Research Seminars

Research seminars

Middle Class Acquisition

Robyn Orfitelli (University of Sheffield)

One of the most discussed puzzles in language acquisition is that children learning English (and a typologically diverse array of other languages) are delayed in acquiring adult comprehension of A(rgument)-movement structures like (1)-(2) until as late as 6 years old, but acquire others (3) early (cf. Orfitelli 2012 and references within). This discrepancy has inspired numerous explanations, including appeals to structural frequency (Demuth 1989), the non-canonical thematic alignment of passives (e.g. Fox and Grodzinsky 1998, Kirby 2009), and recently, intervention effects (Orfitelli 2012, Snyder and Hyams 2015), which suggest that structures like (1) violate locality restrictions on movement, making them impossible for young children to derive, while the sentences in (2) do not violate these restrictions.

(1) Amber was seen Amber by Graham. verbal passive

(2) Amber seems to Graham [to be Amber sleeping]. subject-to-subject raising

(3) Amber believes Graham [to be Graham lying]. subject-to-object raising

This paper presents data from three experimental studies on the acquisition of the Amovement involved in the middle voice (4), and a related structure with similar properties (5, cf Ahn and Sailor 2014). Both (4) and (5) are structurally ambiguous: the nominative subject may be interpreted as either the external argument (reading i) or internal argument (reading ii) of the predicate. The internal argument reading is of particular interest to an understanding of A-movement acquisition, as it presents a non-canonical thematic alignment, but does not violate locality restrictions on movement (Ackema and Schoorlemmer 2007, Ahn and Sailor 2014). Furthermore, the results of experiment 1, a CHILDES search of sentences like (4) and (5) in four British English corpora, reveals that the internal argument usage is even rarer in the input to children than verbal passives are.

(4) Kittens sell easily. middle

i. Kittens are excellent sales-cats

ii. Kittens are easy to sell.

(5) Mad scientists make great monsters. “make-middle”

i. Mad scientists create great monsters (a la Dr. Frankenstein).

ii. Mad scientists become great monsters (a la Dr. Jekyll).

10 linguistically naïve adults and 60 English-acquiring children (mean age 5.4 years) participated in two truth-value judgement tasks (Crain and McKee 1985) investigating comprehension of sentences similar to (4) and (5). In one scenario testing sentences like (5), a handsome prince enjoys sculpting, but has no talent (Picture 1). One day, he sculpted a horribly ugly frog (Picture 2). The wicked witch saw this, and turned him into a frog too, but the prince was so handsome he became a very handsome frog. Following the story, the TVJT puppet shows the child either Picture 2 or 3, and utters a test item. The condition of interest is “In this part of the story…the prince makes a handsome/ugly frog” which can be applied to either Picture 2 or 3 with different interpretations. The adjective ugly would be the adult-like adjective for Picture 2, in which the prince is the external argument of make, while handsome is the adult-like adjective for Picture 3, in which it is the internal argument.







Based on logistic regressions with accuracy as the dependent variable and age and condition as fixed effects, neither age nor condition was found to be a significant predictor for either study. These results indicate that both adults and children readily permit both interpretations of the sentence. Thus, children allow the nominative DP to begin as an internal argument, despite the non-canonical alignment of this interpretation, and its extreme rarity in child directed speech. Of the accounts considered here, only intervention – or the lack thereof – is consistent with the early comprehension of these structures, as compared to the late acquisition of verbal passives and subject-to-subject raising.


Ackema, P. & M. Schoorlemmer. 2007. 'Middles' In M. Everaert & H. van Riemsdijk (eds.) The Blackwell Companion to Syntax.. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 131-203.

Ahn, B. & C. Sailor. 2014. The emerging middle class. In Proceedings from the 46th Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society.

Crain, S., & McKee, C. (1985, October). The acquisition of structural restrictions on anaphora. In Proceedings of NELS (Vol. 15, pp. 94-110).

Demuth, K. (1989). Maturation and the acquisition of the Sesotho passive. Language, 56-80.

Fox, D. & Y. Grodzinsky. 1998. Children's passive: A view from the `by'-phrase. Linguistic Inquiry 29:311-332.

Kirby, S. (2010). Passives in first language acquisition: What causes the delay?. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics, 16(1), 13.

Orfitelli, R. M. (2012). Argument intervention in the acquisition of A-movement. Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Los Angeles.

Snyder, W. & N. Hyams. 2015. Minimality Effects in Children's Passives In Elisa Di Domenico, Cornelia Hamann, and Simona Matteini (eds.) Structures, Strategies and Beyond. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Hazel Price
Language and ‘the local’: How language indexes identity in an insular community

Emma Moore (University of Sheffield)

Discussions of language and place sometimes give the impression that the ‘local’ is a clearly defined and recognisable entity. However, as Eckert (2004:109) has noted, “the community is a contested entity that is differentially constructed in the practices and in the speech of different factions”. That is to say, different people experience ‘the local’ differently. This paper will explore precisely how life trajectory and gender interact to affect how individuals from the same small island community use language to index ‘local’.

My data comes from the Isles of Scilly, a group of islands off the south-west coast of England. I focus on the vowels in two pairs of lexical sets, one with quite clear ideological associations in English English (TRAP and BATH), and another which is regionally distinct, but less socially marked (MOUTH and PRICE). My data suggests that men define the envelope of variation for these vowels, and that this can be explained as a consequence of different educational experiences, which result in the construction of two oppositional Scillonian identity types. The women in the community show a smaller degree of variation and this can be explained as a consequence of reduced access to the range of linguistic markets available to men.

In the course of the analysis, I will question the assumption implicit in much sociolinguistic work that use of standard forms straightforwardly reflects orientation to norms external to the local community being studied (see, e.g. Labov 1963; Gal 1978; Holmquist 1985; Schilling-Estes 1998)). Furthermore, by focusing on a small, rural, island community, I’ll also demonstrate that the local is not even easily defined in communities which are often portrayed as linguistically conservative and homogeneous. Building on existing research from Schilling-Estes (2002), Smith and Durham (2011) and Burland (2017), I’ll show that what matters is not the size or type of communities we study, but the necessity for individuals to index distinct styles and identities within a particular social space.



Burland, Kate. 2017. Where Black Country meets “Black Barnsley”: Dialect variation and identity in an ex-mining community of Barnsley. In Chris Montgomery & Emma Moore (eds.), Language and a Sense of Place. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Eckert, Penelope. 2004. Variation and a sense of place. In Carmen Fought (ed.), Sociolinguistic Variation: Critical Reflections, 107–120. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gal, Susan. 1978. Peasant men can’t get wives: Language change and sex roles in a bilingual community. Language in Society 7. 1–16.

Holmquist, Jonathan C. 1985. Social correlates of a linguistic variable: A study in a Spanish village. Language in Society 14. 191–203.

Labov, William. 1963. The social motivation of a sound change. Word 19. 273–309.

Schilling-Estes, Natalie. 1998. Investigating “self-conscious” speech: The performance register in Ocracoke English. Language in Society 27. 53–83.

Schilling-Estes, Natalie. 2002. On the nature of isolated and post-isolated dialects: Innovation, variation and differentiation. Journal of Sociolinguistics 6(1). 64–85.

Smith, Jennifer & Mercedes Durham. 2011. A tipping point in dialect obsolescence? Change across the generations in Lerwick, Shetland. Journal of Sociolinguistics 15(2). 197–225.

Hazel Price
Hansard: A Multimedia Introduction to Parliamentary Reporting

John Vice (Editor of Debates, Lords Hansard)

The talk will assume interest in but not much knowledge about Hansard and will focus on the challenges of transforming spoken to written English, by looking at three problem areas: Members who use props in their speeches, Members who swear and other kinds of interruptions. John will be open to questions related to his work in recording the proceedings of the House of Lords, from any perspective (i.e. not just linguistic).

Hazel Price
Attributing Short Texts

Jack Grieve (University of Birmingham)

Short texts are a common problem in authorship analysis, in forensic, historical, and literary contexts. The basic issue for stylometric methods in particular, where texts are attributed based on a quantitative analysis, is that short texts do not provide a large enough sample to allow for reliable estimates of the relative frequencies of most linguistic features to be made. For example, a text containing 100 words will generally lack many common function words, but we certainly cannot assume that this is true of the author’s writings more generally. Consequently, stylometric methods are usually intended to be used on relatively long texts of at least 500 or 1,000 words. Many anonymous texts, however, are far shorter. To address this issue, we have developed a new quantitative approach for attributing short texts known as n-gram tracing. In this presentation, I will introduce the method, evaluate its general applicability, and apply it to a famous historical case of disputed authorship -- the Bixby Letter, a 139-word letter thought to have been written by either Abraham Lincoln, to whom it is usually attributed, or his personal secretary John Hay.

Hazel Price
Language in first-person accounts of schizophrenia: From mind style to clinical relevance

Elena Semino (Lancaster University)

In this talk I apply the analytical approach associated, in Stylistics, with the notion of ‘mind style’ to an autobiographical narrative and a series of interviews involving people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. I suggest that the systematic analysis of distinctive patterns in the use of pronouns, speech presentation, narrative structure and metaphor can reveal aspects of the mental functioning and lived experience of people with schizophrenia which have potential implications for diagnosis and treatment.

The research presented in this talk has been carried out in collaboration with Zsófia Demjén and Agnes Marszalek (University College London), and Filippo Varese (University of Manchester).


Hazel Price
Processing human gender and grammatical gender in coreference

Lauren Ackerman (Newcastle University)

What knowledge is accessed and checked during gendered coreference dependency formation? English encodes some kind of information about gender in pronouns and names, and coreference dependency formation relies on antecedent gender of “matching" that of the anaphor. However, human gender is not binary, and nonconforming genders are increasing in visibility. I investigate whether nonstandard coreference dependencies are processed differentially across the population. I find higher acceptability of these dependencies among people with regular contact with transgender/nonbinary communities, particularly younger speakers. This suggests experience with gender variation influences speakers’ mental representations of gender and these nuanced representations are what is accessed during gendered coreference dependency formation. Based on this, I speculate how gender might be encoded in a way that unites general cognitive processing of human gender with formal syntactic theories.

Hazel Price
Discovery procedures for sound structure

Aleksei Nazarov (University of Huddersfield)

Some aspects of phonological encoding (like phonological features, rule ordering, stress, and exceptionality) cannot be established from phonetics alone and must instead be inferred by the learner. This talk will illustrate the use of computers to simulate the acquisition of these aspects through discovery procedures (Harris 1946). I will particularly focus on the problem of finding words that are exceptions to a sound rule when the sound rule itself produces variation. The existing Optimality Theory literature can find exceptions (Pater 2010, Becker 2009, Coetzee 2009) or deal with variation (Boersma 1998, Goldwater & Johnson 2003, Coetzee & Pater 2011, Jarosz 2006, 2015) but not both. I propose to make the discovery procedure from Pater (2010) compatible with models that can handle variation. Essentially, I hypothesize that a word is marked as an exception when two different phonological constraints (for instance *[Vowel-Stop] and Faithful) have a ranking tendency for that word (e.g., tendency towards *[Vowel-Stop] >> Faithful) that is opposite to the ranking tendency for the entire lexicon (e.g., tendency towards Faithful >> *[Vowel-Stop]). I will show on the basis of simulations with data from Modern Hebrew that this proposal can indeed learn exceptionality in the face of variability.

Hazel Price
Syllables, segments and speech tempo perception

Leendert Plug (University of Leeds)

Speech tempo is a fundamental parameter in speech analysis. Tempo fluctuations are of interest to researchers studying speech production, speech perception and verbal interaction. Inter-speaker variation in habitual tempo is relevant for forensic speaker profiling, and speech recognition and synthesis systems require tempo models to process input variation and produce natural-sounding output. Speech tempo also informs fluency measures and language learner assessments, and various speech, language and other disorders are associated with atypical tempo patterns. The research I will report on in this talk is motivated by our limited grasp on this fundamental parameter -- in particular, our limited understanding of how speech tempo is perceived by ordinary listeners, and how commonly used methods of measuring tempo reflect this perception. I will present results of initial experiments probing the impact of phonological complexity on speech tempo perception -- complexity which results in tempo measurements in syllables per second diverging from measurements in segments per second. I will describe ongoing experiments into the relationship between rhythm and tempo perception, and outline plans for investigation the extent to which segment deletions are taken into account in tempo estimation: in essence, when listeners hear [sport] meaning 'support', do they estimate its tempo on the observation that the speaker is articulating a one-syllable form, or on the understanding that the speaker is communicating a two-syllable one?


Hazel Price
“It’s definitely not Urdu”: why we need a (phonological) description of the Mirpur Pahari language

Sam Hellmuth (University of York)

Mirpur Pahari (or ‘Mirpuri’) is a dialect of the Pahari/Pothwari language, spoken in north-west Pakistan and in the UK. It is an Indo-Aryan language in the Western Punjabi branch and has no written form (Stow, Pert, & Khattab, 2012).

There are an estimated half a million Mirpuri speakers living in the UK, who have migrated from the Mirpur district of Azad Kashmir, starting in the 1960s but continuing to the present day. By some estimates, up to half of the total population of Mirpuri speakers live in the UK (Lothers & Lothers, 2012). There are a number of related Pahari dialects, but limited research on the phonology of any of them, and Pahari is under-represented in research on UK minority languages (Hussain, 2015).

This talk presents preliminary results from two studies carried out with English-Mirpuri bilinguals in the UK. First, we show how a study of the pronunciation of English words borrowed into Mirpuri can be used to confirm details of our working description of the phonology of Mirpuri, including its phoneme inventory, syllable structure and stress patterns (Shafi & Hellmuth, 2017). Secondly, we highlight the need for re-calibration of standardised English tests for use with bilingual speakers, in a pilot study exploring language transfer effects on scores obtained by English-Mirpuri bilinguals in a clinical test of expressive prosody (Fawcett & Hellmuth, 2017). Overall, the aim is to demonstrate the potential benefits to be gained from further study of the multilingual competencies of Mirpuri speakers in the UK, and the need for description and documentation of the Mirpuri language itself. 


Fawcett, S. & Hellmuth, S. (2017). Distinguishing diversity from disorder in English-Mirpuri bilinguals' PEPS-C scores. Ms., University of York.

Hussain, S. (2015). Missing from the 'minority mainstream': Pahari-speaking diaspora in Britain. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 36, 483-497.

Lothers, M. & Lothers, L. (2012). Mirpuri immigrants in England: A sociolinguistic survey. SIL Electronic Survey Report, 12.

Shafi, S. & Hellmuth, S. (2017). Variable adaptation of stress placement in English loanwords in Mirpur Pahari. Ms., University of York.

Stow, C., Pert, S., & Khattab, G. (2012). Translation to practice: Sociolinguistic and cultural considerations when working with the Pakistani heritage community in England, UK. Multilingual Aspects of Speech Sound Disorders in Children, 6, 24.

Hazel Price
Language revitalisation: Linguistic creativity and innovation in Scottish Gaelic

Claire Nance (Lancaster University)

This paper will examine the social and linguistic outcome of the programme to revitalise Gaelic in Scotland. Several decades of concerted effort have led to a context where Gaelic is recognised as equal to English in Scottish legislation, but the language is still subject to intense negative feeling by a vocal minority of the population and suffers declining speaker numbers. Young people in Scotland can now complete their entire education from pre-school to degree level through the medium of Gaelic, yet Gaelic is now rarely used as a social language among younger generations.

I will discuss the impact of these social developments on Gaelic, concentrating on new communities of speakers in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Traditionally, Gaelic has only been spoken in urban central Scotland by migrants from the Highlands and Islands, but recent initiatives associated with revitalisation have created significant numbers of both adult second language speakers and young people acquiring Gaelic in immersion education. I will examine the linguistic behaviour of such individuals focussing on phonetics and phonology. Specifically, I demonstrate that distinct, lowland varieties of Gaelic are emerging through analysis of laterals, intonation, vowels and rhotic consonants.

In the discussion, I examine whether we can consider these developments for Gaelic as ‘new dialects’ of a minority revitalised language. I also offer some implications of the research for future policy and language planning.

Hazel Price
Research Seminars 2017-2018 - Term 1 Schedule

The Linguistics Research Seminar Series offers you the chance to hear about the latest research developments in Linguistics and Modern Languages. Seminars last around an hour and are open to anyone interested.

For more information about the seminars, please contact Hazel Price



Dr Claire Nance (Lancaster University)

Dr Sam Hellmuth (University of York)


Dr Leendert Plug (University of Leeds)


Dr Aleksei Nazarov (University of Huddersfield)


Dr Lauren Ackerman (Newcastle University)


Prof. Elena Semino (Lancaster University)


Prof. Jack Grieve (University of Birmingham)




John Vice (Editor of Debates of House of Lords)


Dr Emma Moore (University of Sheffield)



Dr Robyn Orfitelli University of Sheffield)

Hazel Price
The beginning of ‘the Age of Austerity’: A critical stylistics analysis of Cameron’s 2009 spring conference speech.


Austerity has strong connections with 1940s and 1950s Britain, when the consumption of food and clothing and other goods was regulated and reduced via rationing and controls on pricing. Seventy years on from the end of war, the sense that everyone was suffering together and that it was for a ‘greater good’ (i.e. winning the war against Hitler, and then rebuilding Britain) remains strong in the cultural memory of UK citizens over 50. Cameron attempted to evoke those days of national unity by using, and reusing, the word austerity during the build-up to the 2009 general election.

Significant power can be wielded in political discourse by word-forms, which may connote a whole complex of meaning subtly different from the everyday usage of the same word and work as a kind of shorthand for a whole ideological stance. Cameron’s use of austerity as a vague evocation of 1940s/50s Britain with everyone pulling together meant that those trying to discredit public spending cuts as a solution to the financial crisis found they had to argue against an essentially unclear idea of what it is that is being discredited (i.e. austerity).

This paper presents a critical stylistic analysis the first of Cameron’s speeches to mention austerity, given April 26, 2009 at the Conservative Party spring conference, and discusses Cameron’s presentation of the UK economic landscape and his proposal for ‘balancing the books’, which in fact meant the permanent shrinking of public services. The paper will outline the methodology for the systematic analysis of this fairly large text, report on linguistic patterns in the data, and finish by drawing conclusions about the status of austerity as a socio-political keyword.

Hazel Price
Problems and Solutions: the inadequate female body in cosmetics advertising

Helen Ringrow (University of Portsmouth)

Many contemporary (cosmetics) advertisements display a discursive structure commonly known as the Problem-Solution pattern (Hoey 1983; 2001). In female-targeted media discourse, this pattern takes as its basic ideological starting point that the female body is inadequate and products can provide solutions to these shortcomings. This ‘self-improvement’ often involves an attempt to disguise or delay the visual signifiers of ageing, which are conceptualised as fundamentally negative. This paper will consider how language is used to create this idea of ‘self-improvement’ through analysis of a corpus of recent English and French beauty advertisements. The paper offers an adaptation of Hoey’s (1983; 2001) Problem-Solution model for specific application to cosmetics advertising discourse (from Ringrow 2016). The Problem-Solution pattern is used in beauty advertising to equate femininity with the continual pursuit of the young, ideal body.



Hoey, M. (1983) On the Surface of Discourse. London: Allen and Unwin.

Hoey, M. (2001) Textual Interaction: an introduction to written discourse analysis.

London: Routledge.

Ringrow, H. (2016) The Language of Cosmetics Advertising. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hazel Price
Structuring response: Greek etsi in pursuing a response.

Angeliki Balantani (University of Essex)

This conversation-analytic study examines one of the practices that Greek interlocutors use in mobilizing a response from their interlocutors. Stivers & Rossano (2012) have examined the various resources that English interlocutors have to mobilize a response, such as interrogative morphosyntax, interrogative intonation, epistemic expertise on the topic and speaker gaze. Using a corpus of video- and audio-recordings of naturally occurring talk, I address the use of the Greek token etsi as a mobilizing strategy in interaction.

I shall investigate the Greek token etsi in two contexts: in the form ‘assertion + etsi den ine’ as a tag question in the course of developing a line of argument, and in the form etsi with interrogative prosody at TRPs, showing how they are differentially implicated in courses of action.

The analysis presented here, reporting on a part of a larger study on information receipts in Greek everyday interactions, aims to extend the cross-linguistic scope of studies on response-mobilizing features of turn-design and to contribute to the still developing body of literature on pursuit tokens.


Schegloff, E. A. (1980). Preliminaries to Preliminaries: “Can I Ask You a Question?”. Sociological Inquiry, 50(3-4), 104-152.

Stivers, T. & Rossano, F. (2012). Mobilizing Response in Interaction: A Compositional View of Questions. In J.-P. Ruiter (Ed.) Questions: Formal, Functional and Interactional Perspectives (pp. 58-80). Cambridge: CUP.



Hazel Price
‘I know it is wright but I still don't like it’: Exploring children’s writing with the APU Corpus (1979-1988)

Victorina González-Díaz (University of Liverpool)

In educational linguistics, corpus-based research on children’s writing has been spearheaded by Biber and associates in America since the early 1990s (Reppen 1994, 2004; Biber et al. 2002). In the UK, however, the availability of corpora for such investigations is still very limited (cf. The Lancaster Corpus of Children’s Writing; The Oxford Children’s Corpus of Reading and Writing; see also Sealey and Thompson 2004, 2006).

The focus of this paper is twofold. Firstly, it will introduce the contents and the structure of the APU Writing and Reading Corpus 1979-1988; the first historical corpus of schoolchildren’s materials Secondly, it will showcase the potential of the corpus for genre-based teaching and research. The case-study will focus on argumentative writing across children’s levels of attainment.


Biber, Douglas, Randi Reppen & Susan Conrad. 2002. Developing linguistic literacy: perspectives from corpus linguistics and multi-dimensional analysis. Journal of Child Language 29(2): 458-62.

Reppen, Randi. 1994. Variation in elementary student language: A multidimensional perspective. PhD dissertation, Northern Arizona University. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.

Reppen, Randi. 2004. Academic language: an exploration of university classroom and textbook language. In Ulla Connor & Thomas A. Upton (eds.), Discourse in the professions, 65-86. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Sealey, Alison & Paul Thompson. 2004. 'What do you call the dull words?' Primary school children using corpus based approaches to learn about language. English in Education 38(1), 80-91.

Sealey, Alison & Paul Thompson. 2006. 'Nice things get said': Corpus evidence and the National Literacy Strategy. Literacy 40(1), 22-8.


Hazel Price
The representation of ADHD in psychiatric institutional discourse and the social construction of sufferers' identity: DSM-V as a case study.

Sarah Vilar Lluch (University of East Anglia) 

This research analyses how psychiatric institutional discourse shapes Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) in order to understand how this discourse (1) has an active role in modelling a canonical representation of the illness, and (2) contributes to the social formation of an identity for the diagnosed individuals. Attention is paid to any evidence of stigmatization in the data. The investigation is performed through a qualitative data-driven critical discourse analysis (CDA) of the ADHD chapter of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition (DSM-V) (APA:2013). The data analysed sums a total of 2622 words. DSM-V was selected as source of data for its international authority and application (Horwitz, 2011; Horwitz & Wakefield, 2006). Halliday and Matthiessen (2004) Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) is adopted as methodological framework, complemented by Jeffries (2010) text-based analytical toolkit, grounded in SFL. The analysis is mainly focused in the study of the analytical metafunction and is developed in three analytical axes or complementary studies, each one articulated around one of the major participants in the diagnostic process: (A) ADHD, (B) the patient, (C) the clinician. ADHD is taken into consideration as object of discourse, the study does not intend to question the ontology of ADHD nor to undervalue the psychiatric discourse. Discourse is understood in the Foucauldian terms, as the socially constructed representation of reality, legitimized and spread through the institutions, that defines what can be known and the different possible positions subjects can occupy (Foucault, 1969:73), adopted in CDA tradition by Fairclough (1989). The results show that the prototypical ADHD target is identified with a querulous elementary school-aged white boy. ADHD is defined by its symptoms and established as perilous in virtue of its associated consequences. Insufficient attention and excessive movement or talk are graded according to standards ultimately founded on social desirability. DSM-V not only provides the orthodox description of all categorized mental disorders, it also establishes the standards all individuals have to meet to be sane.


American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association.

Halliday, M. A. K., & Matthiessen, Christian M. I. M. (2004). An introduction to functional grammar (3rd ed.). London: Arnold.

Horwitz, A. V. (2011). Naming the problem that has no name: creating targets for standardized drugs. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences42(4), 427-433.

Horwitz, A. V., & Wakefield, J. C. (2006). The epidemic in mental illness: clinical fact or survey artifact?. Contexts5(1), 19-23.

Jeffries, L. (2010). Critical stylistics: The power of english. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Foucault, M. (1969). L’archéologie du savoir. Paris: Gallimard. 

Fairclough, N. (1989). Language and power. London: Longman.

Hazel Price
A ‘half-remembered quality’: Experiencing narratorial disorientation in The Goldfinch.



This paper applies cognitive linguistic approaches, and in particular Cognitive Grammar, for literary linguistic analysis. It analyses how The Goldfinch complicates the experience of ‘narrative urgency’ (Simpson 2013) in a pivotal scene in the novel, and accounts for how readers nevertheless become ‘gripped’ by this particular passage. The analysis observes that ‘spatial immersion’ (Ryan 2001) plays a key role in the sense of disorientation created by the scene, but that the text simultaneously, contradictorily, displays style features that heighten the pace of the narration. Finally, this study argues that the stylistic profile of this scene creates a cinematic experience for readers that renders this passage particularly memorable and immersive. 

Hazel Price
Using smartphones to collect big data on English dialects

Wednesday 15th February 2017

 Adrian Leemann (Lancaster University)

What do you call an animal that carries its house on its back – hoddy-doddy, dod-man, or snail? Do you think these terms have changed over the past decades? We set out to collect data to analyze how English dialects have evolved using 21st century methods. We developed the app English Dialects (, a free iOS and Android app that asks users to self-report usage of a number of linguistic variables – such as the example above – and then tells them where they are from based on their dialects. The app further allows users to record their speech by reading out loud ‘The boy who cried wolf’ passage. This new approach is currently producing a large volume of dialect data (more than 40,000 people have participated) and thus a more comprehensive atlas of English dialects than any since the ‘Survey of English Dialects’. In this talk I will present first results on language change and discuss broader implications for language variation and change as well for forensic phonetics.

Hazel Price
'Riots Engulfed the City': An experimental approach to the legitimating functions of fire metaphors in discourses of disorder


Christopher Hart (Lancaster University) 

Much has been made of the ideological and legitimating functions of metaphor in critical discourse analysis.  Recently, however, the extent to which metaphors in discourse genuinely activate a different (source-) frame and, therefore, the extent to which metaphors in discourse achieve framing effects, has been called into question.  In this paper, starting from a qualitative analysis of observed discourse data, I report a recent experiment testing the legitimating effects of FIRE metaphors in discourses of disorder.   Specifically, due to associations with WATER in the FIRE frame, I tested whether this metaphor affected legitimacy ratings for police use of water canon in response to public disorder.  Results suggest a significant effect.  The presence of fire in literal images of protest and metaphorically invoked mental imagery have similar effects in facilitating support for police use of water canon. These results lend weight to claims made in critical metaphor analysis as well as to simulation theories of metaphor more generally.

Hazel Price