Research news: Spring-Summer 2015

Here's our semi-annual summary of research activity among our group. As you can see, we've been busy!

Among the staff:

(in reverse alphabetical order)
Charlotte Taylor's article Beyond sarcasm: The metalanguage and structures of mock politeness has been published in the Journal of Pragmatics. She has also presented her work on impoliteness at two conferences this summer: Mock politeness & culture: Perceptions & practice at the Im/Politeness Conference 2015 (1-3 July, Athens), and Why are women so bitchy? Mock politeness & gender at Corpus Linguistics 2015 (20-24 July, Lancaster). In early September, she and colleagues introduced the Discourse Keywords of Migration project at a research meeting at Université Paris Descartes, where Charlotte talked about the keywords integration, multicultural, and community. She has also written a piece for The Conversation: Migrant or refugee? Why it matters which word you choose.

Justyna Robinson has started work with the Linguistic DNA project, speaking about it at the European Network for E-Lexicography in August (with Iona Hine, Sheffield) and organising a methodology training workshop at Sussex in September. In September she also presented a paper on Semantic Change across the Lifespan at the 10th UK Language Variation and Change conference at York. Justyna continues to be Associate Editor for English Today and has helped see three issues to press since our last update.

Roberta Piazza and her co-editors Louann Haarman (Bologna) and Anne Caborn (The Content Lab) have a new book: Values and Choices in Television Discourse: A View from Both Sides of the Screen. This includes a chapter by Roberta: The representation of travellers in television documentaries: dispelling stigma while dealing with infotainment demands. The book also contains interviews with Jon Snow, Cathy Newman and other television insiders. Roberta presented Nomadic people in British TV documentaries: between factual entertainment and journalistic investigation at the panel on Telecinematic discourse at the International Pragmatics Association conference (Antwerp, July) and When cinema borrows from stage: theatrical artifice through explicitness in The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover and Dogville at the Poetics and Linguistics Association conference (Canterbury, July). She also presented her work on women travellers at the School of Education in spring, and worked with the Higher Education Internationalisation and Mobility ROMA project in summer.

Lynne Murphy has won two grants to support her work on British and American English. The National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Program grant will support her writing a popular audience book (tentatively called How America saved the English language) in 2016-17, and a Leverhulme/British Academy small grant will support trips to dictionary archives in Oxford and the US to research American and British dictionary cultures. In July, Lynne presented Separated by a common politeness marker: please in American and British English at the International Pragmatics Association conference (Antwerp) and with Rachele De Felice (UCL) she presented The politics of please in British and American English: a corpus pragmatics approach at Corpus Linguistics 2015 (Lancaster). She also gave talks at De Montfort University, the Bedford Culture Club (Horsham), and Sunday Assembly Brighton, had articles published in The Skeptic and Lingo magazines, and was the featured speaker on an Odditorium podcast about the word the. Her paper with Steven Jones (Manchester) and Anu Koskela (De Montfort), Signals of contrastiveness: but, oppositeness and formal similarity in parallel contexts has been published in the Journal of English Linguistics.

Melanie Green continues to work on her British Academy-funded project to develop a corpus of spoken Cameroon Pidgin English. As part of the project, she has hosted Miriam Ayafor (University of Yaoundé I) at Sussex for training and project planning and supervised a Junior Research Associate (see below) project on part-of-speech tagging for the corpus. About half the data for the corpus is now recorded and transcribed. Melanie and her co-investigators Gabriel Ozón (Sheffield) and Miriam Ayafor presented a paper about the project at the ICAME conference in Trier in May. 


Lynne Cahill organised our extremely successful conference for A-level teachers in English Language in June. She has accepted invitations to serve on the executive board of the Association for Written Language and Literacy and the editorial board of the Journal of Written Language and Literacy.

Student research

We congratulate Imed Louhichi (left) who received his PhD at the summer graduation. Imed's thesis was Thinking-for-speaking in second language acquisition: a contrastive study of motion events in English and Tunisian Arabic, supervised by Lynne Murphy and Jules Winchester (Sussex Centre for Language Study).

PhD student Margarita Yagudaeva presented her work on the Semantic Stability of English Idioms at the 10th Newcastle-upon-Tyne Postgraduate Conference in Linguistics (March), the Biennial Conference on the Diachrony of English at Troyes, France (July), and at EUROPHRAS 2015 in Malaga, Spain (June).

PhD student Alexandra Reynolds has published Emotions et apprentissage de l'anglais dans l’enseignement supérieur: une approche visuelle in Voix Plurielles (Quebec). She has also recently presented two conference papers:‘To be good at science you need to be good at English’: A study of language attitudes in French higher education at the conference on Le plurilinguisme, le pluriculturalisme et l’anglais dans lamondialisation in Angers, and The impact of language policy on higher education in France at the iMean conference at Warwick University.

Undergraduate Sarah FitzGerald (right) received the Junior Research Associate fellowship this past summer. Her project was to work with Melanie Green toward developing part-of-speech tagging for the Corpus of Spoken Cameroon Pidgin English. Sarah presented her work at the JRA conference on 2 October and has since been hired on as a research assistant on the corpus project.

PhD student Barzan Ali presented a poster on Exploring the linear order principle: evidence from Farsi-English code switching at the 4th Barcelona Summer School on Bilingualism and Multilingualism at Pompeu Fabra University.

PhD student Rukayah Alhedayani presented her work Investigating antonymy in an Arabic corpus at the Forum for Arabic Linguistics at Essex in July. 


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