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About me

I am Senior Lecturer in Linguistics and Applied Language Studies on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes for the School of Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I have an MA in Natural Sciences from Magdalen College, Oxford, where I was taught genetics by Richard Dawkins, taxonomy by David Mabberley and philosophy of science by Rom Harré. I completed a PhD at University College London-Institute of Education with a thesis entitled 'Metaphor, Metonymy, Language Learning and Translation', under the supervision of Professor David Block and examined by Dr. Graham Low (York). 

I studied Italian Language and Literature at the University of Florence, Italy, and Germanistik and Anglistik at the Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf, Germany. I hold a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) from the Institute of Education, London, in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), a Certificate in English Phonology from the International Phonetic Association (IPA) and the Post-Graduate Diploma in Linguistics from the University of Westminster. I received an Award of Excellence in Teaching and Learning from the Westminster Exchange in 2008. I am a member of the professional bodies International Association for Cognitive Semiotics (IACS) and Researching and Applying Metaphor (RaAM). I review book proposals for academic publishers and articles for academic journals. These have included The American Journal of SemioticsJournal of Pragmatics and Metaphor and the Social World. I have acted as external examiner for various HE institutions, including Birkbeck and Hertfordshire.

Previous to 2000, at Westminster, I taught Italian and German on BA and MA programmes for the Department of Modern Languages; English for Academic Purposes and Italian on the university-wide language programme, Polylang; and academic literacy on writing courses across the university. I worked in Italy as an arts journalist, translator and press officer for International Daily News and Daily American; in Germany, as a translator, interpreter and language trainer for IBM and Rank Xerox; and in London, as a bilingual lexicographer for Longman Dictionaries and dictionary editor on Routledge French Technical Dictionary (1994) and Routledge German Technical Dictionary (1996). I have extensive experience as an English language teacher in Germany, Italy and the UK.  My experience as a language professional in the commercial world includes work as a language teacher, materials writer, editor, translator, interpreter and lexicographer.

Teaching

My teaching for the University of Westminster is in the area of language and meaning and covers semiotics, semantics, figurative language and thought, discourse analysis, translation/interpreting studies, cognitive linguistics, multimodality and literary linguistics. I took a Post-Graduate Diploma in linguistics in my own department at Westminster over a three-year period to understand better the learning experience of a student as they progress though their degree. I received an Award of Excellence in Teaching and Learning from Westminster Exchange in 2008 for my innovative approach to teaching and learning. 

I currently teach on the following modules: Introduction to Translation 1 4TRSL002W.1, Introduction to Translation 4TRSL002W.2, Language Myths 4ENGL004W.2, Language and Text 4ENGL003W.1, Language Structure and Meaning 5LING002W.Y, Applied Language Studies 6LING003W.Y, English Language and Linguistics Dissertation 6ENGL001W.Y, English Literature and Language Dissertation 6ENGL005W.Y, English Worldwide 7ENGL007W.1, Linguistic Description and Analysis 7ENGL009W.1, Analysing Spoken and Written Discourse 7ENGL001W.1 and Dissertation 7ENGL002W.Y. I also give lectures for other departments and special interest groups, and frequently speak at conferences in the UK and abroad. 

My aim is to make linguistics and applied language studies accessible, practical and enjoyable, so that students at all levels, across all disciplines and in all degree combinations see its relevant to their own practice and interests, and at all times accommodate different expectations, disabilities and learning styles. I teach through lectures, seminars, tutorials and supervisions, as well as blended learning using a variety of digital platforms, such as Blackboard, Collaborate, Panopto, Teams, and Padlet. I feel lecturers in Higher Education should not only to be knowledgeable across their subject, but also be experts in the art of teaching and engage actively in relevant research. I also take every opportunity to talk to lay enthusiasts who want to engage with linguistic theory. I welcome applications from prospective MPhil and PhD students who are interested in carrying out research in the areas of: figurative language (metonymy and metaphor), semiotics/multimodality, discourse analysis and translation/interpreting studies.

Research

I am unusual for a linguistics scholar in coming from a science background rather than a humanities background - my first degree was in natural sciences, specialising in botany and the history and philosophy of science. This gives me a particular view on what linguistics is and what linguistics can achieve. My research interests are in the area of language and meaning, and include semiotics, semantics, figurative language and thought, discourse analysis, cognitive linguistics, visual grammars, translation studies and literary translation. I have been influenced particularly in my thinking by Michael Halliday, Roman Jakobson, Gunther Kress, George Lakoff, Ronald Langacker, Peter Medawar, C. S. Peirce, Karl Popper and Günter Radden.

My research in linguistics is characterized by 1) a willingness to look at the 'big picture' and make connections across different fields and disciplines; 2) an intellectual curiosity which re-visits basic concepts and asks basic questions - such as, what is language?, what is meaning?, what is translation? - in order to gain new insights into what language is and how it works; and 3) an inclination to explore the impact that language features at the small scale of the sentence have at the large scale of discourse. I always look to relate theory to everyday communication and professional practice as it manifests itself in a constantly developing world. 

This is reflected in my recent articles: on discourse, 'Text metaphtonymy: the interplay of metonymy and metaphor in discourse' (2018) Metaphor and the Social World 8:1; on translation, 'Employing cognitive metonymy theory in the analysis of semantic relations between source and target text in translation' (2019) Metaphor and the Social World 9:2; and on grammar, 'The Three Grammars and the Sign' (forthcoming) Review of Cognitive Linguistics; and my book, Metonymy and Language: A new theory of linguistic processing (2015). I am currently working on projects around translating German short stories, multimodal discourse analysis, and visual grammars.