Much of our research at Birmingham focuses on the use of creative language in a range of everyday and literary contexts, including the workplace, the classroom, and the internet, as well as canonical works of literature.
We look, for example, at the role of idiom and metaphor in the lexicon and how these are employed in real-world situations; and at how textual resources are combined with other modes, such as image and colour, in making meaning. We focus not only on contemporary language use – illustrated most vividly by our research on social media and digital communication – but also on historical data, allowing for comparisons between ‘new’ and ‘old’ media and changing social and textual practices. Drawing on the strengths of Birmingham as a research centre, we adopt a variety of complementary approaches to studying language in use: corpus and discourse analysis, multimodality, stylistics, cognitive linguistics, and informant-based research.
Our campus and distance Masters programmes in Applied Linguistics and Critical Discourse, Culture and Communication as well as our popular PhD programmes reflect our research activity in this field, offering students modules in Multimodality; Cognitive Linguistics; and Language and New Media.
Our work also has implications for lexicography, language learning, Business English, stylistics and sociolinguistics, and media studies.
Staff and areas of expertise
- Dr Joe Bennett the relationships between the resources, linguistic, multimedia and otherwise, that people use to communicate.
- Dr Mel Evans Multimodality in historical and contemporary personal documents; reported speech in narratives.
- Dr Jeannette Littlemore The use of metaphor, metonymy and other types of figurative language in real-world data.
- Dr Caroline Tagg Language play and creativity in everyday contexts, including online domains.
- Professor Michael Toolan Stylistic features of text.