Dr Mark SebbaEmeritus Professor
The 2011 census in England was the first to ask a question about language: but the questions raised there (and in Scotland, where the census also included new language questions) actually raised more questions than they answered. I have recently been working on papers on this topic, including "‘English a foreign tongue’: The 2011 Census in England and the misunderstanding of multilingualism". You can read a preprint version here.
Much of my current research concerns written bilingual and multilingual texts - magazines, websites, emails and other texts which contain a mixture of languages. I have edited a book,Language Mixing and Code-Switching in Writing: Approaches to Mixed-Language Written Discourse on the topic together with Shahrzad Mahootian and Carla Jonsson. My approach includes what has traditionally been called code-switching (i.e. the use of two languages within one text) but goes beyond that, to explore multilingual texts as literacy practices which draw on different repertoires of languages, visual images, spatial arrangements etc.
Another main interest of mine is in the Sociolinguistics of Orthography, a relatively unexplored field which examines the cultural and social aspects of spelling and writing systems. My book Spelling and Society: The culture and politics of orthography around the world was published by Cambridge University Press in 2007and has now published in paperback as well. You can read a review by Harriet Ottenheimer in Language Documentation and Conservation 3:2 (2009), here . At least one other person has read the book too, according to the THES.
I am on the editorial board of the journal Writing Systems Research and have written an article on "Sociolinguistic approaches to writing systems research" which appears in the first issue. You can read a postprint version here.
My other main interests have been in pidgin and creole languages and in the analysis of conversational code switching in bilingual communities - interests which come together in my (1993) book, London Jamaican (Longman), which is about the use of English and Creole among Caribbeans in London.
I am also interested in corpus linguistics - especially problems of bilingual spoken corpora - and have set up a corpus of written British Creole. I am a member of the Steering Committee of the LIPPS group, which is developing standards for the transcription and encoding of multilingual data, and aims to set up an international database of code-switching data. Our publication, the LIDES Coding Manual: A Document for Preparing and Analysing Language Interaction Data contains advice, guidelines and recommended transcription standards for researchers with bilingual data.
Prior to coming to Lancaster I did research in the field of syntax, and wrote The Syntax of Serial Verbs (Benjamins, 1987), a book which deals with a construction type found in creole languages, West African languages and Chinese. I have previously done freelance film and video work. My book Contact Languages: pidgins and creoles was published by Macmillan in 1997.
Taking A-level English Language? Link to the Linguistics Department's English Language A-level Web Site
Undergraduate: Language and Identities: gender, ethnicity and class (LING307)
Postgraduate: Bilingualism, Sociolinguistics
Link to my web page on academia.edu
1. Journal articles in peer-reviewed journals
Mark Sebba 2015. Iconisation, attribution and branding in orthography. Written Language & Literacy 18:2 (2015), 208-227. DOI 10.1075/wll.18.2.02seb
Sebba, Mark. 2013 ‘The visual construction of language hierarchy: the case of banknotes, coins and stamps’ Journal of Language and Politics.
Sebba, Mark & Dray, Susan 2013 ‘Making it real: ‘Jamaican’, ‘Jafaican’ and authenticity in the language of British youth’ Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik 60, 3, p. 255-273. 18 pp.
Sebba, Mark 2013 Multilingualism in written discourse: An approach to the analysis of multilingual texts. International Journal of Bilingualism 17, 1, p. 97–118. 22 p.
Sebba, Mark 2009 "Sociolinguistic approaches to writing systems research". Writing Systems Research 1.1., 35-49.
Sebba, Mark 2006 ‘Ideology and Alphabets in the former USSR.’ Language Problems and Language Planning 30:2 (2006), 99–125.
Sebba, Mark 2003 ‘Will the real impersonator please stand up? Language and identity in the Ali G websites’. Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik 28:2, 279-304.
Sebba, Mark and Shirley Tate 2002: ‘"Global" and "local" identities in the discourses of British born Caribbeans.’ International Journal of Bilingualism 6:1, 75-89
Sebba, Mark 2000 ‘Orthography and ideology: issues in Sranan spelling.’ Linguistics 38-5, 925-948.
Sebba, Mark 2000 The LIPPS Group (Language Interaction in Plurilingual and Plurilectal Speakers): The LIDES Coding Manual. A Document for Preparing and Analysing Language Interaction Data. International Journal of Bilingualism 4:2, 131-270.
Sebba, Mark 1999 Penelope Gardner-Chloros, Roeland van Hout, Melissa Moyer and Mark Sebba: ‘Towards standardizing and sharing bilingual data’. International Journal of Bilingualism, 3:4, 395–424. (10 000 word paper) (Equal contributions by all four authors)
Sebba, Mark 1998Phonology meets ideology: the meaning of orthographic practices in British Creole. Language Problems and Language Planning 22:1, 19-47.
Sebba, Mark 1998 A congruence approach to the syntax of codeswitching. International Journal of Bilingualism 2:1, 1-19.
Sebba, Mark 1991 The Adequacy of Corpora in Machine Translation. Applied Computer Translation 1:1, 15-27.
Sebba, Mark 1986 Sebba, M. and S. Tate: You know what I mean? Agreement marking in British Black English. Journal of Pragmatics 10, 163-172. (Equal contributions by both authors)
Sebba, Mark 1986 Adjectives and Copulas in Sranan Tongo. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 1.1, 109-122.
Sebba, Mark 1986 The -ex ending in product names. American Speech 61.4, 318-326.
Sebba, Mark 1985. Local, J.K., W.H.G. Wells and M. Sebba: ‘Phonology for conversation: Phonetic Aspects of Turn Delimitation in London Jamaican.’ Journal of Pragmatics 9:2, 309-330. (Sebba contributed data and its interpretation)
Sebba, Mark 1981. Derivational regularities in a Creole lexicon: the case of Sranan. Linguistics 19, 101-117.
2012 Sebba, M, Mahootian, S and Jonsson, C (eds). Language mixing and code-switching in writing: approaches to mixed-language written discourse. Routledge. (Includes introductory chapter by Mark Sebba)
2012 Alexandra Jaffe, Jannis Androutsopoulos, Mark Sebba and Sally Johnson (eds).
Orthography as Social Action: Scripts, Spelling, Identity and Power. Mouton De Gruyter. (Includes introductory chapter by Mark Sebba)
2007 Spelling and Society: The Culture and Politics of orthography around the world (210 pages). Cambridge U.P. Available in paperback 2012.
Language Documentation and Conservation 3:2 (2009)
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 31: 2, 217 — 218 (2010)
Language in Society 38, 535-536 (2009).
The Journal of American Culture 31, 250-251 (2008)
English in Education (Vol.42 No.2, 2008)
Written Language and Literacy Vol 11, No 2 (2008), pp.235-236
Functions of Language 16:1. 161-164 (2009)
California Linguistic Notes (Volume XXXIII, No. 1 Winter, 2008).
1997 Contact Languages: Pidgins and Creoles. London: Macmillan. 314pp.
1993 London Jamaican: language systems in interaction. London: Longman. (Real Language series). 192pp.
1987 The Syntax of Serial Verbs. Amsterdam, Benjamins. (Creole Language Library Vol.2) 227pp.
2. Book chapters
Thistlethwaite, Joanne and Mark Sebba (2015). ‘Official signage and the passive exclusion of Irish in the Linguistic Landscape,’ in Conflict, Exclusion, and Dissent in the Linguistic Landscape edited by Selim Ben Said and Rani Sumant Rubdy, pp. 27-51. London: Routledge.
Sebba, Mark 2012 ‘Researching and theorising multilingual texts’. In Sebba, M, Mahootian, S and Jonsson, C (eds). Language mixing and code-switching in writing: approaches to mixed-language written discourse, pp. 1-26. Routledge.
Sebba, Mark 2012 ‘Introduction: Orthography as Social Action’ in Alexandra Jaffe, Jannis Androutsopoulos, Mark Sebba and Sally Johnson (eds). Orthography as Social Action: Scripts, Spelling, Identity and Power, pp. 1-20. Mouton De Gruyter.
Sebba, M. 2012 ‘Introduction - Part IV: Visual and semiotic perspectives on multilingualism’
In: Multilingualism, discourse and ethnography. Martin-Jones, M. & Gardner, S. (eds.). London: Routledge, p. 145-148. 4 p.
Dray, Susan and Sebba, Mark (2011). “Practices, ethnicity and authenticity: ‘Creole’ and youth language in a British inner-city community”. In Lars Hinrichs and Joseph Farquharson (eds) Variation in the Caribbean: from Creole continua to individual legacy, pp 231-250. John Benjamins.
Sebba, Mark 2010 ‘Discourses in transit’. In Semiotic Landscapes: Language, Image, Space edited by Adam Jaworski and Crispin Thurlow, pp. 59-76. Continuum.
Sebba, Mark 2009 ‘Pidgin and Creole Englishes’ in Jonathan Culpeper, Francis Katamba, Paul Kerswill, Ruth Wodak, Tony McEnery (eds): English Language: Description, Variation and Context, pp 388-403. Palgrave Macmillan.
Sebba, Mark 2009 ‘World Englishes’ in Jonathan Culpeper, Francis Katamba, Paul Kerswill, Ruth Wodak, Tony McEnery (eds): English Language: Description, Variation and Context, pp 404-421. Palgrave Macmillan.
Sebba, Mark 2007 Identity and language construction in an online community: the case of ‘Ali G’. In Peter Auer (ed.) Style and Social Identities: Alternative Approaches to Linguistic Heterogeneity, pp. 361-392. Mouton/de Gruyter.
Sebba, Mark 2007 ‘Caribbean Creoles and British Black English’ in David Britain (editor) Language in the British Isles (Second Edition), pp. 276-292. Cambridge University Press.
Sebba, Mark 2007 Sebba, Mark and Dray, Susan ‘Developing and using a corpus of written Creole’ in Karen Corrigan et al. (eds) Creating and Digitizing Language Corpora: Vol. 1, Synchronic Databases, pp 181-204. London: Palgrave. Sebba, Mark 2007 Penelope Gardner-Chloros, Melissa Moyer and Mark Sebba: 'Coding and Analyzing Multilingual Data: The LIDES Project'. Sebba, Mark and Dray, Susan ‘Developing and using a corpus of written Creole.’ Karen Corrigan et al. (eds) Creating and Digitizing Language Corpora: Vol. 1, Synchronic Databases pp. 91-120. London: Palgrave.
Sebba, Mark 2003 ‘Spelling rebellion’. In Discourse Constructions of Youth Identities, ed. J. Androutsopoulos and A. Georgakopoulou, pp.151-172. Amsterdam, Benjamins
Sebba, Mark and Dray, Susan 2003 ‘Is it Creole, is it English, is it valid? Developing and using a corpus of unstandardised written language’. In: Wilson A, Rayson P, McEnery AM (eds). Corpus Linguistics by the Lune: A Festschrift for Geoffrey Leech. Peter Lang, Frankfurt/Main. (Lodz Studies in Language series), 223-239.
Sebba, Mark 2000 Orthography as literacy: how Manx was ‘reduced to writing’. In N. Ostler and B. Rudes, eds., Endangered Languages and Literacy: proceedings of the fourth FEL Conference, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, 21-24 September 2000, pp. 63-70.
Sebba, Mark 2000 "Writing Switching" in British Creole. In K. Jones and M. Martin-Jones (eds.) Multilingual Literacies: Reading and writing different worlds, pp. 171-187.Amsterdam, John Benjamins.
Sebba, Mark 2000 “What Is ‘Mother Tongue’? Some Problems Posed by London Jamaican”. In: T. Acton and M. Dalphinis, eds. Language Blacks and Gypsies, Languages without a written tradition and their role in education, pp.109-121. London, Whiting & Birch.
Sebba, Mark, Sally Kedge and Susan Dray 1999. The Corpus of Written British Creole: a user’s guide. http://www.ling.lancs.ac.uk/staff/mark/cwbc/cwbcman.htm
Sebba, Mark 1999 ‘Social factors do matter!’ (Commissioned) peer commentary on keynote article ‘Borrowing and shift-induced interference: contrasting patterns in French-Germanic contact in Brussels and Strasbourg’ by Jeanine Treffers-Daller. Bilingualism, Language and Cognition 2(2), 86-87.
Sebba, Mark 1998 Meaningful Choices in Creole Orthography: "Experts" and Users. Text of invited keynote paper at colloquium on “Meaningful Choices in Language”, Hanover, November 1996. In Schulze, R. (ed.), Making Meaningful Choices in English. On dimensions, perspectives, methodology and evidence, pp. 223-234. Tübingen, Gunter Narr Verlag. (Special issue of Language in Performance.)
Sebba, M. and A.J. Wootton 1998: "We, They and Identity:Sequential vs. Identity-related Explanation in Code-switching". In P.Auer (ed.), Code-switching in conversation, pp.262-289. London, Routledge.
Sebba, Mark 1995 Code switching: a problem for transcription and text encoding. In: G. Leech, G.A. Myers and J.A. Thomas (eds). Spoken English on Computer, pp.144-148. London, Longman.
Sebba, Mark 1995 Some remarks on Ju/'hoan Serial Verbs. In: The Complete Linguist: Papers in Memory of Patrick J. Dickens, pp. 363-370. Edited by A. Traill, R. Vossen and M. Biesele. Köln, Rüdiger Koppe Verlag.
Sebba, Mark 1987 Black English in Britain. In: Abudarham, S. (ed.) Bilingualism and the Bilingual: an interdisciplinary approach to pedagogical and remedial issues, pp. 46-65. London, NFER-Nelson.
Sebba, Mark 1986 London Jamaican and Afro-Caribbean London English. In:D. Sutcliffe and A. Wong (eds) The language of the Black experience, pp. 149-167. Oxford, Blackwell.
Sebba, Mark 1985. Arguments for serial verbs. In N. Boretzky, W. Enninger, T. Stolz (eds.), Akten des 1. Essener Kolloquiums über Kreolsprachen und Sprachkontakte, pp.115-134. Brockmeyer, Bochum. (Paper given at Essen colloquium on Creoles and Contact Languages.)
Sebba, Mark 1983. Serial verbs: something new out of Africa. York Papers in Linguistics 11: Papers from the York Creole Conference 1983, pp. 271-278.
4. Reference works (contributions to encyclopedias and handbooks)
(to appear) Pidgin and creole Orthographies, Chapter for Routledge Handbook of the English Writing System (edited by Vivian Cook and Des Ryan).
2010 'Societal Bilingualism' In: The SAGE Handbook of Sociolinguistics, edited by Ruth Wodak, Barbara Johnstone and Paul Kerswill, pp 445-459. Los Angeles/London, Sage Publications.
2009 'Spelling as a social practice'. In Maybin, Janet and Joan Swann (eds) Routledge Companion to English Language Studies, pp 243-257. London, Routledge.
2009 "On the notions of congruence and convergence in code-switching", in Barbara E. Bullock and Almeida Jacqueline Toribio (eds) The Cambridge Handbook on Linguistic Code-Switching, pp. 40-57.Cambridge University Press.
2007 Dray, S and Sebba, M. British Black English, 2500 word article in Oxford Companion to Black British History, edited by David Dabydeen and John Gilmore, pp 46-50.
2004 'British Creole: morphology and syntax'. In: Kortmann, Bernd and Schneider, Edgar W. (eds) A Handbook of Varieties of English: A Multimedia Reference Tool, pp. 196-208. Berlin/New York, Mouton de Gruyter.
2001 Sebba, Mark: Orthography: 2000-word entry in Concise Encyclopedia of Sociolinguistics, Elsevier Science Publishing.
2001 Sebba, Mark: Spelling: 3000-word entry inN. J. Smelser and Paul B. Baltes (editors), International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, pp. 14890 – 14894. Pergamon, Oxford.
2001 Sebba, Mark: Serial Verbs. 2000-word entry inN. J. Smelser and Paul B. Baltes (editors), International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, pp. 13927 – 13930. Pergamon, Oxford.
1994 Sebba, Mark: Serial Verbs. 3000-word entry in Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Pergamon Press and Aberdeen University Press. [Commissioned article]
1994 Fligelstone, Stephen and Mark Sebba: Corpora. 3000-word entry in Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Pergamon Press and University of Aberdeen Press. [Commissioned article]
My most recent interest is in written bilingual and multilingual texts - magazines, websites, signs and other texts which contain a mixture of languages. Another main interest of mine is in the Sociolinguistics of Orthography, a relatively unexplored field which examines the cultural and social aspects of spelling and writing systems. My other main interests are in pidgin and creole languages and in the analysis of conversational code switching in bilingual communities.
PhD Supervision Interests
I would be interested in supervising research on the following topics:
Bilingualism, code-switching (particularly written code-switching, multilingual literacies and multilingual texts and signs), pidgins and creoles, sociolinguistics of orthography