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ABERYSTWYTH University's new Vice-Chancellor, Professor April McMahon started in August. Previously, she was the Vice-Principal for Planning, Resources and Research Policy at Edinburgh University. A native of the Scottish Borders and Scots speaker, Professor McMahon gained an MA in English Language and Linguistics followed by a PhD in English Language at Edinburgh University.

For 12 years she taught at the Department of Linguistics at Cambridge University, where she was also a Fellow of Selwyn College, and was Professor of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Sheffield from 2000 until 2004. In 2005 Professor McMahon returned to Edinburgh University as Forbes Professor of English Language and Head of the Department of Linguistics and English Language. She was subsequently appointed Head of the College of Humanities and Social Science before becoming Vice-Principal in September 2009.

April Professor McMahon said: "It is a great pleasure and privilege to have been invited to lead Aberystwyth University through this next and vitally important phase in its history, a proud history that dates back to 1872.

These are challenging times for Higher Education. In many ways, the rule book is being re-written, but there are important principles that are unchanged. The priorities for this University will remain the provision of excellent opportunities for learning and teaching, world leading student support, cutting edge research in a broad range of academic disciplines - and all in an environment which is second to none."

Professor McMahon's own academic discipline is linguistics. Her work has focused on comparisons between various English accents, with a particular interest in Scots, how and why languages change, interdisciplinary approaches to family relationships between languages, and the implications of encroaching majority languages.

She has authored and coauthored a number of books including Lexical Phonology and the History of English (Cambridge University Press), Change, Chance, and Optimality (Oxford University Press), Understanding Language Change (Cambridge University Press), An Introduction to English Phonology (Edinburgh University Press) and is co-editor of the journal English Language and Linguistics which is published by Cambridge University Press. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the British Academy.

Professor McMahon is learning Welsh, and addressed audiences in Welsh at one of her first engagements at the University's stand at the Eisteddfod earlier this year.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 29, 2011
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