English Language & Linguistics research
Research specialisation of our department is focused around four clusters, with a continuous dialogue and exchange between the members of the groups.
Staff in this cluster are committed to combining rigorous experimental methodologies with formal linguistic theory in the investigation of a variety of topics, ranging from the nature and form of representations to language acquisition and processing. We particularly specialise in two areas, speech production and perception and the experimental study of syntax, semantics and pragmatics.
Researchers in Theoretical Linguistics model the language capacity and identify the rules and processes through which speakers generate and understand language. While we may work on particular languages, these are seen as instances of an abstract Language which all humans share. Commonalities and differences are analysed, and predictions and hypotheses are tested with reference to small, targeted data sets from a variety of languages. Current research interests in the department are primarily centred around syntax and its interfaces with semantics, pragmatics and morphology.
Members of the Sociolinguistics cluster use a variety of methodologies – from corpus analysis and acoustic studies to traditional variationist and historical paradigms – to investigate socially meaningful linguistic variation and its implications for communication and language change. Current research in this cluster focuses on the dialects of English and Greek, and the regional languages and dialects of France.
Stylistics research at Kent is inherently interdisciplinary in orientation, occupying the liminal space between linguistics and literary studies, and is eclectic. A significant portion of the work is grounded in staff's own creative practice, as well as examining and analysing the outputs and practices of others. Particular areas of interest are: style and identity, narratology, the stylistics of drama and crime stories, multimodality, linguistic creativity and poetics, and how these topics relate to both literary and media discourses.