If you are looking for inspiration for a PhD topic in English, here’s what our current PhD students are up to.
In a recent round table discussion, our current PhD students discussed with each other their doctoral projects. I was impressed both by the fascinating topics and novel approaches but also by the interesting questions our students asked each other.
Here are the topics of some of our current research candidates in language, linguistics and literature:
‘Kick the bucket‘
How can you teach English idioms to learners of English as a foreign language? Salim proposes that this should be done through the medium of learners’ home culture.
Do you say ‘napkin’ or ‘serviette’?
Narmina is looking at the factors that affect choices between synonyms.
‘This government is a parasite‘
Are some metaphors easier to understand than others? Ramona explores the (different) systems through which we process metaphors, employing Relevance Theory.
Neoliberalism promises meritocracy, upward social mobility, and individual freedoms. Surely it’s a good thing, then!
Tatjana explores the subversion and containment of neoliberal ideology in Black British fiction from the 80s to present day.
Do you change the way you speak when addressing ‘foreigners’?
Kyu looks at how speakers adjust their language when they understand their interlocutor as a member of the same or a different culture, employing approaches from pragmatics.
‘If you spoil Star Wars for me, I will Imperial March my way over to you.’
Do we employ semantic or pragmatics processes to understand ‘imperial march’ in this tweet? Benoit argues that Construction Grammar and Relevance Theory are in fact complementary perspectives and help us understand the semantics-pragmatic interface.
We are kicking off this year’s events of the Language and Communication Research Cluster with a 4-week intensive course on Relevance Theory, an influential theory of communication and cognition, starting on Monday the 10th of October at 3pm.
The course consists of four two-hour sessions over four weeks and will explore key notions of relevance theory and ways of testing and developing the theory. It will be particularly useful for early career researchers and graduate research students.
The sessions will be run by Billy Clark, Associate Professor in English Language and Linguistics, Media Department.
The course is free and open to all.
Please note: sessions are not always in the same room. Rooms are: