The Applied Linguistics & Communication blog is live!

ALC in ECLS logo

Hello and welcome to the new blog from the Applied Linguistics & Communication (ALC) Section in the School of ECLS, Newcastle University.

The staff and students in ALC conduct research in a range of areas, all related to language use and communication. We are particularly interested in:

  • Language learning
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
  • Cross-Cultural Communication (CCC)
  • Discourse and Interaction

In this blog, we plan to post updates and reports on our research-related activities. These will include news about: Continue reading The Applied Linguistics & Communication blog is live!

Faculty Research Group status for MARG

Micro-Analysis Research Group (MARG) has been awarded Faculty Research Group status for three years (pending one year review). As most of you will know, MARG members analyse social interaction using video recordings taken from a wide range of real-life workplace and everyday settings. Group convenors from ECLS are Adam Brandt, Chris Leyland and Paul Seedhouse, with other Applied Linguistics & Communication staff and students regularly attending the weekly data analysis workshops (‘data sessions’).
MARG has been running in ALC for over 10 years, with strong ties to similar research groups across Europe, and in Japan, Turkey and the US. But this is the first time formal recognition has been received from Faculty. With this official status, MARG will be aiming to further develop cross-School and cross-Faculty collaboration, facilitated with the help of co-convenors Dr Neil Jenkings (School of Geography, Politics & Sociology) and Professor Andrea Whittle (Newcastle University Business School). There are already some exciting events and activities planned from September 2017 onwards – watch this space!
You can read about other Faculty Research Groups in the Newcastle University’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences here.

Report on ‘Intersubjectivity in Interaction’ conference (University of Helsinki)

2One of our PhD students, Yoonjoo Cho, recently presented at the ‘Intersubjectivity in Interaction’ conference, held at the University of Helsinki. Here’s what she had to say about it:

The conferences was held to celebrate the last year of the Centre for Excellence in Intersubjectivity in Interaction, and its contribution to the EMCA field, by inviting interactionalists from a range of disciplines to present and discuss their research on intersubjectivity.

Continue reading Report on ‘Intersubjectivity in Interaction’ conference (University of Helsinki)

Media Literacy in Foreign Language Education


This week I attended an international conference in Munich organised by University of Munich: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, titled “Media Literacy in Foreign Language Education: Digital and Multimodal Perspectives (12-15 March 2017). The conference brought together academics from around the world investigating the implications of media literacy on language education focusing on literature and storytelling, materials and resources, innovations in pop cultural approaches, literacies in film and media studies, as well as CALL/TELL in higher education and teacher education. The conference started with an inspiring plenary by Bill Cope in which he challenged existing online teaching practices and explored how an e-learning platform has the potential to transform instruction and assessment. In another plenary talk, Gunther Kress presented an overview of the principles of social semiotics. There were two other plenaries by Catherine Beavis and Mary Kalantzis. Catherine Beavis explored digital gaming as a venue for multimodal expression, while Mary Kalantzis offered a comprehensive overview of the work carried out by the New London Group since 1994 focusing on the development of a grammar of multimodality and future directions in the field.

My talk was on the first day of the conference and was titled “Learning and teaching languages in technology-mediated contexts: the relevance of social presence, participatory literacy and multimodal competence”. It was very well received with a good number of listeners and a fruitful discussion at the end. Overall, all went well, except the fact that my co-presenter, Mirjam Hauck of the Open University, UK was unable to attend due to a last minute health emergency.

I attended several thought-provoking presentations: Judith Buendgens-Kosten described a plurilingual language learning game being developed as part of an Erasmus+ project; Erhan Aslan (Reading University), presented his findings from a qualitative meta analysis on learner perceptions of the implementations of blogs, wikis and chat tools in EFL/ESL writing practices; Hsin-I Chen explored how Taiwanese EFL learners established multimodal identities in an intercultural exchange via Skype drawing on the many multimodal/semiotic resources present in the platform.

I had many networking opportunities as part of the socials organised by the conference committee. It was wonderful to meet Regina Brautlacht, Maria Martins, Maria Bortoluzzi, Francesca Bianchi and Niki Canham, some of which I had online and/or offline encounters before. It was a great pleasure to be part of the media/digital literacies community for a few days, which certainly left me with great ideas to work on. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the support of ECLS in funding my participation to this conference via the School Conference Fund.

Blog by Dr. H. Müge Satar, Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and TESOL at the School of Education, Communication and language Sciences.

Corpus Linguistics in the South 14: Corpus Linguistics and Multilingualism

Birkbeck College, University of London, 4th of March 2017

On Saturday, March 4th, I had an exciting opportunity to present my work in progress at Corpus Linguistics in the South event which focused on aspects of multilingual corpus linguistics. Multilingual here meant not only use of corpora in multiple languages but also possible applications of corpus linguistics methods to research multilingualism. The range of papers presented at the event demonstrated the broadness of this field of study.

A number of talks focused on uses of parallel corpora in comparative language studies that successfully implement computer software to exemplify language patterns and demonstrate their significance statistically. There were also interesting studies of representations (ex. of animals) that used multilingual corpora to study cultural differences in representations. Uses of corpora for translation studies focused on such challenging topics as researching idioms across languages and how this research is immensely helpful in translation practice.

Excellent plenary talks were also delivered at the event. Dr Charlotte Taylor focused on comparison across corpora of different languages in researching social phenomena like, for example, ‘community’ and how in different linguistic and cultural contexts such notions acquire different meanings. Research of this kind also involves multiple challenges, for instance, whether the researched term means the same thing when translated from English to other languages. Dr Dawn Knight discussed the ongoing project which aims to create a national corpus of Welsh language and the challenges it poses on the researchers. She also referred to how the corpus can be used by speakers of Welsh in the future. However, even now on the data collection stage the project has motivated people to speak the language with help of mobile applications. This project is particularly exciting and innovative as its experience can be applied for creating corpora for other minoritised languages.

I also had a chance to meet and receive feedback on my work from Dr. Mike Scott, the author of WordSmith Tools software.

As to my own presentation, it was a great pleasure to present to a highly expert audience: there were 48 participants from 28 different institutions! I received some useful questions and comments that gave me food for thought. These included ideas on how I can improve my research and what new directions I might take in further exploring my data. I would like to thank Dr Rachelle Vessey for organising this event and ECLS for making my trip to London possible.

Written by Hanna Sliashynskaya, 1st years PhD candidate in Applied Linguistics in the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University.

Interactional Competence and Practices in a Second Language (ICOP-L2) International Conference – Nur Nabilah Binti Abdullah

I am fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the Interactional Competence and Practices in a Second Language (ICOP-L2) international conference which was held at the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland from 19-20 January 2017. This event started with the pre-conference workshops (18 January 2107) in which I participated with my other PhD colleagues from Newcastle University- Somporn Maneechote, Suparee Impithuksa and Ufuk Girgin. The workshop was interesting, and we gained new insights with regards to our research field.


Most of all, as a PhD student, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to present a paper entitled “Word Search Sequence: Exploring the Embodiment in L2 Interaction” at this conference. I must say that the audience that attended my session were motivating. What encouraged me the most was to have a group of the audience who were scholars in this research field such as Professor Johannes Wagner, Professor Salla Kurhila, Professor Tim Greer, Professor John Hellerman, Associate Professor Kristian Mortensen, Associate Professor Eric Hauser and of course my supportive supervisor Dr Christopher Leyland. My presentation went well and I also received constructive feedback and ideas.


As a new researcher, attending this conference has given me the chance to meet well-known scholars and opportunity to become connected to people in the same field of interest. Last but not least, I would like to thank the ECLS for their financial support in providing the “Conference Fund for Postgraduate”.

Written by Nur Nabilah Binti Abdullah, 4th Year Research PhD Candidate in Applied Linguistics, School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

New publication by Paul Seedhouse – the Digital Kitchen!


The digital kitchen project has recently culminated in the publication of a new book, edited by Paul Seedhouse – ‘Task-Based Language Learning in a Real-World Digital Environment: The European Digital Kitchen’. The book is published by Bloomsbury and available from February 2017.

Continue reading New publication by Paul Seedhouse – the Digital Kitchen!

Interactional Competencies and Practices in a Second Language (ICOP-L2) International Conference – Dr Chris Leyland


I recently attended a conference entitled ‘Interactional Competencies and Practices in a Second Language’ (ICOP-L2) at the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland. Attending this conference were around eighty social interaction researchers from across the globe; experienced researchers, early career researchers and postgraduate students. Fortunately, I was able to attend due to the support of the School Conference Fund. Being able to get to this conference was a hugely beneficial experience in a number of ways.

As an early career researcher, completing my doctorate in 2014, I am still hugely excited to attend talks given by some of the figures who have inspired me over the years. The prospect of presenting in front of such figures really too really pushed me, and my colleague Dr Adam Brandt, to do our very best work. A little pressure goes a long way! Our talk, entitled ‘Students problematizing advice in L2 support tutorials at a British university: opportunities for explicit socialization’, was attended by around twenty people. It went very well and I had some excellent feedback and identified a few issues to develop further as I turn this talk into a paper.

This conference was a great opportunity to connect with the broader community of social interaction researchers. I had the chance to see the huge variety of research projects being undertaken by researchers of varying levels of experience. I attended a talk given by of my own doctoral supervises Nur Binti Abdullah. Nur’s presentation went extremely well, I am sure she will take a lot of encouragement.

I also had the chance to meet with my former ‘boss’ Professor Tim Greer from Kobe University, Japan. Before becoming a full time member of staff at Newcastle University, I did a postdoc in Japan with Professor Greer. Aside from catching up with a good friend it was really useful to meet in person to discuss various ongoing research projects and to plot a few more!”

Written by Dr Chris Leyland, Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, Newcastle University.

Recent activity in the Applied Linguistics & Communication section

The last couple of months has been filled with activities in ALC,  here is a little information about just a few of them.

Applied Linguistics Seminar Series:

In December we welcomed Dr Mohammad Ahmadian from the University of Leeds. He presented his research as part of our seminar series, with his talk entitled L2 pragmatics instruction through video-based focused and unfocused tasks: do working memory capacity and language aptitude play a role? His fascinating talk was very well attended by staff and students of Newcastle and Northumbria Universities. mohammad-ahmadian-pic

CA Day @ Loughborough University:

The annual Conversation Analysis day, organized by researchers at Loughborough University, was very well attended by ALC members. Fresh from finishing her PhD viva, Qi Chen presented her data and impressive findings to an audience of Conversation Analytic researchers from across the globe.


Research paper published:

ALC lecturer Dr Chris Leyland recently published a paper in Pragmatic (Quarterly) entitled Pre-enactment in team-teacher planning talk: demonstrating a possible future in the here-and-now. This paper looks at multilingual interaction in a Japanese context and considers how words, objects and the body are manipulated to create a vision of a forecasted classroom scene. It can be found here.

Presentation at the University of Edinburgh:

Chris Leyland presented at the Edinburgh TESOL and Applied Language (ETAL) Research Group’s Seminar Series. His talk was entitled The uses of objects in English team teacher lesson planning meetings.





A report on attending the Arabic Linguistic Forum Conference in York 2016

The second Arabic Linguistic Forum Conference which I attended was held at the University of York on the 12-14th December 2016; and sponsored by the Department of Language and Linguistics at the University of Essex and the Department of Language and Linguistic Science at the University of York. The conference presented useful research topics on Arabic linguistics including; for example, phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, morphology, dialectology, sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, etc.

Since my research is on the area of sociolinguistics, I, as a PhD student, would like to continue professional development in my field of study, as research on linguistics are changing and developing all the time. So, this conference provided me with a good opportunity to discuss and share experiences with other PhD students, researches, and education scientists in my field of study and other different fields in linguistics.

In addition, the conference was an ideal platform for me and other researchers to share our early results of our woks. The abstract which I submitted to the conference was on the area of bilingualism which would hopefully contribute to the knowledge and research on sociolinguistics. It was entitled ‘’ Bilingual Code Switching Patterns in Libyan Arabic-English School-Age Children: A Study of Code Switching Behaviour as an Indication of Linguistic and Communicative Competence’’. My abstract was published in the conference abstract booklet.

During the three days of the conference, there were am and pm sessions, each of which involved presenting different research topics on the above area of Arabic linguistics.  On the first day, I presented an oral presentation in my research for twenty minutes, followed by ten minutes questions and discussion. The discussion was in a friendly atmosphere and was successfully finished. In addition, between every am and pm sessions a cold buffet lunch was offered each day, including hot drinks during all breaks.

The conference included many participants and invited speakers from different universities from all over the world. So, it was a good chance for me to meet and build relationships with other researches and to share knowledge in different areas and get professional advice if I needed to. Moreover, this conference was my first conference to attend. It was really excellent experience, which made me looking forward to attending other organized conferences whenever possible.

Written by Gada I. B. Mahmud, PhD Student, School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, Newcastle University. 

Applied Linguistics Seminar Series: October-November

As part of this series, held in the School of ECLS, we have so far had four talks.
They have all gone extremely well, with large audiences, insightful talks and very useful discussions! This has been a big success, and we have seven more talks to come! Here is a quick summary of the talks given so far:

  • Our first speaker was Dr Melissa Yu.


Melissa is currently teaching Cross-Cultural Communication modules at the London-based campus of Newcastle University. Her talk was entitled Invitation to a ‘potluck’ lingua-cultural party in the classroom for the international understanding of English. This talk was very well attended by staff and students from Newcastle and Northumbria Universities. Keep up the good work in London Melissa!

  • The second speaker was Dr Elaine Lopez.


Elaine has recently joined the Applied Linguistics and Communication team at Newcastle University. This was a great opportunity for her to show us what her research is all about. Her talk entitled Measuring lexical knowledge in L2 academic writing was very well attended, with local university staff and students as well as several language teachers from INTO. This was an excellent example of how applied linguistics research can easily inform the professional practices of language teachers.

  • The third talk was given by current members of the ALC team, Drs Alina Schartner and Tony Young.


This talk entitled Towards a conceptual model of international student adjustment and adaptation tapped into a very topical issue. This fascinating talk was highly informative and sparked a very lively discussion amongst the presenters and audience. Despite the cold weather around 50 staff and students attended!

  • The forth talk was given by our first ‘external’ speaker, Dr Bróna Murphy from the University of Edinburgh.


This talk was entitled British converts to Islam: constructing identity. This was probably the best attended talk of the year, with large numbers of MA Cross-Cultural Communication students, doctoral students and staff from various local universities! This corpus linguistics-based study of British female converts to Islam unearthed and discussed a ‘double frame’ facing these people as well as various familial and societal challenges. (The organizer couldn’t get a sufficiently clear picture of her talk due to low lighting and a poor flash, apologies!)

Thank you so much to the presenters and attendees for making the Seminar Series so successful so far. I am looking forward to the upcoming talks. The next will be given by Dr Mohammad Ahmadian from the University of Leeds. Details to follow soon…


Paul Seedhouse gives plenary talk on the IELTS speaking test

Last month, Paul Seedhouse gave an invited plenary talk at British Council organised conference, ‘New Directions in English Language Assessment Conference‘, held in Hanoi, Vietnam.


Paul’s talk, entitled “The IELTS Speaking Test: Interactional Design and Practice in a Global Context“, covered some of his research from recent years on interaction in IELTS speaking tests around the world. His research has led to some proposals for how IELTS speaking tests may be improved.

A video recording of the full talk is available to watch on YouTube.

Report on presentation at 2nd LITU-CULI international conference in Bangkok, Thailand

On 6-7 October 2016, Monthon Kanokpermpoon, or Moddy, a third year IPhD student in Educational and Applied Linguistics at ECLS, participated in and presented his paper at the 2nd LITU-CULI International Conference: ELT Unlimited at the Ambassador Hotel, Bangkok. The event featured research presentations in Applied Linguistics and TESOL in ASEAN and Thailand in particular, such as corpus-based analysis, communicative language teaching, language learning, computer-mediated language teaching, and so on. Plenary speakers were Professor Douglas Biber (Northern Arizona University), Dr Willy A Renandya (Nanyang Technical University, Singapore), Professor Winnie Chang (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University) and Dr Suwichit Chaidaroon (University of Westminster). There were about 200 international participants from different countries, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Iran, Australia, and more, and leading professionals in Applied Linguistics and TESOL participating in this conference.


Continue reading Report on presentation at 2nd LITU-CULI international conference in Bangkok, Thailand

More research grant success for Professor Seedhouse – Linguacuisine!

Paul Seedhouse and Rob Comber (School of Computing Science) recently received an Erasmus Plus grant of €323,886 for the Linguacuisine project, starting on September 1 2016.

Paul Seedhouse in the kitchen

Here is a summary of their new project, which brings together language learning, technology and cooking:

Continue reading More research grant success for Professor Seedhouse – Linguacuisine!

Dr Alina Schartner receives prestigious award in Bangkok

Bangkok award

Alina Schartner has been awarded the highly prestigious James J. Bradac Prize, which is awarded biannually by the International Association of Language & Social Psychology, and recognises early career excellence in the field of language and social psychology by a scholar.

Alina was given the award at the International Conference on Language and Social Psychology in Bangkok in June for her collective research to date. Alina will receive funds to enable attendance at the next International Conference on Language and Social Psychology (in this case Edmonton, Canada, in 2018), and will give an invited plenary address.