Advanced Research Residency in SFL

The Linguistics in Cardiff (LinC) research network is inviting applications for a limited number of places on our Advanced Research Residency in Systemic Functional Linguistics, which will run from February 1st 2016 to May 31st 2016.

The Advanced Research Residency (ARR) scheme brings together researchers with related interests for a series of research workshops in the context of an opportunity for completing their own independent research project. The ARR in Systemic Functional Linguistics will include most if not all of the following:

  • A day-long LinC symposium on a specific theme related to Systemic Functional Linguistics
  • Participation in the regular meetings of the LinC research network
  • Attendance at the CLCR Research Seminars (with some guest speakers in SFL)
  • Auditing of masters-level and undergraduate modules in systemic functional grammar, phonology and intonation, words and meaning, corpus linguistics, discourse analysis and genre and ideology.

ARR members have the same facilities as other visiting scholars on our various schemes and pay the same fees. They may ask for their total time at Cardiff to be longer than the ARR period, in which case they will have the normal status of a visitor outside the ARR period. Regrettably, no funding is available to support ARR members’ costs. However, having a confirmed place may help you secure funding from another source, and if you are accepted onto the ARR, your place will be held for you while you apply. If you are interested in applying for this scheme, please visit our website ( for general information and guidance about becoming a visiting scholar with us. To apply for a place on the Cardiff SFL ARR, please email to check if places are still available and then complete a regular application for a visiting scholar place (see guidance on our website), indicating that you wish to participate in the ARR in Systemic Functional Linguistics.

For informal inquiries, please contact Lise Fontaine (, Tom Bartlett ( or Gerard O’Grady ( This is the third such residency.

This year we held one in Formulaic Language and Lexis and next year (2015) there is one in Language and Law.

New writing project

I’d just like to announce that I’ve set up a blog for the writing project we’ve been developing for some time.

This project aims to study literacy acquisition and competence by developing student engagement in digitally produced writing and by examining the role of keyboard skills and certain grammar constructions in literacy development. The research team is made up of Dr Michelle Aldridge-Waddon, Dr Lise Fontaine and Katy Jones from the Cardiff School of English, Communication and Philosophy at Cardiff University.

You can visit the blog here:

Looking good: Can function follow form?

A research seminar given by Professor Theo van Leeuwen (University of Southern Denmark in Odense)

December 10th  13.10-14.00, in room 2.01, John Percival Building, Cardiff University

Today, writing must do more than communicate, it must also ‘look good’. New technologies provide templates for a wide range of document genres which all focus on presentation rather than content.

  • What does it mean to ‘look good’?
  • Why has it become so important and ubiquitous?
  • Can it be analysed? Should it?

The paper will explore these questions, first by revisiting Prague School aesthetics and the aesthetics of Charles Morris and Umberto Eco, so as to focus on the key themes of aesthetic theory – the foregrounding of form, pleasure and transgression, and identity – then by asking whether the largely formalistic heritage of rhetoric and literary stylistics can be reconfigured as a social semiotic and systemic-functional approach to the contemporary multimodal aesthetics of ‘looking good’

About the speaker:

Theo van Leeuwen worked as a film and television producer in his native Holland and Australia. Later he studied linguistics in Sydney and Paris, and variously taught film production, media studies and semiotics at Macquarie University, the London College of Printing and Cardiff University. Between 2005 and 2013 he was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Sydney, and since September 2013, he is Professor of Language and Communication at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, Honorary Professor at Lancaster University and Visiting Professor at the Institute of Education, London. He has published widely in the areas of social semiotics, critical discourse analysis and multimodality. His books include Reading Images – The Grammar of Visual Design (with Gunther Kress); Speech, Music, Sound; Introducing Social Semiotics; Global Media Discourse (with David Machin); and Discourse and Practice – New Tools for Critical Discourse Analysis and The Language of Colour. With Carey Jewitt, he is a founding editor of the international journal Visual Communication.


Ethics of Online Research Methods – CFP


The Ethics of Online Research Methods

​Cardiff University, 16-17 April, 2015

Today, more than ever, data are widely accessible, visible, and searchable for research in digital media contexts. At the same time, new data types and collection methods challenge existing approaches to research ethics and raise significant and difficult questions for researchers who design, undertake and disseminate research in and about digital environments.

The aims of this workshop are to bring together researchers who use online research methods and data in different subfields of applied linguistics, to discuss ethical considerations in online data collection and analysis, to identify challenges and share solutions to ethical issues arising from applied linguistics research.

Confirmed invited speakers

  • Alexandra Georgakopoulou (King’s College London)
  • Claire Hardaker (Lancaster University)
  • Annette Markham (Aarhus University, Denmark)
  • Stephen Pihlaja (Newman University, Birmingham)

 The workshop will include:

  • Pecha Kucha presentations (5-6 minutes)
  • Paper presentations (20 minutes + 10 minutes discussion)
  • Discussion sessions

Pecha Kucha presentations

We invite proposals for Pecha Kucha presentations where participants present their research project (context and aim) and provide a statement of dilemmas, problems or ethical considerations relevant to their project.

Paper presentations

We are also inviting paper presentations to address any of the following themes:

  • Anonymity and informed consent
  • Privacy, ethics, and publicness in digital media environments
  • Ethics and legal issues: data protection and copyright
  • Sensitive data and vulnerable groups in online research
  • The ethics of digital ethnography
  • Ethics, metadata and big data
  • Ethics and selfhood in virtual worlds
  • Ethics and multimodal research online
  • Ethics and online scraping methods

Format for Proposals

Proposals should be submitted as a Word document or pdf file, containing the following information:

  • Title of proposal in bold
  • Indication of whether submitted for Pecha Kucha or Paper presentation
  • Name of presenter
  • Name and address of institution, telephone and email
  • Text 150 words maximum for Pecha Kucha; 300 words max. for papers
  • 12 pt font, Left-aligned, single-spaced

15 January 2015          Receipt of Proposals
15 February 2015        Notification of Proposal acceptances
15 March 2015            Payment of fees

The fee includes: registration, teas/coffees, and lunch on both days.
Full fee - £55
BAAL members’ fee - £45
Concessionary fee - £30

Up to 5 concessionary places are available for student or unwaged members of BAAL. To request one of these places, please contact Tereza Spilioti ( Concessionary places will be given on a first come, first served basis; please apply at registration.
Please note that the fee does not include accommodation.
Registration and payment of fees will be available from 15 February.

For any questions about the workshop, please contact Dr Tereza Spilioti, Cardiff University,, +44 (0)29 208 76041.

Literacy Seminar

The next LinC seminar is being held on Tuesday December 2, 2014 at 16.10 in room 3.66 in the John Percival Building (formerly the Humanities Building) at Cardiff University.

The seminar is being given by Ingrid Westhoff from the Universidad Andrés Bello, Chile and the title of the seminar is:

Reading to Learn: a set of strategies to read and write in all subject areas.

‘Reading to Learn’ is a literacy programme for teaching reading and writing across the curriculum, which is  based on systemic functional linguistics and draws on genre-based pedagogy. Information about  ‘Reading to Learn’ is available from the following website:​

For more information about LinC (Linguistics in Cardiff) please visit our website.

If you have any questions or would like more information please contact me.

PhD Funding – extended deadline

ESRC Studentship in Language and Communication at Cardiff 2015/16

deadline extended to March 9 2015.

The Centre for Language and Communication Research (CLCR) is able to support applications for one Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 3 year PhD studentship to commence on 1 October 2015, covering tuition fees plus a generous stipend, on a competitive basis within the ESRC Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) Wales Consortium, led by Cardiff University.  Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. To be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding, including for the purposes of full-time education. EU Nationals who do not meet the above residency requirement are eligible for a fees only award, provided that they have been ordinarily resident in the EU for at least 3 years prior to the start of their proposed programme of study. We would welcome applications in  the following areas: 

  • Systemic Functional Linguistics applied to any of the topics listed below
  • Psycholinguistics, especially written language production and/or using keystroke logging methods
  • Discourse Analysis, especially used a quantitative or mixed methods approach
  • Corpus Studies
  • Studies of language Development/Attrition/impairment
  • Bilingualism/Multilingualism
  • Language Change and variation
  • Attitudes to Language
  • Professional discourse including Forensic linguistics and Health communication
  • Language variation
  • New media discourse
  • Language attitudes

The ESRC website has a very helpful section on frequently asked questions about the award scheme.

In order to be considered for a studentship, you firstly need to apply for a place on PhD Language and Communication Research programme in the Centre for Language and Communication Research at Cardiff University via the University’s Direct Application Service.  As well as your application, you will need to supply the following supporting documents: 2 academic references, a detailed research proposal, personal statement, copies of your degree certificates and a transcript of the marks.  In the research proposal (around 1,000 words, 3-4 pages) please outline your rationale, proposed methodology, and research objectives, including a short bibliography.  In your personal statement, we would like you to tell us about why you are applying for a PhD – what your current situation is, whether you need a PhD for your own personal development, or for professional reasons, what your experience has been to date as a student/researcher/teacher in the area of English Language and Communication, and why you have chosen Cardiff as an appropriate research environment for your particular area of interest.

Once you have an offer of a place on the PhD Language and Communication Research programme you will be eligible to apply for ESRC funding.  You will need to submit a separate ESRC application form which can be downloaded from

ESRC Studentship Application Form – English

ESRC Studentship Referee Report Form – English

or can be obtained from the School Postgraduate Office (email Please submit your ESRC Studentship Application Form to

The deadline for funding is 5 p.m. Friday 9 March 2015.   

For further details, please contact: 

Rhian Rattray, Postgraduate Manager for the School of English, Communication and Philosophy. Email:

LinC summer school

Plans for our summer school in September 2014 are coming along nicely. Registration is now open and you will find details on our website:

We are offering two courses: one in Corpus Linguistics and one that is an introduction to systemic functional linguistics.

Outline for the course in Corpus Linguistics

Gerard O’Grady: 
Marking up a spoken corpus using Praat software?

Gill Francis: 
Directions of change in verb patterns

Geoff Thompson:
SFL and corpora: how do we match meanings and strings?

Serge Sharoff: 
The dimensions of genre classification and annotation practice for large corpora.

Stella Neumann:
Why use statistics in corpus studies, plus workshop using R.

Mick O’Donnell:
New features in the UAM CorpusTool

Ben Clarke:
Context and Corpus and workshop in using Elan

Outline for the Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics

Tom Bartlett: 
Experiential Meaning

Lise Fontaine:
Interpersonal Meaning

Geoff Thompson:
Textual Meaning

Mick O’Donnell:
Introduction to using the UAM CorpusTool

Lise Fontaine:
The nominal group and working out internal group structures

Tom Bartlett:
Applying Systemic Functional Linguistics

We are still accepting abstract submissions for the poster session, see the website for details.

Functional and Cognitive perspectives on the noun phrase

Recently I was invited to speak at the PGR conference at the University of Sfax in Tunisia. It was a real pleasure to take part in the event and hear about the very good research that is going on in the Laboratory in Approaches to Discourse (LAD).

Here’s the abstract for my talk:

This seminar aims to explore the use of a combined methodological framework (or multi-method design, cf. de Monnink, 1999; Angouri, 2010) to phenomenon based linguistic research. Using two case studies as examples, I will critically examine the use of a multi-method approach and consider the advantages and limitations in each case. The particular area of interest is the noun phrase within both functional (Fontaine, 2012) and cognitive (Dabrowska, 2010) perspectives. The study of the noun phrase is at times made difficult because of its status at three key levels (or strata) of language: below the clause as a unit with its own structure and functions; at clause level as an expression of significant elements of the clause (e.g. Theme/Subject/Actor); and at discourse level as a referring expression that is contextually bound. The decision to focus on one level only is often taken at the expense of the others.  A multi-method approach can, depending on the research objectives, resolve some of these issues.


Angouri, Jo. (2010) Quantitative, Qualitative or Both? Combining methods in Linguistic Research. In Litosseliti, L. (ed.) Research Methods in Linguistics. London: Continuum.

Dąbrowska, E. (2010). The mean lean grammar machine meets the human mind: Empirical investigations of the mental status of rules. In H.-J. Schmid & S. Handl (Eds.), Cognitive foundations of linguistic usage patterns. Empirical approaches Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 151-170.

De Mönnink, Inge  (1999). ON THE MOVE. The mobility of constituents in the English noun phrase: a multi-method approach. Language and Computers 31. []

Fontaine, L. (2012) Analysing English Grammar. Cambridge: CUP.

Here I am in action, with thanks to Ameni Halioui!

sfax presentation

On analysing the exchanges of spoken discourse

LinC seminar by Margaret Berry

Abstract. What is really going on in the exchanges in which we engage in spoken discourse? How can we analyse such exchanges in such a way as to bring out the knowledge relations and the power relations, or the politeness relations and  the solidarity relations, between the speakers? Do the same kinds of exchange occur in sequences of letters or emails, though with longer time lapses between the moves? The session will revisit work on exchange structure from the nineteen-seventies and nineteen-eighties and will introduce a framework for analysis which combines a Hallidayan metafunctional approach with the approach of the then Birmingham school. Information will be provided on currently ongoing work in Australia which uses the framework in connection with various forms of pedagogic discourse, interviews with young offenders, the language of people with traumatic brain injury or other intellectual disability, and on work in the UK relevant to politeness and solidarity relations between close friends. Members of the audience will be invited to join in bits of analysis along the way to try out the framework and its relevance to various forms of discourse.

March 11, 3-5pm, room 3.66 in the John Percival Building, Cardiff University.

corpus methods to explore academic and scientific texts

How to use corpus methods to explore academic and scientific texts   

A LinC seminar by Maria Freddi 


This seminar builds on both corpus linguistics methods and genre studies to approach academic and scientific texts in an attempt to pinpoint some of the features of disciplinary variation. The starting point is a pedagogical concern that despite the existing descriptions of features of academic and scientific writing, it is sometimes difficult for an EAP course instructor to identify the reasons for the complexity of authentic academic texts in relation to different disciplines. In the course of the seminar I will thus address the following questions: how much of disciplinary variation can be grasped by concordancing academic texts? More specifically, can nominal vs. clausal complexity in academic and scientific writing be observed systematically through corpus observation tools? And if so, what are the pedagogical implications of these findings and relevance for EAP reading and writing programmes? I will try to answer these questions by leading the audience through a number of examples and discussion of methodology and epistemological tools used.


Location: Room 3.66 Tuesday March 25th