Linguistics Expert Pledges to Learn Welsh as Vice-Chancellor; UNIVERSITY APPOINTS NATIVE SPEAKER OF SCOTS LANGUAGE

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Byline: GRAHAM HENRY

AN EXPERT in linguistics has been appointed to lead Aberystwyth University - and has pledged to learn Welsh after landing the role.

Professor April McMahon has joined the university as vicechancellor from her previous position as vice-principal of planning, resources and research policy at the University of Edinburgh.

She will take over from outgoing vice-chancellor Professor Noel Lloyd on August 1. Prof Lloyd has held the post since September 2004 and last year was awarded aCBEfor services to higher education.

Prof McMahon is a noted expert in the field of regional accents and the effect of encroachment of majority languages, and is a native speaker of the dwindling Scots language.

She will now be expected to occupy the post for a minimum of five years - and can expect a salary of around pounds 179,895 - what Prof Lloyd was paid in 2009.

Prof McMahon previously taught for 12 years at the Department of Linguistics at Cambridge University,where she is a Fellow of Selwyn College.

She was also a professor of English Language and Linguistics at Sheffield University between 2000 and 2004 and returned to Edinburgh in 2005 as Forbes Professor of English Language and head of Linguistics and English Language. She was then appointed head of the College of Humanities and Social Science, before taking up her current role as viceprincipal of planning, resources and research in September 2009.

Prof McMahon is a Scots speaker and is originally from the Scottish Borders and had gained her degree in English Language and Linguistics from Edinburgh University. She also has a PhD in English Language.

Prof McMahon said of her appointment: "I am delighted with the prospect of leading Aberystwyth University and look forward to working positively within a bilingual environment and to living and working in such a culturally vibrant part of Wales. …