Dr Sarah Turner BA(Hons), MA, PGCert, PhD

Photograph of Dr Sarah Turner

Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, ESRC Project “Death before Birth”
Teaching Fellow

Contact details

Room G48A, 3 Elms Road
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a cognitive linguist, currently working as a postdoctoral research fellow on the ESRC-funded project ‘Death Before Birth’. This project explores socio-legal intersections of decision-making processes in the experiences of miscarriage, termination, and stillbirth and investigates the ways in which the bereaved communicate their choices to those around them, with a particular focus on their use of metaphor and metonymy. I also teach on various undergraduate and postgraduate courses.


  • PhD English Language and Applied Linguistics, University of Birmingham, UK (2014)
  • PGCert Advanced Research Methods and Skills, University of Birmingham, UK (2014)
  • MA Special Applications of Linguistics, University of Birmingham, UK (2010)
  • BA (Hons.) Modern Languages, University of Birmingham, UK (2009)


I returned to the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics in September 2016 after spending some time teaching at the University of Tokyo, Japan.


I teach on and/or convene the following undergraduate and postgraduate modules:

  • Investigating Language (BA, first year)
  • Practice of Writing (BA, first year)
  • Sounds, Structures and Words (BA, first year)
  • Psychological Aspects of Language (MA)
  • Mind, Metaphor and Language Teaching (MA)

I also supervise second-year language research projects and MA dissertations, and tutor students on our distance MA programmes.


I am a cognitive linguist, with a specific interest in the use of figurative language. While my PhD research focused on the use of metaphor by non-native learners of English, I am now working on the ESRC-funded ‘Death before Birth’ project, where my role involves investigating the use of metaphor and metonymy in narratives of pregnancy loss. I am also involved in a project investigating the development of L2 learner writing through elicited and spontaneous multimodal metaphor, headed by Dr Wan Wan (National Huaqiao University, China) and funded by the National Social Science Foundation of China.

Other activities

I am the editor of the ELR Journal, based at the University of Birmingham.


  • Turner, S. (2016). Book Review of ‘Metaphor and Metonymy revisited beyond the Contemporary Theory of Metaphor’, ed. Francisco Gonzálvez-García, María Sandra Peña Cervel and Lorena Pérez Hernández. Metaphor and the Social World 6(1).
  • Turner, S. (2014). ‘Tomasello’s Theory of First Language Acquisition’. In J. Littlemore & J. Taylor. (Eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Cognitive Linguistics, 91-102. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Littlemore, J., Krennmayr, T., Turner, J. and Turner, S. (2014). An Investigation into Metaphor Use at Different Levels of Second Language Writing. Applied Linguistics 35(2):117-144.
  • Littlemore, J., Krennmayr, T., Turner, J. and Turner, S. (2012). Investigating Figurative Proficiency at Different Levels of Second Language Writing, Cambridge ESOL Funded Research Programme Round 2, Final Report. Cambridge ESOL Examinations Research Notes, 47:14-26.