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Researcher Overview

I am an ESRC funded PhD student in the Centre for Language and Communication Research. My research is in the field of vocabulary development, specifically children's ability to decode and analyse the meaning of unfamiliar and/or complex academic words. In line with the forthcoming Curriculum for Wales (2022), I have designed a morphology and etymology focused 'vocabulary development programme', which aims to trial and test creative intervention strategies which could aid both children's vocabulary development and pedagogical practices in the English language classroom.

I completed a BA in English (First Class Hons.) at the University of Southampton before working as a secondary school English teacher and teaching assistant. I then moved to Cardiff University with a Master's Excellence Scholarship to study for an MA in Language and Linguistics in which I achieved a Distinction. For my Master's research, I was awarded the Nicholas Coupland Prize for Best Performance in Sociolinguistics.

Short Papers in Language and Linguistics (SPiLL): A Cardiff University postgraduate e-journal

I am a Co-founder and editor of the Short Papers in Language and Linguistics (SPiLL) e-journal. SPiLL is a Cardiff University e-journal which was set-up in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The restrictions imposed meant that many postgraduate students were missing out on networking and collaborative opportunities. Therefore, this e-journal works to provide a space for the postgraduate community to discuss and share their work and reconnect with fellow researchers. For the latest updates and information from SPiLL, follow us on Twitter @SPiLL_Cardiff


Diddordebau ymchwil

My research interests include:

- Education and linguistics
- Children's language 
- Language acquisition
- Psycholinguistics
- Sociolinguistics
- Historical linguistics
- Morphology 
- Etymology
- Vocabulary development 

Professional Memberships:

- Member, British Association for Applied Linguistics 
- Treasurer and member, Linguistics and Knowledge about Language in Education (BAAL Special Interest Group)
- Member, Vocabulary Studies (BAAL Special Interest Group)
- Member, Lexical Studies Research Group
- Member, National Literacy Trust
- Member, United Kingdom Literacy Association
- Member, Mentor and Judge, English Speaking Union 


I am currently a Writing Support Tutor in the Writing Support Centre for the School of English, Communication and Philosophy. I am also a seminar tutor on the undergraduate module, How Language Works I. 

Step-Up to University:

I am employed as a PhD tutor for Cardiff University's widening participation scheme 'Step-Up to University'. I deliver weekly masterclasses to A Level students from schools and colleges across South Wales. I teach on the following module(s): 

  • Languages, Literacy and Communication: Read. Said. Seen. 

The Brilliant Club's Scholars Programme:

I am a Brilliant Club PhD tutor delivering courses that widen access to Higher Education and promote university-style learning amongst secondary school students. This year, I will be delivering the following courses in a number of schools in South Wales

- From ‘Oniscus asellus’ to Chuggypigs and Billybuttons: Investigating English language variation and change. A                                   Sociolinguistics-based module I have designed for Key Stage 4/5 students.
- Through the looking glass: An introduction to literary theory. A pre-designed Key Stage 3 module. 
- Into the deep dark woods: Journey through literature. A pre-designed Key Stage 2 module. 

Traethawd ymchwil

English language vocabulary pedagogy: Investigating the impact of explicit etymology and morphology teaching on children’s vocabulary development in schools in Wales

Ffynhonnell ariannu




Dr Lise Fontaine

Senior Lecturer