Welcome to new colleagues

Posted on September 20, 2021 by

It’s the first day of the new academic year, so welcome back everyone, and an especially warm welcome to our two new colleagues: Colin Bannard and Serge Sagna.

Colin (pictured right, he’s the human one with clothes on) received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, and he has since worked in Lepizig, Austin (Texas) and most recently Liverpool. His research is in computational linguistics and applications of data science to linguistics and psychology. He’ll be teaching Computational Linguistics and Psycholinguistics.

Apart from language and numbers, his biggest interest is music. He plays bass guitar and double bass. He was a member of the UT Austin Linguistics department band Gavagai, which was such a roaring success that he’s looking to start a band at LEL. Only recently, Vera was looking for an addition to her string quartet of one – Manchet is sensing an opportunity for some pretty genre bending stuff. Otherwise Colin also has an interest in chess (Manchet will venture a guess that some lockdown watching of “The Queen’s Gambit” happened), Tottenham Hotspur football club (you’re in Manchester now, Colin!) and ping-pong. Most important of all, he has a labrador puppy called Frankie (pictured right, the canine one). I repeat, we have a new pup in the department. Will there be a “Pets of LEL” post on Frankie you’ll ask. Yes, there will!

Serge Sagna is a familiar presence to some of us – he worked in Manchester as a Research Fellow between 2008 and 2011, and he’s had a research affiliation with the department. His PhD is from SOAS, and apart from Manchester, he’s also held research positions at Surrey and most recently York. His research is on Jóola languages, particularly Eegimaa (also called Banjal) and other languages of the Atlantic family of the Niger Congo phylum. He’s interested in language typology, documentation, language contact, as well as morphosyntax and lexical semantics. He’ll be teaching Societal Multilingualism (joint with Leonie Gaiser) and Language Policy and Planning.

Serge loves collecting quotes and African proverbs. Two of his favourites are: “Until the lions tell their story, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter” and “Eggs don’t dance with stones”. His hobbies include farming (which he doesn’t do often nowadays) and jump roping. Otherwise, Serge has a a lot of experience in linguistic outreach, including organising and hosting a radio show in Eegimaa. Manchet is in conversation with Serge about LEL radio with multilingual shows and music provided by the new department band. Watch this space!