skip to content


Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages


Dr Tam Blaxter

Research Fellow, Gonville & Caius
Co-Investigator, 'Investigating the diffusion of morphosyntactic innovations using social media' (ESRC)
Theoretical and Applied Linguistics
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 (0)1223 335 000 (Main Faculty number)

Theoretical and Applied Linguistics
3rd Floor, 9 West Road
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom


Tam did their undergraduate degree in Linguistics at the University of Essex before going on to do the MPhil in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology at Oxford and PhD in Linguistics at Cambridge. Their work takes a variationist/quantitative approach to questions around language change and diffusion. Their PhD thesis was on contact, diffusion and change in medieval Norwegian, and they are continuing this work at present. They have also worked on variation and change in Modern English using data from the English Dialects App, and in modern Bristol English using more traditional sociolinguistic methods. 

Teaching interests: 

History of English
Historical linguistic theory
Historical sociolinguistics
Germanic philology

Research interests: 

Linguistic diffusion
Quantitative methods in linguistics
Historical sociolinguistics
Linguistic geography
History of Norwegian

Recent research projects: 

Investigating the diffusion of morphosyntactic innovations using social media (ESRC)
The social determinants of linguistic diffusion patterns (Gonville & Caius)

Published works: 

Blaxter, Tam. 2017. Speech in space and time: Contact, change and diffusion in medieval Norway. PhD thesis, University of Cambridge. DOI: 10.17863/CAM.15576.
Blaxter, Tam. 2015. “Gender and language change in Old Norse sentential negatives.” Language Variation and Change 27.3:349–375.
Blaxter, Tam. 2014. “Applying keyword analysis to gendered language in the Íslendingasögur.” Nordic Journal of Linguistics 37:169–198.
Blaxter, Tam. 2013. Sociolinguistic variation in the Old Icelandic Family Sagas. MPhil thesis, University of Oxford.
Blaxter, Tam. 2010. ‘We still talk Cadbury Heath.’ A quantitative study of rhoticity in Bristol English. BA dissertation, University of Essex.