Want to Know What We Did This Summer?

This summer was a busy one for many of us here in English Language and Applied Linguistics, with research activities, training and preparation for the new academic year ahead. Here is just a taster of what we did this summer:

Dr Alexia Bowler was successful in attaining her Higher Education Academy Fellowship, which is an international recognition of sustained commitment to teaching and learning in higher education (aligned with the UK professional standards for the HE sector) with the help of Swansea’s Academy of Learning and Teaching (SALT) team. This summer, she also had a busy time ‘easing’ into her new roles as admissions tutor and web officer; learning how to use new technologies and talking to many interesting and talented prospective students who are now the department’s first year undergraduates.

dsc_0018-7Dr Cornelia Tschichold spent time in Cyprus at the 2016 EuroCALL conference ‘CALL Communities and Culture’. EuroCALL is the European association for computer assisted language learning and one of the biggest conferences in the discipline in Europe.  Cornelia gave her paper, which was entitled ‘Meeting the Technology Standards for Language Teachers’ and examined the skills standards needed to use technology in teaching in the language classroom, relating it to her own practice and pedagogy. She said of her time at the conference: ‘It was exciting to exchange ideas and practices with colleagues from as far as Japan and North America (among several of the countries represented there) and I had some good feedback from leaders in the field, which was gratifying’.

img_1241Swansea University hosted this year’s prestigious British Science Festival which is designed to engage the public and fellow researchers in the best of the year’s research, ideas and innovation in science. Our own Prof. Nuria Lorenzo-Dus (English Language and Applied Linguistics) and her colleague, Dr Cristina Izura (Psychology) gave a talk ‘The Truth about Online Grooming”, which detailed their ongoing research into communicative processes and practices in an anonymous, online setting. Part of their talk included elaboration of their conceptual model and framework for identifying and analysing these linguistic strategies. It also attempted to dispel the myriad misconceptions that surround this complex subject. Inevitably, this taboo-breaking talk, necessarily discussed the growing need for collaboration with stakeholders, such as parents — concerned about the dangers of online threats posed by strangers — as well as the potential for preventative measures to institutions such as the police and the NSPCC.  The research has also been picked up by the national press, including The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Independent, among others. Further information about their work can be accessed here.

Dr Federica Barbieri, attended the 8th Inter-Varietal Corpus Studies (IVACS) International conference hosted by Bath Spa University and presented the paper “‘Clams and scallops and mussels and stuff like that’:General extenders and disciplinary variation in university classroom discourse”. Her paper investigated markers of vagueness (a.k.a., general extenders; e.g., and stuff like that, and everything) in American academic talk. Findings showed that use of these linguistic features varies according to academic discipline, with professors in the humanities and social sciences using them far more frequently than in the natural and physical sciences. Dr Barbieri’s review of I. Buchstaller’s Quotatives. New Trends and Sociolinguistic Implications (2014, Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell) was published in the Journal of Pragmatics.