Members of staff and their research and PhD supervision interests
Before contacting members of academic staff, please make sure you are familiar with the application process. Any questions about the administrative side of things (fees, scholarships, paperwork etc.) should go to the College of Arts and Law Graduate School.
I would be interested in supervising research into relationships between discourse – taken in its most general sense to include not just language but also other semiotic modes, especially images and sounds – and social power relations. Of particular interest to me at the moment are the ways in which features of contemporary British life are semiotised – the ways in which, for example, social class differences are talked about by politicians, or the ways in which different organisations with different political interests visually represent British cities. Any work related to these themes, including that relating to other cultural/national contexts, is likely to be of interest. In terms of methodological frameworks, I am interested in work that draws on Halliday’s Social Semiotics, including later developments in that area, and in Critical Discourse Analysis.
My research focuses on the language of the individual (idiolects), with a current emphasis on historical idiolects from the Early Modern period. I am interested in the relationship between language style, social identity, and linguistic variation and change. I would be interested in supervising students in the following areas:
- Historical sociolinguistics, especially the Early Modern period (1500-1700). I would be particularly interested in supervising students wishing to develop new methodological approaches and/or resources (corpora) to answer questions about the relationship between society and linguistic variation in historical periods.
- Studies of idiolects and authorship attribution methods and techniques, both for contemporary or historical data.
- Discursive studies of language and identity, particularly in regards to gender.
- Historical development of spelling and other written dimensions of language.
I am interested in supervising PhD students who want to use the tools and methods of corpus linguistics to address problems, questions and issues in Discourse Analysis, Critical Discourse Analysis and Second Language Acquisition research. I am also interested in supervising PhD projects that focus on applications of corpus linguistics in TEFL/TESL.
I have done work on mainly written discourse, especially evaluative language, and on corpus linguistics. I am interested in supervising topics that use discourse or corpus methods (or a mixture of the two). Previous and current students have researched topics such as: aspects of lexis and grammar in learner corpora; the representation of given people and situations in newspapers; the language of text messaging; the discourse of particular academic disciplines; assessing task-based learning in the classroom; business and academic job advertisements; language and visual communication in university websites; and many more. The topic that interests me particularly at the moment is the language of interdisciplinary academic fields, so I would be very happy to work out a research proposal with anyone keen to work in this area. But I am also happy to supervise other topics that relate to the methodologies I mentioned above.
My main areas of research are in academic discourse and the teaching of academic writing. I am keen to supervise research which investigates aspects of academic discourse – for e.g. argumentation in academic discourse, comparative studies on the features of academic discourse in different disciplines, academic style etc. Of particular interest is research which aims to illuminate aspects of academic discourse which are challenging for second language writers. Equally, I would be keen on supervising research which evaluates classroom techniques for the teaching of academic writing and materials development for academic writing. I would also be happy to supervise writing (not academic but general or creative writing) for EFL learners.
Dr Almut Koester
My research is on the analysis of spoken discourse in the workplace, so I am particularly interested in supervising research involving the collection and transcription of naturally-occurring spoken interactions in workplace, business and other institutional settings. In addition to studies investigating English native speaker discourse, I would welcome those involving cross-cultural and cross-linguistic comparisons or Business English as a lingua franca. Research methods I use include discourse analysis, conversation analysis, genre analysis and corpus research methods. Areas of language and interaction I have investigated: spoken workplace genres, small talk, conflictual talk, modality, hedges, vague language, idioms, metaphor.
I am interested in supervising PhD theses on the acquisition and use of metaphor and other types of figurative language by second language learners. I would particularly welcome proposals that focus on the acquisition of metonymy, humour and irony, and the use of verbal and gestural metaphor in cross-linguistic communication or communication between members of different discourse communities. I am also interested in supervising research that explores other applications of cognitive linguistics (such as construal) to second language learning and teaching.
Dr Neil Millar
I am interested in supervising PhD students in the following areas:
- corpus data and theories of language learning/processing
- the combination of corpus data and experimentation
- investigating language using statistical approaches to collocation
- recent language change
- or in any area coherent with my research interests
My main research areas are lexis in general (including phraseology, collocation, and idioms), lexicography and dictionary-making, figurative language – also discourse and ideological aspects of language, particularly from a lexical point of view: my approaches are generally corpus-based or text-based. I’d be very interested in supervising PhD topics in these and similar areas.
My main research areas are 1) stylistics and translation, in particular the investigation of translator style, that is, stylistic features that can be attributed to the translator – rather than the author. the source text or to linguistic constraints in language transfer – and therefore can tell us something about the translators themselves as literary artists; 2) the reception of translated literature, including, for example, readers' attitudes towards translation within a particular literary system, the role of publishers and booksellers in disseminating foreign literature, translation policies, and 3) translation and gender, in particular the representation of gendered language and gender stereotypes across cultures.
Dr Alison Sealey
I welcome applications from postgraduate research students who are seeking supervision in the areas of:
- The sociology of language and the links between language use and social processes. Students who are interested in any aspect of language and the realist social theory explored in a number of my recent publications are especially encouraged to contact me about their proposals for MPhil/PhD research.
- Corpus linguistics: a) As a method in discourse analysis b) In first language learning and teaching
- Language planning and policy
I started my career as a TESOL teacher and teacher trainer in Spain, Vietnam and the UK, before becoming interested in the language of digital media. My PhD was a corpus study of text messaging, and I am now researching social network sites. I am interested in supervising students in the following areas:
- Language and New Media: any aspect of communication and community online.
- Creativity in ordinary language: how people play with language and use it artfully in everyday situations, including online ones.
- Corpus projects: particularly those which integrate corpus methods with other approaches, or which involve online data.
- TESOL and education: particularly the use of digital media in education and related topics.
I have research interests in linguistic aspects of human-computer interaction, in uses of educational technologies in language learning, and in the exploitation of corpus resources and methodologies in learning about language. I have worked on large scale academic corpus development projects, and am keen to supervise doctoral research which explores specialised language use, particularly in academic discourse, through corpus analysis, or which develops innovative approaches to corpus studies.
I am interested in supervising PhDs in all areas of Stylistics, Narrative Analysis, and Sociolinguistics. My own current research interests include the role of repetition in verbal art, the textual construction of expectations and emotional immersion in written narratives, and the construction/performance of 'emergent identity' in personal narratives.
My own research interests are associated with the study of collocation and other phraseological aspects of English. I am currently using corpus-based techniques to investigate the phraseological behaviours of high frequency nouns and verbs and looking at how these are represented in mainstream EFL coursebooks.
I am particularly interested in supervising MA and PhD research in the areas of
- collocation and other phraseological aspects of English
- the pedagogic application of corpora
- vocabulary and the teaching of vocabulary