Bonnie McLean

Hej! I’m Bonnie. I’m a PhD student in Linguistics at Uppsala University (Sweden), and I love words that suit their meanings!

Want to know what I’m talking about? Think about words like perky, pesky, or fug. Words that are really satisfying to use.

I want to know if they got their forms by accident, or if these kinds of words are adapted to suit their meanings.

To answer this question, I am trying to do two things: (1) quantify the relative ‘goodness of fit’ between words and their meanings, and (2) reconstruct the evolutionary histories of these words through time. As I’m interested in this question as it relates to language in general, I work with data from a variety of languages. However, I am most at home with the Japonic language family.

This places my research within the fields of psycholinguistics, historical linguistics, and linguistic typology.

Before starting my PhD, I completed an Honours Degree in Linguistics at The Australian National University, where I wrote my thesis on the phonological and semantic development of Japanese ideophones. Ideophones are an example par excellence of words that suit their meanings, and are satisfying to use. They are what got me interested in this topic in the first place!

When I’m not thinking about words that suit their meanings, you can often find me in the kitchen! I keep a log of good recipes I have tried on my other site.