Portrayals of Greta Thunberg in the British Press

Grant holders: Themis Karaminis (PI). Costas Gabrielatos (CI), and Geoff Beattie (CI). The project was funded by the Edge Hill Research Investment Fund (£10,648), and covered the corpus compilation, the automated analysis (collocation), and the manual annotation of random samples (November 2021-December 2022). We are currently working on the quantitative analysis of the qualitative results.

Implicit Attitudes towards Autism in the British Press

Grant holders: Themis Karaminis (PI) and Costas Gabrielatos (CI). The project was funded by the British Academy (£9,997) during 2021-2022. The corpus newspapers predominantly present autistic individuals as children (especially boys), who need to be cared for by their parents (especially their mother). They are overwhelmingly presented as being disadvantaged and/or a ‘burden’ or ’problem’ for carers/society, and/or are presented as the reason for the carer’s activism/advocacy. They are also  presented as not having agency (regardless of their age), that is they do not represent themselves, but their carers speak and act for them, or they are spoken about in newspaper reports.

From Manuscripts to Messaging: Orality, Texts and Connectives from Late Medieval to Present Day English.

Grant holders: Imogen Marcus (PI). The project was funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant, 2019-2021. It asked: to what extent are digital writing practices really ‘new’? Specifically, it compared the oral communication strategies used in computer mediated communication such as email and instant messaging with those adopted in late medieval and early modern English written texts, which often display ‘speech-like’ characteristics. In so doing, it investigated digital writing practices from an innovative, trans-historical perspective. For more details about project outputs, see https://frommanuscriptstomessaging.wordpress.com/

A Linguistic description of Pearl Lagoon Basin Miskitu. 2021-2023.

Grant holder: Anthony Grant (PI). Pearl Lagoon Basin Miskitu (PLM) is a dialect of the Miskitu language of eastern coastal Nicaragua and Honduras in Central America.  Other dialects of Miskitu have been described but no work has been published on PLM, which shows the effects of over three centuries of contact with English, including Creole English varieties. There is also some influence from Spanish and from another Indigenous language, Mayangna (Northern Sumu). This project aims to provide a solid description of the sounds, grammar and vocabulary of the language, together with a collection of texts. 

The work has been done with PLM speakers in London, together with Dr Mark Jamieson, a social anthropologist at University of East London who speaks PLM fluently and who is thoroughly familiar with the area, called La Cuenca (Spanish for ‘the bowl’), where it is spoken. PLM is an endangered language, and the account will be the first published record.

Can music boost the acquisition of L2 pronunciation? An exploratory study

Grant holder: Helena Arenas Ramirez, GTA/PhD student, whose research project starting in October 2023 is supervised by Dr Karen Ludke and Dr Imogen Marcus.

This project investigates if music can contribute to the acquisition of the pronunciation of a new language, including individual phonemes and suprasegmental aspects (namely stress, intonation, and rhythm). By comparing the impact of pronunciation instruction with and without music on L2 speech production and perception, it aims to contribute to a field of research that has not always received much attention in the literature. Its findings will be discussed within the framework of pedagogical approaches to pronunciation teaching and will potentially inform the effect of different pronunciation features on learners’ L2 intelligibility and comprehensibility.

The influence of music on intelligibility and foreign accent of French speakers learning Dutch prosody

Grant holder: Lidwin Dejans, PhD student since October 2021 at the Université Catholique de Louvain, supervised by Dr Pauline Degrave with Dr Lieke van Maastricht and Dr Karen Ludke. The link between music and foreign language acquisition has been the topic of many studies in recent years. However, the contribution of music to the production of the prosody of a foreign language – the melodic and rhythmic framework in which any oral utterance takes place – is still largely under-researched. The aim of this research is to compare the level of intelligibility and foreign accent of French speakers in Dutch prosody production tasks, according to their musical profile (musical education/ability) and according to prosody training, whether or not based on music.

Music in the foreign language classroom: A survey of teachers’ opinions and practice

This project aims to investigate whether recent research showing strong connections between musical and language skills has had an impact on instructional practice in additional language teaching. An online questionnaire has been designed to provide a 6-month snapshot of the music-related practices of self-selecting modern foreign language teachers. Questions aim to explore to what extent, and in what ways, teachers use music and songs to support learning in the classroom with different age groups and proficiency levels. The questions also address how teachers use musical materials with different groups (e.g., as part of a lesson, as background music to set a positive classroom tone, or both) and their recommendations for other teachers who wish to use music in their modern foreign language classrooms.

Language learning through music and singing

This project extends Dr Karen Ludke’s previous research about singing and foreign language learning (Ludke, Ferreira & Overy, 2014). This experimental study with undergraduate student participants investigates the potential benefits of a ‘listen-and-sing’ (vs. speaking or rhythmic speaking) learning procedure when learning phrases in an unfamiliar tone language (Mandarin).