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Professor Michael J. A. Handford PhD

Professor Michael J. A. Handford



School of English, Communication and Philosophy

+44 (0)29 2087 5407
3.41, John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU


I am a Professor of Applied Linguistics and English Language in the Centre for Language and Communication Research. The Centre is in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy. I am fascinated by the relationship between language and context, and the way people use language to make changes in society. I am especially interested in the ways that people communicate at work, for instance how people make decisions and solve problems, or how relationships are developed, maintained or damaged. I am also intrigued by 'culture' as a concept and its relationship to discourse, how people deal with what they see as cultural difference, and how they construct and are influenced by stereotypes. My research involves the analysis of authentic data, often in the form of recordings of spoken interactions in workplaces. All these areas directly inform my teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.


After completing my BSc in Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at the LSE, I taught English in Japan for several years, before returning to the UK to do an MA in English Language Teaching at Nottingham University. I then moved over to English Studies at Nottingham University, where I studied for my PhD, titled 'The Business Meeting Genre: A Corpus-Informed Study', supervised by Prof Michael McCarthy and Prof Svenja Adolphs. After lecturing in English Studies and the School of Education at Nottingham, I moved to Tokyo University in 2005 where I became Associate Professor In English for Specific Purposes, and then Professor in International Education in 2011, with responsibilities for internationalisation. I then moved to Cardiff in 2016 as Professor in Applied Linguistics. Apart from research and teaching, I see internationalisation as a central function of universities, and support relevant actions wherever possible.






  • Handford, M. 2017. Corpus linguistics. In: Vine, B. ed. The Routledge Handbook of Language in the Workplace. Abingdon: Routledge.











I teach, or have taught, the following modules:


  • Professional and Intercultural Communication
  • Discourse
  • Social Interaction
  • Research Methods


  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Discourse and Social Interaction
  • Public and Professional Discourse

My main area of interest is communication in professional and institutional contexts. In terms of methods, I am interested in the combination of quantitative and qualitative tools, especially corpus linguistics and discourse analysis. I have published on discourse in professional settings, cultural identities at work, the application of corpus tools in discourse analysis, using corpora for the analysis of intercultural communication, English as a Lingua Franca in the construction industry, and language learning. I am the author of The Language of Business Meetings, published by Cambridge University Press (2010), and co-editor with J.P. Gee of the Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis (2012).

External profiles