandhi in East Lancashire. 

He has postdoctoral research experience as a Research Assistant at the University of Aberdeen on the Fisherspeak project, which investigated lexical attrition in Scottish fishing communities, and as a Research Associate at the University of Manchester on the Leverhulme-funded project Regional Identity and the Indexical Field.

He has taught at the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and York. Before returning to postgraduate study, he worked as a teacher of English at Dallam School in Cumbria for five years. He thinks that the teaching experience he gained as a secondary school teacher is useful for university teaching too. He was nominated in 2014 for the "Extra Mile" award in the AUSA Student Choice Awards, and in 2014 and 2015 for the College of Arts and Social Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award.

His research focuses on several related areas including sociolinguistics, dialectology and phonological theory. He is currently developing a sociophonetic research project which aims to trace phonological change across the lifespan in an individual speaker.

PhD Supervision

Dr Barras currently supervises:

  • Dawn Leslie, whose PhD topic is 'Perceptions of North East Scottish Speech'; 
  • Khursheed Ahmad, whose PhD topic is 'Pronunciation Pedagogy: EFL Teacher Cognition and Practice at Postgraduate Level in Pakistan'

Previous doctoral students:

  • David Warren. Thesis title: The Scottish Vowel Length Rule in North East Scotland; Viva passed in May 2018. 
  • Nawal Shekar (co-supervised with Prof Hazel Hutchison). Thesis title: A mystic's path: A cognitive linguistic analysis of the short fiction of Kate Chopin; Viva passed in August 2017.

Memberships and Affiliations


I am the Examinations Officer for Language and Linguistics in the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture. 


I am the Linguistics Pathway Representative for Aberdeen in the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science.


Teaching Responsibilities

LN1003 English Structure and Use

LN1501 English Past and Present

LN2509 Varieties of English

LN3002 Phonetics

LN3505: Stylistics

LN4002 Research Methods in Language and Linguistics

LN4005 Sociophonetics

LN4501 Dissertation in Language and Linguistics  

PhD Supervision

David Warren 'Vowel Duration in North East Scotland'

Dawn Leslie 'Perceptions of North East Scottish Speech'

Khursheed Ahmad 'Pronunciation Pedagogy: EFL Teacher Cognition and Practice at Postgraduate Level in Pakistan'

Nawal Shakar 'The Mystic’s Path: A Linguistic Analysis of the Short Fiction of Kate Chopin' (lead supervisor Prof Hazel Hutchison) 



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  • Residual Rhoticity and Emergent r-sandhi in the North West and South West of England: Different Approaches to Hiatus-Resolution?

    Barras, W.

    Sociolinguistics in England. Braber, N., Jansen, S. (eds.). Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 363-392, 30 pages

    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)

  • Rural Voices: What can Borsetshire tell us about accent change?

    Barras, W. S.

    The Archers in Fact and Fiction. Courage, C., Headlam, N., Matthews, P. (eds.). Peter Lang

    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters

  • Lancashire

    Barras, W.

    Researching Northern English. Hickey, R. (ed.). John Benjamins Pub., pp. 271-292, 22 pages

    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)

  • Lexical Variation and Attrition in the Scottish Fishing Communities

    Millar, R. M., Barras, W., Bonnici, L.

    Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh. 200 pages

    Books and Reports: Books

  • Terms for fish in the dialects of Scotland's east coast fishing communities: Evidence for lexical attrition

    Millar, R. M., Barras, W. S., Bonnici, L.

    Scottish Language, vol. 30, pp. 29-59

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

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