Accepting PhD Students


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    Personal profile

    Research interests

    Most of my work to date belongs to the field of English historical linguistics and has been concerned with variation and change in late medieval and early modern English. My 2018 monograph is concerned with the relationship between speech and writing in the early modern English period. It is interdisciplinary, combining a replicable scribal profiling technique, used to identify holograph and scribal handwriting within a set of sixteenth century manuscript letters, with linguistic analyses of the language they contain. Furthermore, by adopting a discourse-analytic approach to linguistic features present in the manuscript letters (specifically discourse connectives, vocatives and lexical bundles) and making reference to the socio-historical context of language use, the book provides an alternative perspective to the one often presented in traditional historical accounts of English.

    My broad and cross-disciplinary research interests are demonstrated by the fact that I have also published on linguistic borrowing from French into English during the Middle English period, the interface between historical semantics and lexicography, and the socio-pragmatics of gender, power and stance in sixteenth-century English letters, evidenced by the use of self-reference forms, namely pronominals and nominal categories.

    I have recently been investigating the use of written language on digital platforms within a historical linguistic context. I am interested in the relationship between language and technology, specifically how studying the textual and linguistic practices of the past can improve our understanding of present-day digital language practices. My research frequently utilizes corpora and adopts corpus-based methods, and often combines quantitative, corpus linguistic techniques, such as keyword analysis and collocational analysis, with fine grained qualitative, close reading techniques.

    PhD supervision

    I would welcome proposal from doctoral students on the following areas:

    English historical linguistics (especially discourse-based, sociolinguistic, historical pragmatic and corpus-based approaches).

    The relationship between speech and writing. 

    Digital language practices/digital linguistics.

    Forensic linguistics, e.g. linguistic profiling or the history of legal language.


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