Professor Michaela Mahlberg PhD

Photograph of Professor Michaela Mahlberg

Department of English Language and Linguistics
Chair in Corpus Linguistics
Director, Centre for Corpus Research

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

As a corpus linguist, I am interested in language as a social phenomenon and the way in which we use language to understand and shape the world we live in. A large part of my research focuses on the language of Dickens’s fiction, literary linguistics, and discourse analysis.

I am currently Principal Investigator on the AHRC funded CLiC Dickens project.

I speak about Corpus Linguistics on this Hay Levels video (i.e. a 3-minute masterclass for A-level students).

Michaela Mahlberg on ResearchGate



  • 2008 Certificate in Professional Studies (CPS) in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (University of Liverpool, UK)
  • 2004 PhD in English Linguistics (Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken, Germany)
  • 2000 Staatsexamen, English and Mathematics, (University of Bonn, Germany)


After completing a Staatsexamen in English and Mathematics at the University of Bonn (in 2000), I became increasingly interested in corpus linguistics, so I went on to do a PhD on high-frequency nouns and graduated from the University of Saarbruecken in 2004. Before joining the University of Birmingham in 2015, I taught English language and linguistics at the University of Bari (Italy), Liverpool University College (UK), the University of Liverpool (UK) and the University of Nottingham (UK).


I have been teaching a range of modules on corpus linguistics, Dickens, literary linguistics, discourse analysis, grammar, and research methods. I am currently convenor of the second year module Voices in Fiction and teach on several MA modules.

Postgraduate supervision

I am interested in supervising dissertations in a range of areas of corpus linguistics, Dickens’s fiction, literary linguistics, and discourse analysis. Please do get in touch if you want to discuss ideas for proposals. I am also always looking out for potential PhD candidates who would like to get involved in research projects and work for the International Journal of Corpus Linguistics.

Find out more - our PhD English Language and Applied Linguistics  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


Studying texts with corpus software - Michaela Mahlberg

My main research interests are in corpus linguistics and contextual approaches to meaning. In the field of corpus linguistics I have published on the relationship between lexis and grammar and the way in which phraseology contributes to cohesion in texts. Another major focus of my research is corpus stylistics, an area of research that employs corpus linguistic methods for the study of literary texts.

I am particularly interested in textual patterns of body language presentation and have worked extensively on Dickens's fiction. I am currently Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded project (with Co-investigator Peter Stockwell) "CLiC Dickens - characterisation in the representation of speech and body language from a corpus stylistic perspective".

Other activities

I am the Director of the Centre for Corpus Research. I am the editor of the International Journal of Corpus Linguistics. Together with Wolfgang Teubert I edit the book series Corpus and Discourse (published by continuum). I am a member of the following Editorial/Advisory Boards: Corpora (peer-reviewed journal, EUP), Studies in Corpus Linguistics (book series edited by Elena Tognini-Bonelli, published by John Benjamins), Korpuslinguistik und Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven auf Sprache - Corpus linguistics and Interdisciplinary perspectives on language (CLIP) (book series edited by Holger Keibel, Marc Kupietz, Christian Mair, published by Gunter Narr), Diskursmuster - Discourse Patterns (book series edited by Ingo H. Warnke and Beatrix Busse, published by de Gruyter).

I am a member of the AHRC's Peer Review College, the Board of ICAME and the following professional societies: Pala, ISLE, BAVS.


Copies of my publications can be downloaded from:

  • Mahlberg, M., Wiegand, V., Stockwell, P., & Hennessey, A. (2019). Speech-bundles in the 19th-century English novel.Language and Literature28(4), 326–353. 
  • Wiegand, V., & Mahlberg, M. (Eds.). (2019). Corpus Linguistics, Context and Culture. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
  • Wiegand, V., & Mahlberg, M. (2019). Introduction. In V. Wiegand & M. Mahlberg (Eds.), Corpus Linguistics, Context and Culture (pp. 1–9). Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
  • Mahlberg, M. and Wiegand V. (2018). Corpus stylistics, norms and comparisons: studying speech in Great Expectations, in R. Page, B. Busse, N. Norgaard (eds.) Rethinking Language, Text and Context. Interdisciplinary Research in Stylistics in Honour of Michael Toolan (pp. 123-143)New York & London: Routledge. [PDF, 1024 KB]
  • Huntley, S.; Mahlberg, M; Wiegand, V.;  van Gennip, Y.; Yang, H.; Dean, R.; Brennan, M. (2018), ‘Analysing the opinions of UK veterinarians on practice-based research using corpus linguistic and mathematical methods’, Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 150, 60-69. 
  • Hennessey, A., Wiegand, V., Mahlberg, M., Tench, C. R., & Lentin, J. (2017). CorporaCoCo: Corpora Co-Occurrence Comparison (Version 1.0-2). [R package]
  • Mastropierro, L. & Mahlberg, M., (2017), Key words and translated cohesion - A corpus stylistic analysis of Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness and its Italian translation, English Text Construction. 10 (1), 78-105.
  • Mahlberg, M., Stockwell, P., de Joode, J., Smith, C., O’Donnell, M. Brook, (2016) CLiC Dickens – Novel uses of concordances for the integration of corpus stylistics and cognitive poetics, Corpora, 11 (3), 433-463.
  • Mahlberg, M. & Stockwell, P., (2016). Point and CLiC: teaching literature with corpus stylistic tools, in M. Burke et al. (eds.) Scientific Approaches to Literature in Learning Environments (pp. 251-267). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2016). Corpus Stylistics. In V. Sotirova (ed.) The Bloomsbury Companion to Stylistics. London & New York: Bloomsbury (pp. 139-156).
  • Mahlberg, M. (2015). Corpus Linguistics. In M. Giovanelli, A. Macrae, F. Titjen and I. Cushing (eds.) English Language and Literature. A/AS Level for AQA. 284-286.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2015). Literary Style. In D. Biber and R. Reppen (eds.). The Cambridge Handbook of Corpus Linguistics (346-361)Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Stockwell, P & Mahlberg, M. (2015). Mind-modelling with corpus stylistics in David Copperfield, Language and Literature, 24: 129-147.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2014). Corpus linguistics and discourse analysis. In K. P. Schneider & A. Barron (Eds.), Pragmatics of Discourse (pp. 215-238). Berlin: De Gruyter. 
  • Mahlberg, M. (2014). Corpus stylistics. In M. Burke (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Stylistics (pp. 378-392). London & New York: Routledge.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2014). Grammatical configuration. In P. Stockwell & S. Whiteley (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics (pp. 249-262). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Mahlberg, M. Conklin, K., Bisson, M.-J., (2014). Reading Dickens’s characters: textual patterns and their cognitive reality, Language and Literature, 23(4), 369-388.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2013). Corpus Stylistics and Dickens’s Fiction. London: Routledge.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2013). Corpus Analysis of Literary Texts. In C.A. Chapelle (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Mahlberg, M., Smith, C., & Preston, S. (2013). Phrases in literary contexts: Patterns and distributions of suspensions in Dickens’s novels. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 18(1), 35-56. doi 10.1075/ijcl.18.1.05mah
  • Mahlberg, M. (2012). Corpus stylistics - Dickens, text-drivenness and the fictional world. In J. John (Ed.), Dickens and Modernity (pp. 94-114). Cambridge: D. S. Brewer.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2012). The corpus stylistic analysis of fiction or the fiction of corpus stylistics? In M. Huber & J. Mukherjee (Eds.), Corpus linguistics and variation in English: Theory and Description (pp. 77-95). Amsterdam: Rodopi.
  • Mahlberg, M., & Smith, C. (2012). Dickens, the suspended quotation and the corpusLanguage and Literature, 21(1), 51-65.
  • O’Donnell, M. Brook, Scott, M., Mahlberg, M., Hoey, M. (2012). Exploring text-initial words, clusters and concgrams in a newspaper corpus. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, 8 (1), 73-101.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2011). Corpus Linguistics. Section 8.10 in Chapter 8 "Fields of Linguistics". In McCabe, A. An Introduction to Linguistics and Language Studies. London: Equinox, 351-354.
  • Mahlberg, M., & McIntyre, D. (2011). A case for corpus stylistics: Ian Fleming's Casino Royale. English Text Construction, 4(2), 204-227.
  • Mahlberg, M., & Smith, C. (2010). Corpus approaches to prose fiction: Civility and body language in Pride and Prejudice. In D. McIntyre & B. Busse (Eds.), Language and Style (pp. 449-467). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2010). Corpus linguistics and the study of nineteenth century fiction. Journal of Victorian Culture, 15(2), 292-298.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2009). Corpus stylistics and the Pickwickian watering-pot. In P. Baker (Ed.), Contemporary Corpus Linguistics (pp. 47-63). London: Continuum.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2009). Local textual functions of move in newspaper story patterns. In U. Römer & R. Schulze (Eds.), Exploring the Lexis-Grammar Interface (pp. 265-287). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2009). Patterns in news stories: a corpus approach to teaching discourse analysis.  In L. Lombardo (ed.). Using Corpora to Learn about Language and Discourse. Bern: Peter Lang, 99-132.
  • Mahlberg, M. and O’Donnell, M. Brook (2008). A fresh view of the structure of hard news stories. In S. Neumann and E. Steiner (eds.) Online Proceedings of the 19th European Systemic Functional Linguistics Conference and Workshop, Saarbrücken, 23-25 July   2007. URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:291-scidok-17005
  • Hoey, M., Mahlberg, M. Stubbs, M. & Teubert, W. (2007). Text, Discourse and Corpora. Theory and Analysis. London: Continuum.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2007). A corpus stylistic perspective on Dickens's Great Expectations. In M. Lambrou & P. Stockwell (Eds.), Contemporary Stylistics (pp. 19-31). London: Continuum.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2007). Clusters, key clusters and local textual functions in Dickens. Corpora, 2(1), 1-31.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2007). Corpora and translations studies: textual function of lexis in Bleak House and in a translation of the novel into German. In V. Intonti, G. Todisco, & M. Gatto (Eds.), La Traduzione. Lo Stato dell'Arte. Translation. The State of the Art. (pp. 115-135). Ravenna: Longo.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2007). Review of M. Hori (2004). Investigating Dickens' Style: A Collocational Analysis. Language and Literature, 16(1), 93-96. 
  • Mahlberg, M. (2006). but it will take time... points of view on a lexical grammar of English. In A. Renouf & A. Kehoe (Eds.), The Changing Face of Corpus Linguistics (pp. 377-390). Amsterdam, Atlanta: Rodopi.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2006). Lexical cohesion: corpus linguistic theory and its application in ELT. Special issue of the International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 11(3), 363-383.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2005). English General Nouns: A Corpus Theoretical Approach. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Barnbrook, G., P. Danielsson, M. Mahlberg (eds.) (2005). Meaningful Texts: The Extraction of Semantic Information from Monolingual and Multilingual Corpora. London: Continuum.
  • Teubert, W. and M. Mahlberg (eds.) (2005). The Corpus Approach to Lexicography. Thematischer Teil von Lexicographica. Internationales Jahrbuch für Lexikographie, 20.
  • Danielsson, P. and M. Mahlberg (2003). There is more to knowing a language than knowing its words: using parallel texts in the bilingual classroom. English for Specific Purposes World. Online Journal for Teachers, 3 (6), Vol. 2. 
  • Mahlberg, M. (2003). The textlinguistic dimension of corpus linguistics: The support function of English general nouns and its theoretical implications, International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 8:1, 97-108.
  • Mahlberg, M. (2002). Review of István Kenesei and Robert M. Harnish (eds.). (2001): Perspectives on Semantics, Pragmatics, and Discourse. A Festschrift for Ferenc Kiefer, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 7:1, 107-131.

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