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Richard Jason Whitt

Assistant Professor in Linguistics, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

I joined the School of English as an Assistant Professor of Linguistics in Autumn 2016, before which I was a Nottingham Research Fellow (2013-2016) in German Studies (CLAS) working on my own project, "Evidentiality and Genre in English and German". Before coming to Nottingham, I worked as a Research Associate at The University of Manchester (2008-2011) and as a Research Assistant at The University of Strathclyde (2011-2012).

I hold a PhD in Germanic Linguistics from The University of California at Berkeley (2008), an MA in the same field from The University of Georgia (2004), and a BA in English from Georgia State University (2001). I also spent a year as a Fulbright Fellow at Leibniz Universität Hannover (2006-2007) and a year as a postgraduate exchange student at Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (2002-2003).

Expertise Summary

My research interests lie in the historical semantics and pragmatics of the Germanic languages, particularly English and German. I am also interested in how corpus linguistics -- the creation and use of digitised texts -- can aid our historical study of a language's development.

You can view my GoogleScholar profile at http://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?hl=en&user=UZTgbOkAAAAJ.

Teaching Summary

In semester 2 of 2016-17, I will convene the new "Texts Across Time" module, which will examine the changing nature of various discourses (related to authorship, standardisation, medicine and… read more

Research Summary

My most recent project, "Evidentiality and Genre Variation in English and German", was an investigation into the connection between the use of evidential markers and genre variation in the histories… read more

Recent Publications

In semester 2 of 2016-17, I will convene the new "Texts Across Time" module, which will examine the changing nature of various discourses (related to authorship, standardisation, medicine and medicalisation, (post)colonialism, and gender) in the history of English. I will also convene a few of the seminars for the first-year "Language and Context" module.

While in the Department of German Studies, I convened a final year module on "Genre and Language in German", which examined the connection between genre and language use in the history of German. I have also convened the first-year module "The Sounds of German", the second-year module "Meaning and Context in Modern German" and I have taught on the first-year school-wide module, "Language Meaning, Variation and Change".

In the spring of 2015, I became an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Previously, I have experience teaching German as a Foreign Language, English Composition, Tolkien and Germanic Mythology, Digital Text Analysis, Register Variation in Modern German Texts and Semantics and Pragmatics.

Current Research

My most recent project, "Evidentiality and Genre Variation in English and German", was an investigation into the connection between the use of evidential markers and genre variation in the histories of English and German. Evidentiality markers in language -- expressing how we know what we know, or expressing our source of information for what we say -- are of key importance to understanding how language works, for they illuminate how speakers and writers choose to present information to their audiences, and why such choices are made. This project was a comprehensive comparative, corpus-based, synchronic and diachronic study of evidential markers and genre in English and German, of a kind and scale only now possible by recent advances in corpus linguistics and evidentiality studies. Evidentiality has only recently attracted the attention of linguists, and scholarship to date has focused principally on classifying the general grammatical and semantic functions of evidential markers. Very little attention has been paid to the actual social and interpersonal contexts that give rise to and in which these markers are used, and it is this gap which this project aimed to fill.

After a series of initial searches of multi-genre corpora, it was decided that the best direction in which to take this project would be to examine the use of evidential markers in the history of medical writing. Specifically, the early modern period was identified as a period that witnessed the decline of medical scholasticism in favor of more empirically-based models of medical thought and practice. As this concerns a fundamental epistemological shift, it is expected that change in the language (specifically the use of evidential markers) accompanied this broader sociohistorical change. In addition, a desideratum of this research is the creation of a corpus of early modern German-language medical writing to complement extant resources for English.

My focus has now become more focused on the development of medical writing devoted to midwifery and women's medicine from the Early Modern period to the present. I recently released a corpus of German-language writings on midwifery and women's medicine from ca. 1500-1700, available at the Oxford Text Archive (http://ota.ox.ac.uk/desc/2562).

Past Research

My most recent work examines how perception verbs -- verbs of sight, sound, touch, smell and taste -- serve as evidential markers in English and German. Perception is key to our understanding of the world, so it only makes sense that verbs of perception can be used to indicate our sources of knowledge and information. This research resulted in several conference presentations, a monograph and a number of journal articles and book chapters.

I have also worked on two major digital humanities research projects. From 2008 to 2011, I worked as a Research Associate at The University of Manchester on the GerManC Project, which sought to build a representative corpus of Early Modern German from 1650-1800. The completed corpus can be found here: http://ota.ahds.ac.uk/desc/2544. From 2011-2012, I worked as a Research Assistant at The University of Strathcylde on the "Visualizing English Print, 1470-1800" Project, which sought to test and develop digital methods of text analysis and statistical visualisations using large corpora of Early Modern English texts.

  • WHITT, RICHARD J., 2018. Evidentiality and Propositional Scope in Early Modern German. Journal of Historical Pragmatics. 19(1), 123-150 (In Press.)
  • WHITT, RICHARD J., ed., 2018. Diachronic Corpora, Genre, and Language Change. John Benjamins. (In Press.)
  • WHITT, RICHARD J., 2018. Using Diachronic Corpora to Understand the Connection between Genre and Language Change. In: WHITT, RICHARD J., ed., Diachronic Corpora, Genre, and Language Change. John Benjamins. (In Press.)
  • DURRELL, MARTIN and WHITT, RICHARD J., 2016. The development of the würde + infinitive construction in Early Modern German (1650-1800). Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur: PBB. 138(3), 325-364
  • WHITT, RICHARD J., 2016. Evidentiality in Early Modern English Medical Treatises (1500-1700). Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics. 2(2), 235-263
  • WHITT, RICHARD J., 2016. Using Corpora to Track Changing Thought Styles: Evidentiality, Epistemology, and Early Modern Scientific Discourse in English and German. Kalbotyra (Special Issue on Modality and Evidentiality). 69, 265-291
  • WHITT, RICHARD J., 2016. Evidentialitätsmarker in deutschen und englischen wissenschaftlichen Texten der (frühen) Neuzeit. In: ZHU, JIANHUA, ZHAO, JIN and SZURAWITZKI, MICHAEL, eds., Germanistik zwischen Tradition und Innovation: Akten des XIII. Kongresses der Internationalen Vereinigung für Germanistik (IVG), Shanghai, 23.-30.8.2015. 3. Peter Lang. 361-368
  • WHITT, RICHARD J., 2015. On the Grammaticalization of Inferential Evidential Meaning: English seem and German scheinen. Interdisciplinary Journal for Germanic Linguistics and Semiotic Analysis. 20(2), 233-271
  • KOTIN, MICHAIL L. and WHITT, RICHARD J., eds., 2015. To be or not to be?: The Verbum Substantivum from Synchronic, Diachronic and Typological Perspectives. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • WHITT, RICHARD J., 2014. Singular perception, multiple perspectives through we: Constructing intersubjective meaning in English and German. In: PAVLIDOU, THEODOSSIA-SOULA, ed., Constructing Collectivity: 'We' across Languages and Contexts. John Benjamins. 45-64
  • DURRELL, MARTIN, BENNETT, PAUL, SCHEIBLE, SILKE and WHITT, RICHARD J., eds., 2013. New Methods in Historical Corpora. Günter Narr.
  • DURRELL, MARTIN and WHITT, RICHARD J., 2013. Zum Abbau der regionalen Varianten im Standardisierungsprozess 1650-1800. Belege aus dem GerManC-Korpus. In: Akten des XII. internationalen Germanistenkongresses Warschau 2010: Vielheit und Einheit der Germanistik weltweit. 17. 107-111
  • BENNET, PAUL, DURRELL, MARTIN, SCHEIBLE, SILKE and WHITT, RICHARD J., 2013. Preface. In: BENNETT, PAUL, DURRELL, MARTIN, SCHEIBLE, SILKE and WHITT, RICHARD J., eds., New Methods in Historical Corpora Günter Narr. 7-13
  • DURRELL, MARTIN, BENNETT, PAUL, SCHEIBLE, SILKE, WHITT, RICHARD J. and ENSSLIN, ASTRID, 2012. GerManC Corpus: A Representative, Multi-Genre Corpus of Early Modern German, 1650-1800.
  • FROEHLICH, HEATHER, WHITT, RICHARD J. and HOPE, JONATHAN, 2012. TCP-EEBO as a tool for integrating teaching and research. In: EEBO-TCP 2012 Conference.
  • SCHEIBLE, SILKE, WHITT, RICHARD J., DURRELL, MARTIN and BENNETT, PAUL, 2012. GATE to GerManC: A GATE-based Annotation Pipeline for Historical German. In: Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2012). 3611-3617
  • WHITT, RICHARD J., 2011. (Inter)Subjectivity and Evidential Perception Verbs in English and German. Journal of Pragmatics. 43(1), 347-360
  • SCHEIBLE, SILKE, WHITT, RICHARD J., DURRELL, MARTIN and BENNETT, PAUL, 2011. Evaluating an ‘off-the-shelf’ POS-Tagger on Early Modern German Texts. In: Proceedings of the 5th ACL-HLT Workshop on Language Technology for Cultural Heritage, Social Sciences and Humanities. 19-23
  • SCHEIBLE, SILKE, WHITT, RICHARD J., DURRELL, MARTIN and BENNETT, PAUL, 2011. A Gold Standard Corpus of Early Modern German. In: Proceedings of the 5th LAW Workshop. 124-128
  • SCHEIBLE, SILKE, WHITT, RICHARD J., DURRELL, MARTIN and BENNETT, PAUL, 2011. Investigating Diachronic Grammatical Variation in Early Modern German: Evidence from the GerManC Corpus. In: KONOPKA, MAREK, KUBCZAK, JACQUELINE, MAIR, CHRISTIAN, ŠTÍCHA, FRANTIŠEK and WAßNER, ULRICH H., eds., Grammar & Corpora 2009: Third International Conference. Günter Narr. 539-547
  • WHITT, R.J., 2010. Evidentiality and perception verbs in English and German Peter Lang.
  • WHITT, RICHARD J., 2010. Germanic fate and doom in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion. Mythlore. 29(1/2), 115-129
  • WHITT, RICHARD J., 2010. Evidentiality, polysemy, and the verbs of perception in English and German. In: DIEWALD, GABRIELE and SMIRNOVA, ELENA, eds., The Linguistic Realization of Evidentiality in European Languages. De Gruyter. 249-278
  • RAUCH, IRMENGARD, WHITT, RICHARD J. and ET AL., 2010. Toward the Architecture of the Lie. Interdisciplinary Journal for Germanic Linguistics and Semiotic Analysis. 15(1), 53-89
  • BENNETT, PAUL, DURRELL, MARTIN, SCHEIBLE, SILKE and WHITT, RICHARD J., 2010. Annotating a Historical Corpus of German: A Case Study. In: Proceedings of the LREC 2010 Workshop on Language Resources and Language Technology Standards. 64-68
  • WHITT, RICHARD J., 2009. Auditory Evidentiality in English and German. Lingua. 119(7), 1083-1095
  • BENNETT, PAUL, DURRELL, MARTIN, SCHEIBLE, SILKE and WHITT, RICHARD J., 2009. Annotating a Multi-Genre Corpus of Early Modern German. In: Proceedings of the Fifth Corpus Linguistics Conference.
  • RAUCH, IRMENGARD, WHITT, RICHARD J. and ET AL., 2007. Toward the Architecture of the Apology. Interdisciplinary Journal for Germanic Linguistics and Semiotic Analysis. 12(1), 135-156
  • WHITT, RICHARD J., 2005. The Semantic Development of sollen and wollen. Focus on German Studies. 12, 59-73

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