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Dr Sara Pons-Sanz

Dr Sara Pons-Sanz


+44 (0)29 2087 6128
3.33, Adeilad John Percival , Rhodfa Colum, Caerdydd, CF10 3EU
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I am a member of the Centre for Language and Communication Research (please add relevant link here).

My research focuses on the make-up of medieval English vocabulary from different perspectives (etymology, sociolinguistics and stylistics).

After completing two BAs (BA in English Philology and BA in Spanish Philology) and the equivalent of an MA in English Philology at the University of Valencia (Spain), I pursued an MPhil and a PhD at the University of Cambridge, in the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic. I was then granted a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, which I took at the University of Nottingham (School of English).

Having spent six years in Nottingham (2004-2010), first as a postdoctoral fellow and then as a lecturer, I joined the Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the University of Westminster, where I taught over five years (2010-2016). I have been at Cardiff University since January 2016.






















I teach various modules on topics associated with language variation and change, such as historical linguistics, sociolinguistics and stylistics.

I am a historical linguist and work mainly on the medieval period. I am particularly interested in Anglo-Scandinavian linguistic contact and its effects on Old and Middle English. I am currently involved in three collaborative projects, which are linked by this overarching theme:

  • ‘The Gersum Project: Scandinavian Influence on English Vocabulary’ (funded by the AHRC) aims to present a detailed and rigorous survey of Norse-derived words in English. Its main focus lies on the vocabulary of nine texts of the so-called Alliterative Revival of the Middle English period: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Patience, Cleanness, St Erkenwald, Alliterative Morte Arthure, The Siege of Jerusalem, The Destruction of Troy and Wars of Alexander. The results of this research will be presented in a publicly available database where users will be able to explore, amongst other issues, the terms’ etymology, meaning, textual attestations and dialectal distribution.
  • ‘The Lindisfarne Gloss in its Dialectal Context: A Comparison between Lindisfarne and the Gloss to the Durham Collectar’ (funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation) focuses on two texts attributed to the tenth-century glossator Aldred. These texts are written in Old Northumbrian, a dialectal variety of Old English that exhibits some lexical and morphological features characteristic of early Middle English texts. These features are, to some extent, attributable to Scandinavian influence.
  • ‘Voices of Law: Language, Text and Practice’ (funded by the Leverhulme Trust) studies the connection between language and legal practice in the North Sea during the early Middle Ages (600-ca1250). Notably, there is a significant number of Norse-derived legal terms in Old English (only law, cp. OE lagu and OIc lög, has survived) and I am keen to understand to what extent changes in legal terminology affected legal practice, as well as the interaction between Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian law.

I have recently become interested as well in English historical stylistics, the topic of my latest book: The Language of Early English Literature: From Cædmon to Milton (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

Postgraduate students

I am interested in supervising doctoral projects on a topic broadly related to my areas of research: English historical linguistics (including historical dialectology, sociolinguistics and stylistics), medieval English studies, and Germanic linguistics.


I am interested in supervising doctoral projects on a topic broadly related to my areas of research:

  • English historical linguistics (including historical dialectology, sociolinguistics and stylistics);
  • Medieval English studies;
  • Germanic linguistics. 

Goruchwyliaeth gyfredol

Donna Marshall

Research student

Elisa Ramirez Perez

Research student


Ellen Bristow

Research student

Aeshah Alnemari

Research student

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