Accepting PhD Students

    PhD projects

    Prospective doctoral researchers are welcome to contact me to discuss proposed projects in spoken corpus construction, applied corpus linguistics and corpus-assisted discourse studies.

    Personal profile

    Contact Details

    Office: NW914A



    Twitter: @lovermob


    I am a Lecturer in English Language at Aston University. I work in the Department of English, Languages and Applied Linguistics (ELAL) in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities.

    I am a researcher and educator in English language and linguistics, working in the areas of corpus linguistics, applied linguistics and discourse analysis. I am a corpus linguist, specialising in contemporary spoken discourse, and I advocate for the application of corpus approaches to address societal challenges.

    I am a member of the Aston Centre for Applied Linguistics (ACAL), within which I am Co-Director of the Aston Corpus Linguistics Research Group and host of the Aston Originals CorpusCast podcast, and I am a member of the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL).

    Before joining Aston, I held research positions at Cambridge University Press & Assessment and the University of Leeds. I completed my BA (Hons), MA and PhD degrees at Lancaster University where, as a member of the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science, I was lead researcher on the design and construction of the Spoken British National Corpus 2014.

    Research Interests

    My research draws upon methods from corpus linguistics, applied linguistics and (critical) discourse analysis.

    Variation and change in contemporary spoken British English

    • short-term diachronic language variation
    • corpus-based sociolinguistics
    • swearing in casual conversation
    • variation in lexis and grammar

    Applied (corpus) linguistics

    • commercial language research
    • forensic linguistics
    • language in education
    • language teaching materials development
    • news discourse
    • strategic communications

    Methods in corpus linguistics

    • spoken corpus design and construction
    • methods for the analysis of spoken corpora
    • manual and automated transcription
    • critical corpus evaluation

    Teaching Activity

    As of 2023-24, I convene the following modules:

    • LE3133 Corpus Linguistics
    • LEM136 Variation and Change in English


    • LE1104 Practical Applications of Language Description
    • LE2101 Crime Fiction
    • LE2120 Language in the News Media
    • LE2118 Advanced Topics in Sociolinguistics
    • LE3115 Multimodal Analysis
    • LE3120 English Dissertation
    • LE3123 Digital Approaches to Analysing Texts
    • LEM100 Analysing Discourse
    • LEM133 Multimodal Analysis (MA TESOL)


    • 2021-: Co-Director (prev. Director), Aston Corpus Linguistics Research Group, Aston University
    • 2022-24: Director of Undergraduate English Language, English Literature and TESOL Programmes, Aston University
    • 2020-24: Academic Offences Officer, College of Business and Social Sciences, Aston University

    PhD Supervision

    Current PhD supervision

    Aston University:

    • Lily Calloway: Designing a methodology for the analysis of short-form messages in encouraged suicide cases using appraisal theory (Associate supervisor)
    • Polina Gavin: A cognitive poetic account of ekphrasis in fiction (Associate supervisor)
    • Caroline Godfrey: A genealogy of metaphors for the English curriculum: exploring the ontology of subject English (Associate supervisor)
    • Chris Walker: Investigating the use of stylistics to improve engagement and attainment in poetry in KS3 English students (Associate supervisor)

    External supervision:

    • Darren Perrett (University of Leeds): The criterial features of the Cambridge Assessment English reading item bank (Associate supervisor)
    • Hadjar Hadj-Abdelkader (University of Limerick): Teaching English for Military Purposes within the Algerian EMI context (Associate supervisor)
    • Ikram Messaoudi (University of Limerick): Investigating students’ difficulties in writing their thesis and the role of supervisor feedback: the case of Algerian university Master’s students (Associate supervisor)

    Professional/editorial offices

    2022-present: Board of Referees, Research in Corpus Linguistics.

    2021-2023: Associate Editor, Humanities & Social Sciences Communications.

    Funding Applications and Awards

    • 2023-2024: Principal Investigator, College of Business and Social Sciences Learning and Teaching Project Fund, ‘English assessment and generative AI: opportunities, risks and perceptions’ (£2,150), Aston University.
    • 2023: Co-Investigator, Crown Prosecution Service, ‘Corpus Linguistic Analysis of Ethnic Disproportionality in Prosecution Case Files’ (£55,192), Aston University.
    • 2022: Principal Investigator, Aston Research & Knowledge Exchange Pump Priming Fund. 'Engaging the public: local government organisations' communications during the Covid-19 pandemic' (£10,453.80), Aston University.
    • 2021-2022: Principal Investigator, Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL) Seed-corn and network funds programme. 'Evaluating human and automated transcripts of speech recordings: implications for forensic linguistics' (£6,000), Aston University.
    • 2021: Lead organiser. BAAL/Cambridge University Press seminar. 'Corpora in Applied Linguistics: Broadening the Agenda' (£1,500), Aston University.
    • 2019: Principal Investigator, National Trust commissioned research contract, 'The changing nature of language' (£3,500).
    • 2018: Visiting Research Fellow, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Post-doctoral Fellowship (Short-Term). 'Updating AntConc for spoken and educational language data' (£8,363).


    Since joining Aston, I have been nominated for and won several staff and student-led teaching awards:


    • Winner of Aston University College of Business and Social Sciences Staff Award for Excellence in Public Engagement


    • Winner of Aston Students’ Union Academic Award for Research or Dissertation Supervisor
    • Shortlisted for Aston Students’ Union Academic Award for Teaching – Engagement


    • Shortlisted for Aston University Achievement Award for Best Newcomer
    • Winner of Aston University College of Business and Social Sciences Staff Award for Best Newcomer
    • Shortlisted for Aston Students’ Union Academic Award for Teaching – Engagement
    • Shortlisted for Aston Students’ Union Academic Award for Online Learning

    Membership of Professional Bodies

    I sit on the committee of the BAAL Corpus Linguistics Special Interest Group as Communications Officer, and I am a former member of the BAAL Executive Committee (2021-2023).

    I am also a member of the UKRI Early Career Researcher Forum and the British Academy Early Career Research Network.

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
    • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

    Education/Academic qualification

    Professional Certificate in AI for Learning


    FHEA, Advance HE


    PhD, Lancaster University


    MA, Lancaster University


    BA, Lancaster University


    External positions

    Language Coordinator (English), International Comparable Corpus

    Jan 2024 → …

    Advisory Board Member, IVACS Research Centre

    2022 → …

    Ordinary Member, BAAL Executive Committee

    Sept 2021Aug 2023

    Communications Officer, BAAL Corpus Linguistics SIG

    Jan 2021 → …

    PhD supervisor, University of Limerick

    Jan 2021 → …

    PhD supervisor, University of Leeds

    Mar 2020 → …


    • PE English
    • Corpus Linguistics
    • spoken grammar
    • spoken discourse
    • discourse analysis
    • language change
    • spoken English
    • LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
    • H Social Sciences (General)


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