Dr Rachel Hatchard BA, MA, PhD, PGCHE

Photograph of Dr Rachel Hatchard

Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics
Teaching Fellow in English Language and Linguistics

Contact details

3 Elms Road
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I teach on/ lead undergraduate and postgraduate modules in English language and linguistics. My research examines language in aphasia, from a constructivist, usage-based perspective. I am interested, too, in the application of this theoretical approach to child language acquisition and also have a background in English language learning/teaching.


PhD Cognitive/Psycholinguistics/ Aphasiology, Faculty Prize Scholarship, University of Sheffield, 2015. Title: A construction-based approach to spoken language in aphasia. Supervisors: Dr Ruth Herbert and Professor Elena Lieven.

MA Languages and Linguistics, University of Manchester, 2008.

Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, University of Chester, 2007.

BA (Hons) German, University of Nottingham, with year abroad in Munich, 2003.


I started in my role at Birmingham in September 2016, after a maternity-cover lectureship in English language and linguistics at Huddersfield University. Prior to that, I completed my PhD at the University of Sheffield, during which time I also worked as a volunteer for three years at a communication support group for people with aphasia run by the Stroke Association. My other previous work has included teaching English language at the University of Augsburg, Germany and providing academic skills support to students with dyslexia at the University of Chester.


I am the convenor (and teacher) for the module Linguistics and Language Disorders (MA level).

I also currently teach on the following modules:

  • English Grammar (yr 2)
  • Psycholinguistics (yr 2)
  • Clinical Linguistics (yr 3)

I also supervise undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations in a range of English language/ linguistics topics.

Postgraduate supervision

I am interested in supervising MA research in the areas of:

  • Clinical linguistics, especially language and communication in aphasia
  • Constructivist, usage-based approaches to language
  • Whole-form/ multiword processing and frequency effects.
  • Second language learning and teaching.


My research investigates how the constructivist, usage-based approach (underpinned by construction grammar) can be applied to language in aphasia, thus also exemplifying how aphasia could provide fresh ground for testing this theoretical perspective. My studies have so far included examinations of verb constructions, noun phrases and noun pluralisation errors in spoken narratives by people with a range of aphasia severities.

Other activities

I am a member of the following academic organisations:

  • British Aphasiology Society
  • Belgium Netherlands Cognitive Linguistics Association
  • International Cognitive Linguistics Association (2013-present)
  • International Society for the Linguistics of English
  • Linguistics Association of Great Britain (Elected member of LAGB Student Committee, 2011-13)
  • Fellow, Higher Education Academy (2008-present)
  • Northern Association of Teachers of ESOL (2006–present).

Invited talks/ conference presentations:

  • Hatchard, R. (2017). Common constructions in aphasia? A usage-based examination of it’s. International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, University of Tartu, Estonia.
  • Hatchard, R. (2017). Applying constructivist, usage-based theory to language in aphasia: An exploratory study of verbs, English Language Research Seminars, University of Birmingham, UK.
  • Hatchard, R. (2016). Retrieval not rules: A construction-based analysis of spoken errors in aphasia, UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference, University of Bangor, UK.
  • Hatchard, R. (2016). A construction-based approach to spoken language in aphasia, Linguistics Research Seminars, University of Huddersfield, UK.
  • Hatchard, R. (2015). A  construction-based   approach   to   language   in   aphasia,  Speech   and Language Sciences Seminar Series, University of Newcastle, UK.
  • Hatchard, R., Lieven, E., & Herbert, R. (2015). Retrieval not rules: A new approach to connected speech in aphasia [oral presentation]. British Aphasiology Society International Biennial Conference, University College London, UK.
  • Hatchard, R. (2015). Constructivist theory and methods in aphasia: A usage-based examination of verbs [oral presentation]. 13th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, Northumbria University, UK.
  • Hatchard, R., & Herbert, R. (2014). What remains? A constructivist examination of verbs in aphasia [oral presentation]. CogLingDays-6 Conference, University of Ghent, Belgium.
  • Hatchard, R., & Herbert, R. (2014). Applying constructivist theory to language in aphasia: An examination of noun pluralization errors in relation to frequency [poster]. 15th International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Hatchard, R., & Herbert, R. (2014). Applying constructivist theory to language in aphasia: An examination of noun pluralization errors in relation to frequency [oral presentation]. Georgetown Round Table in Linguistics, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA.
  • Hatchard, R., Wilkinson, R., & Herbert, R. (2013). The application of Construction Grammar to language in aphasia [oral presentation]. 12th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


In press:

  • Hatchard, R. (2018). Usage-Based approach to language acquisition. In J. S. Damico, & M. J. Ball (Eds.), The SAGE encyclopedia of human communication sciences and disorders. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

In preparation:

  • A construction-based analysis of verbs in aphasia.
  • Aphasic errors with grammatical number of nouns: A constructivist, usage-based analysis.
  • Applying constructivist, usage-based theory to language in aphasia: Some methodological considerations