Tom Trigg


I am gay and I am a linguist.//


I grew up on the South London/Surrey border, in a primarily working-class area. I fell in love with languages during high school, I particularly (and somewhat unusually) enjoyed learning grammar over anything else. I spent hours researching all I could about Latin and German grammatical cases, French tenses and the Spanish and Latin subjunctive. Eventually, I stumbled upon a field called linguistics. After studying for my BA and MA in linguistics at Queen Mary University of London, I’m now PhD student at the University of California, Los Angeles. My primary research interests lie in the areas of syntax and semantics. The main questions I look to answer include: how do humans take words and combine them into complex structures? What patterns are found in these structures? How is meaning assigned to these structures? I work with a range of different languages to try and unpick this. Academia can be an intimidating place for people who aren’t rich, white, straight, and male, even now, but slowly but surely it’s becoming a more inclusive environment for everyone. I can surely say that my ending up in academia was inspired, in no small part, by queer mentors I’ve had along the way.