Dr Paula Pérez-Sobrino

Photograph of Paula Pérez-Sobrino

Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics
Marie Curie Post-doctoral Fellow

Contact details

Room 137, 3 Elms Road
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a Marie Curie post-doctoral fellow at the University of Birmingham.  Together with Professor Jeannette Littlemore, we run the 2-year project EMMA (Exploring Multimodal Metaphor in Advertising), with the support of the European Commission.  Find out more at: www.multimodalmetaphor.com.


2015. PhD in Cognitive Linguistics (International Doctorate. Distinction with honours). University of La Rioja, Spain. Title: “Expanding the figurative continuum to multimodal settings: Patterns of interaction of multimodal metaphor and metonymy in advertising”. Supervised by: Prof. Francisco J. Ruiz de Mendoza and Dr. Lorena Pérez Hernández.

2011. MA in Secondary Education Teaching (Itinerary: Spanish Language and Literature). University of La Rioja (Spain).

2010. MA in Advanced English Studies: Languages and Cultures in Contact (Itinerary: Linguistics). University of Salamanca (Spain).

2009. BA in Mass Communications (Itinerary: Journalism). University Pontificia of Salamanca (Spain). Distinction with honours awarded by the Government of La Rioja.

2004. International Baccalaurate Diploma. International Baccalaureate Office (Switzerland) & Mateo Práxedes Sagasta High School (Spain).

I have also finished my musical studies in Viola (2010, Castilla y León Conservatoire, Spain) and enjoy speaking German from time to time.


Before joining the English Language department at the University of Birmingham, I wrote my doctoral thesis on multimodal metaphor and metonymy at the University of La Rioja (Spain) from 2011 to 2015. My research work greatly benefited from several research stays at the University of Toulouse II-Le Mirail (2012), University of Amsterdam (2013), University of Birmingham (2014), and the Free University of Amsterdam (2014-2015). I will be based at the University of Birmingham from October 2015 to October 2017 thanks to a Marie Curie fellowship awarded by the European Commission to carry out the project “Exploring Multimodal Metaphor in Advertising (EMMA)”


2013-2014. Lecturer of English as a Foreign Language at the University of La Rioja (BA level).

2012-2013. Curricula developer for Open English (www.openenglish.com). Main functions:  Revision and development of online English as L2 curriculum for Spanish learners from a cognitive perspective.


My research interests revolve around Cognitive Linguistics, cognitive operations (with special focus on the interaction between metaphor and metonymy), and multimodal environments ranging from advertising to classical music.

Marie Curie research project

Dates: Oct 2015 - Oct 2017
Title of Project: Exploring Multimodal Metaphor in Advertising (Project Reference: EMMA - 659078)
Funding Body: European Union (Marie Curie Fellowship Scheme)

EMMA aims to explore the combination of metaphor and metonymy in multimodal settings (such as advertising) by testing figurative complexity and emotions, the impact of these on comprehension, accuracy of interpretation and advertising effectiveness. This interdisciplinary study combines cognitive and physiological psychology with linguistic and marketing interpretations on consumers from different backgrounds (English, Spanish, and Chinese).

A mixed-methods approach of lab experiments and qualitative inquiry will assess the speed and depth of comprehension, the perceived appeal, and the physiological effect of static and video advertisements on participants from three linguistic and cultural backgrounds (English, Spanish, and Chinese). Our final goal is to make advertisers, charities and NGOs sensitive to linguistic and cultural differences in metaphors to build appropriate and ethical advertising for local and international communities.

This project is based at the University of Birmingham and will run for October 2015 to October 2017.

More information at: www.multimodalmetaphor.com

Other research projects

  • Dates: Jan 2014- Dec 2017
    Title of Project: Cognitive modeling and meaning construction across languages: Theory, implications, and applications (FFI2013-43593-P)
    Funding Body: Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness
    Amount: €73,000
    My role: Co-Investigator
  • Dates: Jan 2011-Dec 2013
    Title of Project: Building the grammatical level in a lexical-conceptual base (FFI2010-17610)
    Funding Body: Spanish Ministry of Education
    Amount: €60,000
    My role: Co-Investigator

Other activities

  • Vice-president of the Marie Curie Association at the University of Birmingham
  • Champion for Arts at the University of Birmingham
  • Series editor (Metaphor) in Open Linguistics (Mouton de Gruyter).
  • Member of the editorial board in Review of Cognitive Linguistics (John Benjamins).
  • Editorial board of the online resource “Bibliography of Metaphor and Metonymy METBIB” (John Benjamins Publishing Co.)
  • Reviewer for ANECA (National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation of Spain) and AQUIB (Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation of the Balearic Islands).
  • Reviewer for Applied Linguistics, Journal of Pragmatics, and Language and Cognition.


Publications in peer-referred journals

  • Littlemore, Jeannette and Paula Pérez Sobrino (2017). “Eyelashes, speedometers or breasts? An experimental cross-cultural approach to multimodal metaphor and metonymy in advertising”. In: Baicchi, A. and Bagasheva, A. Figurative Language We Live by. The cognitive underpinnings and mechanisms of figurativity in language. Language Issue of Textus.
  • Pérez-Sobrino, Paula. 2016. “Shockvertising: patterns of conceptual interaction constraining advertising creativity”. Círculo de Lingüística Aplicada a la Comunicación 65: 257-290  [JCR2013: 0.261].
  • Pérez-Sobrino, Paula. 2016. “Multimodal metaphor and metonymy in advertising: A corpus-based account”. Metaphor & Symbol 31(2): 73-90. [JCR2015: 1.533].
  • Pérez-Sobrino, Paula. 2014d. “La relevancia de los complejos conceptuales en publicidad” (“The relevance of conceptual complexes in advertising”). SCIRE 20 (2): 27-36 
  • Pérez-Sobrino, Paula and Nina Julich. 2014c. “Let’s Talk Music: A Corpus-Based Account of Musical Motion”. Metaphor and Symbol 29:4, 298-315. 
  • Pérez-Sobrino, Paula. 2014b. “Meaning construction in verbomusical environments: conceptual disintegration and metonymy”. Journal of Pragmatics 70: 130-151. 
  • Pérez-Sobrino, Paula. 2014a. “Multimodal cognitive operations in classical music”. Vigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics 11. 137-168. 
  • Pérez-Sobrino, Paula. 2013a. “Personification and ideology in the American media coverage of the Iranian Green Revolution”. Text & Talk 33 (2): 233-258. 

Research monographs, chapters in collective volumes and any translations thereof

  • Pérez-Sobrino, Paula. 2013b. “Humanimals. What do multimodal metaphor and metonymy reveal about meaning creation in environmental advertising?” In: Ángeles Llanes et al. (eds) “Applied Linguistics in the Age of Globalization”. Lerida: University of Lerida UP. 402-408.
  • Pérez-Sobrino, Paula. 2013c. “Onomatopoeia in advertising: Beyond the notion of mode”. In: Ángeles Llanes et al. (eds) “Applied Linguistics in the Age of Globalization”. Lerida: University of Lerida UP. 426-434.
  • Pérez-Sobrino, Paula. 2013d. “Metaphor use in advertising: analysis of the interaction between multimodal metaphor and metonymy in a greenwashing advertisement”. In: Elisabetta Gola and Francesa Ervas (eds) Metaphor in Focus: Philosophical Perspectives on Metaphor Use. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 67-82.

Book reviews

  • Pérez-Sobrino, Paula. 2014e. Review of Steen et al. (2010) “A Method for Linguistic Metaphor Identification”. Metaphor and the Social World 4 (1). 138-146.

Edited volumes

  • Ruiz de Mendoza, Francisco; Luzondo, Alba and Paula Pérez-Sobrino (eds.) (fc.) Constructing families of constructions. Edited volume for Human Cognitive Processing Series. John Benjamins.