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Elena Semino supervises 7 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Professor Elena Semino


Elena Semino

Lancaster University

County South



Tel: +44 1524 594176

Research overview

My research interests are in stylistics, metaphor theory and analysis, and the medical humanities/health communication. I often combine qualitative analysis with corpus linguistic methods.

Stylistics: cognitive stylistics; corpus stylistics; mind style in fiction.

Metaphor theory and analysis: metaphor in literature, politics, science, health communication, end-of-life care; metaphor and embodied simulation; corpus approaches to the study of metaphor.

Medical humanities/health communication: representations of autism and mental illness in fictional and non-fictional narratives; (figurative) language, creativity and chronic pain.

PhD supervision

I am interested in supervising students in the following areas:
Metaphor in discourse: study of metaphor in literature, politics, science and health communication; corpus-based approaches to the study of metaphor.
Cognitive stylistics: integration of linguistic analysis with theories of cognition (e.g. Schema theory, Blending theory) in order to study literary texts; the linguistic construction of fictional text worlds; the linguistic construction of minds in fictional and non-fictional narratives.
Corpus stylistics: application of corpus methods to the study of literary texts.
Medical Humanities/Health communication: language use in communication about health and illness, including particularly metaphors and narratives.

Current Teaching

LING 102: English Language

LING 210: Stylistics

LING 450: Stylistics

I teach Stylistics on the MA in English Language by Distance and the PhD in Applied Linguistics by Thesis and Coursework.

Career Details

I am Director of the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science.

I hold a Visiting Professorship in the Faculty of Foreign Languages at Fuzhou University in China.

Before joining the Department, I taught Italian as a foreign language at Napier Polytechnic (Edinburgh) and Lancaster University.

Research Interests

Stylistics - My work in stylistics focuses primarily on poetry and fictional and non-fictional narratives. I have a long-standing interest in 'mind style' - how distinctive fictional minds are linguistically constructed in novels. I am currently working on: the linguistic representation of autism in fiction; and the representation of the experience of schizophrenia in a non-fictional narrative, with Dr Zsófia Demjén (University College London).

Metaphor theory and analysis - I have worked on metaphor in literary texts and in a range of non-literary text-types, including political speeches, newspaper language, scientific communication and health communication. I was part of an international group of metaphor scholars (known as Pragglejaz) who developed a methodology for the identification of metaphorical expressions in naturally-occurring language. From 2012 to 2014, I led a team working on Metaphor in End-of-Life Care, with funding from the ESRC. I act as advisor on the project 'Metaphor in Palliative Cancer Care' at Linnaeus University (Sweden), which is modelled on the 2012-2014 ESRC-funded project.

Science Communication - I am a co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project Translating Science for Young People, based in the School of Education at the University of Leeds.

Medical humanities / Health communication - I contribute to these broad interdisciplinary areas with my research on narratives of autism and schizophrenia, and on metaphor in communication about health and illness. I have a particular interest in the communication of pain experiences. I collaborate with Prof Joanna Zakrzewska (Eastman Dental Hospital, London) on a project on language and the diagnosis of chronic pain. I am part of the interdisciplinary project ‘Pain: Speaking the Threshold’ at University College London. Much of this work involves corpus linguistic methods, which I am developing as Director of the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS).

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