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I received my PhD in English Linguistics from Uppsala University, where I also became a docent in English in 2008. My doctoral thesis, a revised version of which was published by Rodopi in 2005, was an investigation of the development of the English progressive during the nineteenth century. After the completion of my PhD project in 2002, I worked as a senior lecturer in English Linguistics at Örebro University (2002–2003) and the University of Gävle (2003 and 2008), and as a post-doctoral research fellow in English Linguistics at Stockholm University (2004–2007). Since 1 January 2009, I have been a Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities research fellow in English Linguistics. I chose to base my project at Uppsala University’s Department of English owing to the expertise in corpus linguistics, English historical linguistics, and sociolinguistics available at the department.
All of my research is empirical and based on corpora, i.e. electronic collections of authentic texts that are assumed to be representative of some language or language variety. My main research interest is Late Modern English (c. 1700–1900) syntax, and my current research project in this area is funded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, with financial support from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. The project focuses on the process of colloquialization in nineteenth-century English. Colloquialization can be described as the process by which linguistic features characteristic of informal, spoken discourse become more frequent and/or acceptable in written – especially printed – texts. The Late Modern period is often associated with prescriptivism, standardization, and a preference for literate rather than oral communicative patterns. Nevertheless, several features that are more common in speech than in writing – such as the progressive (e.g. am going), phrasal verbs (e.g. put off), and not-contractions (e.g. don’t) – can be shown to have become more frequent in written English during the nineteenth century. Analysing these seemingly unexpected developments may shed light on the complex interplay between speech and writing; moreover, the results of the analysis can be linked to socio-political changes such as the extension of literacy and the increasing availability of cheap newspapers that were subject to market forces. The project includes the compilation of a corpus of nineteenth-century newspaper English.
I am also interested in other aspects of Late Modern English; for instance, together with Dr Peter Grund (University of Kansas), I am currently investigating the use of conjuncts such as however and furthermore in nineteenth-century English. I have also published on the distribution of partitive constructions such as a piece of advice and of multal quantifiers such as much and a great deal in nineteenth-century texts, and edited a collected volume of studies of nineteenth-century English together with Professor Merja Kytö and Professor Mats Rydén.
In addition to Late Modern English, I take an interest in the study of learner English. In 2007, Studentlitteratur published my problem-based workbookSpotting the Error, in which students are asked to identify, explain, and correct authentic learner errors. In addition, Professor Kingsley Bolton (City University of Hong Kong) and I are involved in a project aiming at comparing determiner-related errors in the English produced by learners of English in Sweden and Hong Kong.
As I have a research fellowship, the amount of teaching included in my position is limited. I mainly teach courses on English grammar, English Linguistics, and the history of English; I also supervise Master thesis projects and am the deputy supervisor of two PhD projects in English Linguistics.
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