Since completing his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Manchester, John has undertaken quantitative and qualitative sociolinguistic research in Austria, Germany, Luxembourg and in the UK. He is particularly interested in perceptions of speakers with different linguistic varieties, and how these attitudes and ideologies are shaped by wider discourses on language in society.
As Research Associate in Strand 2 of the MEITS project, John has worked on the interface between initiatives from above (e.g. policy and planning) and practices from below (e.g. language usage and widespread views on language) with regard to standard and non-standard language in the officially multilingual context of Luxembourg. His research has also looked at the topic of language standardization in Luxembourg from both historical and contemporary angles to explore how past developments inform and influence present-day language discourses, attitudes and policy. One such case is the establishment of orthographical norms for written Luxembourgish, looking in particular at changes to the official spelling rules over time and assessing the varying degrees of adoption of these norms by Luxembourgers. He has supplemented this research with similar qualitative fieldwork in other officially multilingual regions (e.g Catalonia) in order to examine these themes and issues from a comparative perspective.