Welcome to Lise Fontaine's Personal Page



Senior Lecturer


Centre for Language and Communication  / ENCAP 


Humanities Building




029 2087 6324

[Presentations ] [Postgraduate studies and research ] [Teaching ] [Research Interests ] [my blog ] [select publications ] [about.me ]


Presentations at Conferences and other events

Please follow this link to view slides and handouts from presentations (e.g. The How Does Language Work conference at Aston)

Postgraduate studies and research

I am very keen to work with postgraduate students in the following areas:

  • Systemic Functional Linguistics

  • The noun phrase/nominal group

  • Referring expressions (see below )

  • Electronic language production (see KeyStroke Project )

  • Computer-mediated communication

  • Corpus Linguistics

If you are interested in coming to Cardiff to explore one (or more) of these topics, please contact me to discuss the opportunities offered at Cardiff University in terms of MA studies, PhD research or collaboration.


My teaching and research interests  (see below ) are in the fields of Linguistics and Computer-mediated Communication. Whenever possible, I like to merge these interests.

Currently I teach the following modules:

Functions of Grammar (formerly Describing Language)
This module presents a functional model of linguistic description: Systemic Functional Linguistics.  We develop an analytical method of exploring particular lexical and grammatical choices and how speakers use language as a resource for creating meaning. The main aim of the module is to better understand both the meaning potential available to speakers and how particular choices in meaning affect the text.

book cover image 

If you are interested in learning more about Systemic Functional Linguistics; you can follow the links below. I won't reproduce a list of useful links here since Mick O'Donnell's site has just about everything you might want to know and I'll add a link here to some of the work that's been done here at Cardiff University.

Mick O'Donnell's SFL site 

Some writings on the Cardiff Grammar  (and more links)

Words and Meaning

This module explores the world of words. What is a word? What range of meanings does a word have? How are word meanings related? How can we tell them apart? How do words ‘behave’ in texts? Where do words come from and how do they change? In this module we will explore a number of different approaches to the semantics of words. We will take an investigative look at our words from various perspectives. Part of the basis for investigating words will be through electronic corpora (e.g. what can tools like Google or other search engines tell us about words?). The emphasis will be on how speakers actually use words in texts. Students will be given the opportunity to gain some hands-on experience using electronic resources (e.g. the Sketch Engine, British National Corpus).

Language and Mind

This module explores the ways in which researchers examine the relationship between language and the mind. How do we plan what we say and write, and how do we understand what we hear and read? How are words organised in our memory and why do we sometimes forget them? Why do we sometimes make slips of the tongue? We’ll consider whether it is true that ‘everything important about language is in the head’—how does psycholinguistics relate to the other things we know about language, including context and social interaction? We will critically examine, and try out, the methodologies that psycholinguists use when they attempt to pin down features of language processing. This module will be highly relevant to any student with interests in language learning, language disorders, teaching, or generally in how language works.

This module aims to introduce students to the key ways in which psycholinguistic investigations can inform our understanding of language and the mind, and the limitations of these approaches. By considering language in its biological, cognitive and social contexts, the contribution of various methods used in psycholinguistic research can be evaluated, including how we should interpret ‘lab’-based observations and experiments in relation to findings from other areas of linguistics. Theoretical models of language processing (e.g. speech production, reading, writing) will be examined, with particular reference to evidence of planning errors (e.g. slips of the tongue).

Digital Literacies and Language

The aim of this module is to introduce digital language and literacy as an area of study. We will focus especially on Internet-based discourse, including for example e-mail messages, Twitter, discussion lists, chat, Social Network Sites, HTML and Web pages, blogging, and virtual communities. In this module, we will investigate the nature of digital text(s) as a Mode of Discourse, including the relation between text, meaning and technology.

Digital technology has changed almost everything and this has changed the way we learn, work and live. According to JISC, an estimated 77% of UK jobs involve some form of information and communications technology (ICT) competence. This module explores the nature of language in the digital age and issues related to digital literacy. This includes considering the register and genre of various types of digital text (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, wikis, Tumblr, etc.), including the semiotic resources available and the relationship between text, meaning and technology. In doing so digital language will be explored in various contexts (e.g. personal, work, education).



Recently I have become interested in cognitive processes and their relationship to language choice. I'm pursuing this in two areas: keystroke logging of spontaneous online chat and NLP (neuro-linguistics processing).

My main research focus has been on referring expressions, which includes personal reference. These expressions are typically realized as nominal groups in the lexicogrammar and so my research focusses on the unit of the nominal group. I take a multi-disciplinary approach to the problem of how Speakers refer to 'objects'. For me, this includes related fields of linguistics study such as: corpus linguistics, computational linguistics, lexis, lexicogrammar, corpus linguistics, sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics. Since the study of referring expressions is vast and complex, my chosen area is post-modification in the nominal group, or complex referring expressions.

Information about my PhD Dissertation is available here 

REX: a database of tagged Referring EXpressions 

This database is still largely underconstruction, but follow the link for more information.

Fontaine, L. (2006) REX, a database of Referring EXpressions tagged with both functional and syntactic labels. CD-ROM. Centre for Language and Communication Research, ENCAP, Cardiff University.

Other areas of interest:
personal reference, functional grammar, the role of choice in language production, keyboarded language (as opposed to spoken or written), computer-mediated communication, systemic functional linguistics.

The Keystroke Project

The keystroke project is a study of the human production of electronic language using a keyboard (e.g. email, chat, Facebook, and other types of spontaneous, personal computer-mediated communication). In this study, the analysis would be based on the use of keystroke software (Inputlog ) which records all keystrokes made by the speaker.

The main research topics in the project include:

  • the influence of "typed" language on linguistic choice

  • automatic (online or as it happens) language processing

  • typographical errors

  • production errors

  • evidence of formulaic sequences

  • effects of online language processing (synchronous real time exchanges, e.g. chat) and reflective language processing (asynchronous exchanges, e.g. email, discussion forums)

  • other relevant topics arising from the data.


Publications - see also http://cardiff.academia.edu/LiseFontaine

(2013) with Tom Bartlett & Gerard O’Grady (eds.) Systemic Functional Linguistics: Exploring Choice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

(2013) Analysing English Grammar: A Systemic Functional Introduction . Cambridge: CUP.

(2013) with Gerard O’Grady & Tom Bartlett (eds.) Choice in Language: Applications in Text Analysis. London: Equinox.

(2013) Semantic options and complex functions: a recursive view of choice. In Lise Fontaine, Tom Bartlett & Gerard O’Grady (eds.) Systemic Functional Linguistics: Exploring Choice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

(2013) Choice in contemporary systemic functional theory. In Lise Fontaine, Tom Bartlett & Gerard O’Grady (eds.) Systemic Functional Linguistics: Exploring Choice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

(2009) with Yves Kodratoff and  Jérôme Azé, ''CorTag: a contextual tagging of words within their sentences" in Information Retrieval in Biomedicine : Natural Language Processing for Knowledge Integration Violaine Prince and Mathieu Roche (eds.) London: IGI Publishing. pp.177-189.

(2007) "The Variability of Referring Expressions : an alternative perspective on the noun phrase in English"  in LACUS Forum XXXIII – Variation.,Douglas Coleman, William Sullivan, and Arle Lommel (eds.) pp. 159-170.  [available upon request]

(2006) “Where do "we" fit in? Linguistic Inclusion and Exclusion in a Virtual Community” In Beyond Misunderstanding, the linguistic reconstruction of intercultural communication. Kristin Bührig and Jan D. ten Thije (eds.) pp. 319-356, Amsterdam : John Benjamins Publishing Company. ISBN 90-272-5387-0. [draft version]

(2005) “Une analyse pragmatique des pronoms personnels : Etude d'un discours sur la propagande raciste dans une communauté virtuelle” in Linguistic Aspects of the Text of Propaganda Banks, David (Ed) Harmattan: Paris. ISBN 2-296-00007-X. [pdf]

(2005) with M. Franova, and Y. Kodratoff “Une analyse récursive constructive pour la recherche du sens du texte de Spécialité” in Revue des Nouvelles Technologies de l'Information RNTI, special issue on Text Mining. Toulouse, France. ISBN 2-85428-702-9.

(2005) “Napoléon dans ses lettres à Joséphine: quand il la traite de Vous” in Linguistic Signs of the Author's Presence, Banks, David (Ed) Paris: Harmattan. ISBN 2-7475-9083-6. [draft version available here]

(2004) "Textual Challenges in Recursive Texts" In Text and Texture: Systemic Functional viewpoints on the nature and structure of text, Banks, David (ed) pp. 301-328, Paris : Harmattan. ISBN 2-7475-5812-6.

(2003) “Diasporic Residue in Québec : the use of personal pronouns in online personal reviews of the film, 15 février 1839”  In Souffles, Migrations et diasporas, Les Cahiers du CICLaS,  n° 2  pp. 179-197.  ISSN 1637-7060 Paris, France.

(2002) with Yves Kodratoff "Comparaison du rôle de la progression thématique et de la texture conceptuelle chez des scientifiques anglophones et francophones s'exprimant en Anglais" In Asp, La revue du GERAS, 37-38, 2002, pp. 59 - 83, 1246-8185 Bordeaux, France. [English version]


Conference Presentations

click here  for a list of my conference presentations


back to my staff page

LinC SummerSchool and Workshop 
September 8-10 2014

LinC Blog 


research network for Linguistics in Cardiff


My academia.edu page

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