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Language Profiling and Description

What makes certain expressions sound idiomatic? How is meaning achieved through the choice of words and structures? How similar does the written language of identical twins look? What role does intonation play in the presentation of spoken discourse? How does language interface with other communication modalities? What characterises narrative form in different functional contexts? Such questions illustrate aspects of language profiling, which harnesses traditional and new techniques of linguistic description to explain and explore the nature of spoken and written texts.

The Cardiff Grammar, a particular version of Systemic Functional Grammar, was developed in the Centre for Language and Communication Research (CLCR) by Robin Fawcett and Gordon Tucker, and it, and other SFG models, are now also part of the research activity of Tom Bartlett, Janet Cotterill, Lise Fontaine, Gerard O’Grady and Jeremy Wilcock. Several staff undertake research relating to Formulaic Language, including Alison Wray, Gordon Tucker, Lise Fontaine and Tom Barlett, who variously apply their investigations to grammatical description, language learning, language disorders and theoretical models of language processing.

A current AHRC-funded Innovation project, Developing new analytic techniques for profiling language phenotypes in genetic research, involves profiling essays written by identical and non-identical twins to look for possible genetically determined features.

Other aspects of language profiling include narrative analysis (Chris Heffer), how spoken discourse unfolds in real time (Gerard O’Grady) and multimodal communication (Lisa El Refaie, Theo Van Leeuwen), along with media discourse and forensic linguistics—see Professional and Public Discourse.

Key publications by our staff on Language Profiling include:

PhD research in language profiling

Some staff have supervision vacancies for PhD research in areas related to Language Profiling, including: