Plenary talks

We are delighted to be able to offer two plenary sessions by leading scholars in the application of corpus-based methods to different areas of language studies. Both talks will be livestreamed via Twitter.

Prof. Elena Semino: Corpus Linguistics and health communication: The case of chronic pain

Monday, 25th June 2018, 4.30-5.30pm

This lecture will demonstrate the use of corpus linguistic tools to carry out research on communication about chronic pain in healthcare settings. Pain is notoriously difficult to put into words, and this is well known to cause problems in diagnosis and treatment. Two studies will be introduced, respectively on (a) a language-based diagnostic questionnaire for pain, and (b) the use of visual images in specialist pain consultation. In both cases, the application of corpus tools leads to findings that are directly relevant to healthcare professionals who care for people with chronic pain.

Elena Semino is the Head of the Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University and the Director of the Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS), a leading research centre focusing on the development of corpus methods and their applications to different fields in Social Science, Arts and Humanities. Elena’s research interests are in stylistics, metaphor theory and analysis, and the medical humanities/health communication. To read more about her research, visit

Prof. Jonathan Culpeper: Debunking myths about  Shakespeare’s language with corpus methods

Wednesday, 27th June 2018, 4.45-5.45pm

This presentation shows how corpus-related techniques can  address myths about Shakespeare’s language, such as the claim that he invented a huge number of words. Moreover, along the way, it reflects on particular difficulties that attend corpus data, including how to define the notion of a word and how to tackle non-standard language.

Jonathan Culpeper is Professor at the Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University. His research interests are in pragmatics, English historical linguistics, stylistics and Shakespeare’s language. He is the Principal researcher of the Encyclopaedia of Shakespeare’s Language Project, a £1 million project funded by the AHRC. The essential aim of the project is to bring corpus methods to the study of Shakespeare’s language, providing a systematic description of his words and language patterns, and showing how they compare with those of his contemporaries. To read more about his research, visit: