Staff Research Interests

Our staff have a wide range of research interests across linguistics and the English language. 

My research interests lie in the areas of TESOL, EAL, CLIL, language assessmnet, curriculum and materials development.

View Oksana's profile

I draw on theories and methods from applied linguistics and media and communication studies. I research health(care) and science communication (particularly around obesity, mental health, climate change and sustainability) and news journalism. I am especially interested in (1) the communication of health and science topics in various media (e.g. through culturally-embedded frames, metaphors, news values) and (2) people’s communicative practices around health and science topics using various media (and how they may vary across cultures). I am increasingly interested in the growing influence of positive psychology in linguistics (e.g. in Critical Discourse Analysis), health and science communication (e.g. through the emphasis on wellness and recovery in mental health) and news journalism (e.g. moving away from a ‘disease model of the world’ through constructive reporting).

View Dimitrinka's profile

I work in the areas of experimental psycholinguistics, experimental cognitive linguistics, bilingual cognition, linguistic and cultural relativity, first, second and additional language learning.

View Panos's profile

I am a historian and my PhD thesis looked at popular reactions to the Khodynka disaster, a stampede which took place during the coronation celebrations of Nicholas II of Russia in 1896.

More recently, my research has focussed upon the history of early modern England and has explored the benefits of using large corpora in the study of the past. I am particularly interested in the ways in which marginalised people were perceived in early modern public discourse.

View Helen's profile

Corpus linguistics, particularly in relation to discourse analysis or critical discourse analysis, or recent diachronic change. Representation of identity, especially gender and sexuality. Analysis of news or online corpora.

View Paul's profile

All aspects of language online, including the interaction of words and images, multilingual issues, changes to vernacular practices and learning.

View David's profile

I am a child language researcher investigating the interplay between children’s linguistic and cognitive development. As part of the ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD) I examine the possible influence from linguistic perspective marking on young children’s social cognition by means of training studies with 2-to-3-year-olds. To assess the role of general cognitive abilities, the experiments further test the impact of memory, inhibition and cognitive flexibility.

In two side projects, I also target the relationship between language and cognition, but from different angles: neurodevelopmental disorders (language development in autism) and crosslinguistic comparisons (linguistic fieldwork and semantic typology).

View Ditte's profile

I do corpus analyses and experimental studies to investigate how children's comprehension and productive use of specific (complex) linguistic structures is guided by the form and function of these and related structures in their input. I see language acquisition as a general learning process and also look at interactions between linguistic and social-cognitive development.

View Silke's profile

My main research interests are corpus linguistics, statistics, and the application of corpus methods in the study of speech and writing, learner language, collocations, phraseology and vocabulary. I am also interested in corpus design and corpus tools development. I welcome PhD proposals that focus on one or more of these areas.

View Vaclav's profile

I am a Senior Research Associate in the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) within the Department of Linguistics and English Language. My research interests include corpus linguistics, (critical) discourse studies, multimodality and health communication. I am Associate Editor of the International Journal of Corpus Linguistics (John Benjamins) and Communications Officer for the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) Corpus Linguistics Special Interest Group.

View Gavin's profile

My research combines a number of subareas of speech science. I am mainly interested in forensic speech technology (accent recognition and speaker recognition systems) and how we can use phonetic and sociophonetic research to uncover the inner workings and potential of these technologies.

View Georgina's profile

My main research interests are language testing, and reading and listening in a foreign language. In recent research, I have focused on:

I am a recipient of the ILTA Best Article Award, the e-Assessment Award for Best Research, and the TOEFL Outstanding Young Scholar Award.

I regularly conduct language test development and consultancy work for professional and educational bodies around the world.

View Tineke's profile

My interests are in corpus linguistics and its application to online discourse and health communication. I am also interested in media representations and public understanding of science, often combining corpus linguistics with other forms of (critical) discourse analysis.

I am a Senior Research Associate in the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) within the Department of Linguistics and English Language and am working on a study of voice-hearing, analysing data from those who experience hearing voices and how this is represented in the media.

View Luke's profile

My work work spans pragmatics, English language (especially historical aspects) and stylistics. Within pragmatics, I am particularly interested in interpersonal pragmatics and (im)politeness. Historical pragmatics brings together pragmatics with my interests in historical linguistics, the history of English in particular. Within English language, I am particularly interested in Early Modern English. Within stylistics, I am particularly interested in cognitive stylistics, plays and Shakespeare. Methodologically, I have particular interests in corpus-based methods.

View Jonathan's profile

My main research interests relate to the use of corpus linguistics methodologies to study language production, from various perspectives and in different settings.

I first investigated potential differences (and similarities) between lexical patterning in translated and non-translated texts of the same language. My attention then turned to English academic writing and I examined features of abstracts written in English by Brazilian graduate students from various disciplines.

My current research projects have used the corpus methodology to examine the interaction between discourse and society. I have undertaken studies on pressing issues such as climate change, drought and water scarcity, immigrants’ identity, and urban violence from a variety of UK and Brazilian contexts.

View Carmen's profile

My research interests are related to three main areas:

  • Use of corpus linguistics in language learning & teaching: design and use of learner corpora, spoken learner corpora, development of corpus-based teaching materials, corpus-based learning and teaching
  • Vocabulary & lexical learning: vocabulary acquisition and use, comparison of voabulary learning in L1 and L2, academic vocabulary acquisition, vocabulary learning in content-based programs (e.g. in CLIL, bilingual education), phraseology, formulaic language and collocations
  • Language learning in bilingual education: combining content and language learning, English for specific and academic purposes

View Dana's profile

I am exploring and expanding the boundaries of digital literacies. I am Co-Chair of Working Group 1 Children in Homes and Communities in the COST IS1640 Action The Digital Literacy and Multimodal Practices of Young Children (DigiLitEY) and a member of the management committee.

My main practical aim is to increase access to innovative and creative yet safe online spaces. My principle academic aim is to expand understandings of the relationship of language with multimodality,including through combining study of contemproary media with early twentieth century literacy practices. I also work with young deaf users of Sign Languages in marginalised communities in the Global South who are collaborating online to improve their English literacy.

I am Co-Investigator in the ESRC/DFID project Transforming deaf learners' multiliteracies into sustainable educational approaches for 3 years from July 2017 following a one year pilot ESCR/DFID project Literacy Development with deaf communities using sign language, peer tuition, and learner-generated online content: sustainable educational innovation

I am the director of the Edwardian Postcard project, having recently held a FASS impact award and completed an AHRC Creative Exchange mini project. We are constructing a more interactive website and engaging in other activities to connect with family and local history audiences as well as museums and e-heritage users.

My most recent book, Digital Literacies, consolidates empirical and theoretical interests in recent work including on Twitter as a professional practice and online ethnography. My research on children and teenagers learning in formal and informal settings including in virtual worlds also features in this recent book and its associated ESRC seminar series. See also the Day in the Life project website and this book, which has just been translated into Italian. I am also working with symbols of cultural identity in Hong Kong and Canada.

View Julia's profile

I am a PhD Student in the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science, based within the Department of Linguistics and English Language. My PhD research currently focuses on the application of corpus methods to verbal lie detection, investigating the extent to which these cues to deception differ across sociolinguistic groups.

I am also involved with the Encyclopaedia of Shakespeare's Language project, and the compilation of the Written British National Corpus 2014.

Follow me on Twitter: @mathewgillings.

View Mathew's profile

I primarily research aggression, deception, and manipulation in computer-mediated communication (CMC), including phenomena such as flaming, trolling, cyberbullying, and online grooming. I tend to take a forensic linguistic approach, based on a corpus linguistic methodology, but due to the multidisciplinary nature of my research, I also inevitably branch out into areas such as psychology, law, and computer science.

View Claire's profile

My major specialism is corpus linguistics - specifically, the methodology of corpus linguistics, and how it can be applied to different areas of study in linguistics and beyond. I am currently working on applications of corpus methods in the social sciences and humanities. I am also very interested in the use of corpus-based methods to study languages other than English, especially the languages of Asia, with an especial focus on issues in descriptive and theoretical grammar.

My publications list is available here.

View Andrew's profile

My research interests are in language testing and assessment, and applied linguistics more generally. I am particularly interested in second language listening and pronunciation assessment, and specifically the interface between sociolinguistics and language assessment (for example, the challenge of English as a Lingua Franca for language assessment). I also work on diagnostic language assessment (together with colleagues Tineke Brunfaut and Charles Alderson), and language assessment literacy (with Benjamin Kremmel).

View Luke's profile

My research draws on insights and methods from cognitive science and critical discourse analysis to investigate the links between language, cognition and social/political action. It falls into three principal programs.

In the first, I advocate a Cognitive Linguistic Approach to Critical Discourse Studies (CL-CDS). This approach involves a semantic analysis of particular linguistic (lexical, grammatical, pragmatic) features found in political and media discourse. More narrowly, it investigates the conceptual structures that are associated with different language usages and the ideological or (de)legitimating functions that such structures may serve in specific discursive contexts.

In the second, I am concerned with the connection between Argumentation and Adapted Cognition (AAC). This approach seeks to explain rhetorical effectiveness by investigating the mapping between particular argumentation strategies found in political and media discourse and evolved heuristics and biases in social cognition.

In the third, I use experimental methods to test hypotheses concerning textual influence which emerge from analyses in CL-CDS and the AAC model.

I have used these frameworks primarily to investigate discourses of migration and political protests.

View Christopher's profile

My research interests are in cognitive-typological linguistics (including construction grammar), language change and the history of English, and (Lancashire) dialect grammar. More recently, I have also started to carry out some work in forensic linguistics -- specifically, in the area of verbal lie detection. In order to shed light on issues in and across these areas I have a keen interest in using different methodologies, ranging from corpora to experimental methods.

View Willem's profile

main interest is language teaching, and he has published various books of teaching materials, including Now for English (for young learners) and Communicate in Writing (academic writing materials). He has also written and co-edited a number of background books such as The Communicative Approach to Language Teaching (edited with C.J. Brumfit), Communication in the Classroom (edited with K. Morrow), and Communicative Syllabus Design and Methodology. His most recent publications are Language Teaching and Skill Learning (Blackwell, 1998), Encyclopedic Dictionary of Applied Linguistics: A handbook for language teaching (Blackwell, edited with H. Johnson, 1999), Designing Language Teaching Tasks (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), Expertise in Second Language Learning and Teaching (Palgrave Macmillan, edited, 2005), and An Introduction to Foreign Language Learning and Teaching: Second Edition (Longman/Pearson Education, 2008). He was founding editor of the journal Language Teaching Research (Sage Publications).

View Keith's profile

I am interested in the connection between children's linguistic abilities and their social cognition. In particular, my current research explores the relationship between 2 and 3-year-old children's ability to acquire linguistic perspective marking and their comprehension of other people's intentions or beliefs. In two separate lines of research, we are examining the impact of time on children's linguistic and socio-cognitive abilities, and whether these abilities can be trained. This project is part of the ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD).

Previously, I researched the factors that affect children's creative abilities. I was interested in how using a touchscreen device, or collaborating with a peer can have an impact on 5-to-7-year-old children's creative drawing and storytelling abilities.

View Birsu's profile

I am interested in the interdisciplinary study of speech, sound and language. My research focuses on how people produce the sounds of speech, including vocal tract movements, acoustic characteristics, and variation between languages and dialects. I do fieldwork and laboratory research to address descriptive and theoretical questions in these areas, using methods such as acoustic analysis, vocal tract imaging (ultrasound, electromagnetic articulography) and statistical modelling. Most of my current research is on various topics in articulatory sociophonetics, such as:

I also work on other topics in phonetics and sociophonetics, including liquid consonants, phonetics of contact varieties, and dialect variation. Some ongoing projects include:

  • Acquisition of liquids by Sylheti-English bilingual children (with Kathleen McCarthy, QMUL)
  • Crowdsourcing regional phonetic variation across England (with Adrian Leemann, Bern; George Brown, Lancaster)
  • Phonetic and phonologial variation in North West England (with Claire Nance, Lancaster)

View Sam's profile

Veronika Koller is interested in socio-cognitive approaches within critical discourse studies, specifically the role of metaphor in constructing identites and communicating ideologies. Her areas of expertise are politicial discourse, health communication, corporate discourse, and language and sexuality. Veronika’s research includes work on metaphor and gender in business media discourse, images of community in lesbian discourses, the discourse of corporate branding, metaphor in end-of-life care as well as, most recently, the discourse of cancer charities and the language used around Brexit.

View Veronika's profile

1. Psychological aspects of second language learning. I investigate the speech production and monitoring processes of second language learners. I conduct studies on the role of language aptitude and working memory capacity in language learning.

2. Language learners with special educational needs. I was the chief investigator of a project that explored the foreign language learning processes of dyslexic students. I authored a course-book on specific learning difficulties and language teaching and was part of an award-winning teacher training project in the field of dyslexia and language learning.

I am currently working on a digital English and German task bank for young dyslexic language learners in the Erasmus+ sponsored EnGaGe project.

View Judit's profile

Alison Mackey is interested in second language acquisition, specifically, input, interaction, corrective feedback and task-based language learning and teaching. She is also interested in second language research methodologies and willing to supervise students in any of these areas.

View Alison's profile

I am a member of the corpus research group, which was awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize for its research in 2015.

I undertake research using corpus linguistics in a range of areas across theoretical and applied linguistics. As well as undertaking 'blue skies' research, I have also done applied work with a range of partner organizations in the public sector (e.g. the Department of Culture Media and Sport, the Environment Agency and the Home Office) and the private sector (e.g. with British Telecom, IBM, Nokia and Research in Motion). I have worked on projects in a wide range of languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish. I have also constructed many corpora including the CRATER, EMILLE and British National Corpus 2014 corpora. EMILLE remains the largest and most comprehensive collection of written and spoken corpus materials for South Asian languages.

View Tony's profile

In my reserach I focus on second language acquisition. I am particularly interested in cognitive processes of memory and attention underlying language learning. I wrote my thesis on task complexity and interaction during task-based L2 performance at the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands). As a post-doctoral researcher at Mannheim University (Germany) I focused on preschool teachers' language training competences. Currently, I work on projects on alignment during task-based computer mediated communication and on second language writing processes and their relation to text quality. In all those projects I make use of our eye tracking lab.

View Marije's profile

My research focus lies on linguistic anthropology, critical sociolinguistics and language policy in a variety of social and political contexts. This includes ethnographic and discourse-analytical research at the intersection between language and political economy. My work investigates the commodity value of languages and speakers within neoliberalism and the reproduction of social inequalities through language. I’m currently focusing on the relation between language and mobility in healthcare. Another part of my work addresses language ideologies in post-Soviet countries, in particular in the South Caucasus and Central Asia. I have also extensively worked on linguistic landscapes of communities in political transformation.

View Sebastian's profile

My work is broadly in the area of discourse analysis, including work on academic discourse, broadcast talk, new media, and qualitative research methods.

View Greg's profile

My research involves phonetics, laboratory phonology, and sociolinguistics. In particular, I focus on the Celtic languages, especially Scottish Gaelic. For more information see my website.

View Claire's profile

My main research interests are:

literacy and education (the politics and practices of teaching reading; critical literacy; digital literacies and multimodality)

supporting literacy development in countries of the Global South;

collaborative action research

Writing and urban spaces (linguistic landscapes)

View Uta's profile

My research centers on the role of interaction in instructed language learning, among children and among adults, through socio-cognitive perspectives:

1. Peer interaction - how does it complement the role of the teacher?

2. Learner engagement in language classrooms - cognitive, social and emotional - how can we describe it? how can we foster it?

3. The contribution of individual differences in learning through oral interaction (e.g. working memory, language aptitude, motivation, learning preferences)

4. The role of noticing, the place of corrective feedback, and of learner's output in language development.

5. Task based interaction - how does it work in foreign language settings?

View Jenefer's profile

I undertake research on testing language for specific purposes, the scope and definition of language constructs in particular contexts, speaking assessment, language assessment literacy, test users’ perspectives, and test impact.

More generally, I am interested in the nature of discourse communities and how newcomers gain access to them in terms of language. I study English in medical/healthcare contexts and in academic contexts.

My post at Lancaster University is the Trinity College London Lectureship in Language Testing and I am involved in research with Trinity College London.

View John's profile

Digital literacies and language learning; teaching English as an additional language; multilingualism in mainstream classrooms; multimodality; social semiotics; knowledge mobilization/transfer

View Diane's profile

For more information, including publications, please visit my website.

My research focuses on bilingual cognition, i.e. I am interested in how we acquire and process a second language. I am particularly interested in the implicit and explicit learning of languages. My work addresses questions such as the following: What role do individual differences play in language acquisition? How does explicit knowledge affect implicit learning? What is the role of frequency in language acquisition? How do we measure implicit and explicit knowledge? How are implicit and explicit knowledge represented in the mind and, ultimately, the brain?

View Patrick's profile

My research is concerned with the interaction between structured social relations, people’s goals and interests, and the part played by discursive patterns in sustaining or challenging these. I often use corpus-assisted approaches to discourse analysis, and work with researchers in other disciplines to explore the potential of these methods beyond applied linguistics.

I am the co-investigator on a project that is researching the discursive representation of animals ( This interest arises from a more general concern with the links between language use and social relationships and processes.

I am also collaborating with a political scientist on research into parliamentary language.

View Alison's profile

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.

View Mark's profile

My research interests are in health communication, medical humanities, stylistics, and metaphor theory and analysis. In my work I combine qualitative analysis with corpus linguistic methods.

Health communication/medical humanities: representations of autism and mental illness in fictional and non-fictional narratives; metaphor, cancer and the end of life; (figurative) language, creativity and chronic pain.

Stylistics: cognitive stylistics; corpus stylistics; mind style in fiction.

Metaphor theory and analysis: metaphor in literature, politics, science, health communication, end-of-life care; metaphor and embodied simulation; corpus approaches to the study of metaphor.

View Elena's profile

My research interests are Corpus Linguistics, Computational Linguistics, Sentiment & Stance Analysis, Social Media Text Analysis, and Financial Text Analysis.

View Vasiliki's profile

My research combines synchronic and diachronic approaches in cognitive linguistics and pragmatics. I am interested in diachronic phenomena of language change, such as grammaticalization, (inter-)subjectification, chunking, entrenchment, constructionalization and semasiology. My research is also focused on the corpus-based analysis of spontanous speech events and speech acts, especially in connection with Theory of Mind and intersubjectivity. In my work, I address the latter as:

• a stage of the ontogenetic development of the child (viz. his/her first language acquisition)

• a cognitively triggered stage of diachronic reanalysis of a linguistic construction

• an online form of cognitive awareness which can be operationally/textually observed during adults’ speech events.

Many aspects of my research are centered on Mandarin Chinese and other Sinitic languages addressed from a typological, cognitive and (intercultural-)pragmatic point of view. The domains of enquiry of my publications are:

  • grammatical-semantic-pragmatic approaches to evidentiality, epistemic-modality, tense-aspect, factuality (or factivity)
  • cognitive and pragmatic approaches to presuppositions, common ground, assertions and speech act theories
  • intercultural and diachronic analysis of (im-)politeness and face-work theory
  • usage-based analysis of reference and deixis


My methodology is mainly characterized by qualitative and quantitative corpus-based/driven models of analysis, R-based machine-learning modeling and data-manipulation techinques, questionnaire-design, typological as well as intercultural-pragmatic comparison, both from a diachronic and a synchronic perspective.

Current Teaching:

At the moment I convene the following modules:

CHIN200 Chinese Linguistics

CHIN201 Chinese Linguistics

CHIN300 Chinese Linguistics and translation

LING490 Cognitive Approaches to English Grammar (MA module)

View Vittorio's profile

Engagement with material texts, including digital texts, is one of the central ways in which the social world is co-ordinated, shaping people's identities and experiences as well as the social relations within which they are situated. I am interested in developing better understandings of these processes through detailed local studies of people's engagements with texts in specific settings, situating myself within literacy studies and linguistic ethnography. Most recently, these interests have led me to study workplace paperwork and vernacular learning online. Previously I have analysed the role of literacy practices in identity construction in a parish community, and worked in adult literacy research as part of a team exploring relationships between lives and learning.

View Karin's profile

I am currently interested in two main research areas:

  • Language and digitally mediated politics, and particualrly political resistance
  • Language policy and the politics of language

View Johann's profile

My research focuses on tense, mood and modality, pragmatic markers, indefinites and negation. It deals mainly with (West) Germanic but I also have a keen interest in Standard Average European and typology. My work can be situated in the fields of areal linguistics, contrastive linguistics, corpus linguistics, functional/cognitive linguistics and historical linguistics.

View Daniel's profile

My main research interests are in quantitative and mathematical linguistics and computer-assisted content analysis. My current research focusses mainly on applying mathematical models to the Celtic languages. I am also interested in non-verbal semiotics.

View Andrew's profile

Ruth's research interests focus on (Critical) Discourse Studies, specifically on the Discourse-Historical Approach (while emphasising aspects of the integration of text and context); (national/transnational/European) identity politics; (national/European) politics of the past (specifically related to World War II and the Holocaust); racism, antisemitism, and xenophobia; and the complex dimensions of right-wing populism and exclusionary rhetoric. In investigating these topics, she analyzes a range of written, verbal and visual genres in systematic detail. Recent book pulications are The Politics of Fear: What Right-wing Populist Discourses Mean. Sage 2015 ( and Methods of CDS (eds Ruth Wodak & Michael Meyer). Sage 2015 (3rd edition) (

View Ruth's profile