Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics
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About CRAL

CRAL is a dynamic research centre dedicated to the study of language in a wide range of authentic contexts.

Recent research projects have investigated language in medical settings, English language teaching and business environments.

CRAL staff have supervised in excess of 100 PhDs, generated over 350 international research publications, and have presented keynote and plenary speeches in more than 20 countries across the globe.


Would you like to take part in language studies in one of our labs?

Sign up here to our Participant Pool and you will be emailed whenever a study is running with details about payment, study type, length, etc.


CRAL research interests include:

  • Corpus-based language enquiry
  • Multi-modality and corpus linguistics
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Health communication
  • Professional communication
  • Psychological aspects of language acquisition and use
  • Multi-word unit formulaic language processing
  • Emotional responses to language
  • Infants and children learning word forms and dialects
  • Second language acquisition and pedagogy
  • Vocabulary studies
  • Motivation in the classroom
  • Interfaces of language and literature
  • Stylistics
  • Cognitive Poetics

Recently published

  • Buckler, H., Goy, H., & Johnson, E.K. (2018). What infant-directed speech tells us about the development of compensation for assimilation. Journal of Phonetics, 66, 45-62.
  • Conklin, K., Pellicer-Sánchez, A., & Carrol, G. (2018). An introduction to eye-tracking: A guide for applied linguistics research. Cambridge University Press.
  • Jones, L. (2018). ‘I'm not proud, I'm just gay’: Lesbian and gay youths' discursive negotiation of otherness. Journal of Sociolinguistics.
  • Morgan-Short, K., Marsden, E. J., Heil, J., Issa, B., Leow, R., Mikhaylova, A., Mikołajczak, S., Moreno, N., Slabakova, R. & Szudarski, P. (2018). Multi-site replication in SLA: Attention to form during listening and reading comprehension. Language Learning, 68(2), 392-437.
  • Mullany, L.J. (2018). The Sociolinguistics of Gender in Public Life. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  • Petty, S., Harvey, K., Griffiths, A., Coleston, D., & Dening, T. (2018). Emotional distress with dementia: a systematic review using corpus-based analysis and meta-ethnography. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 33(5), 679-687.
  • Pounds, G., Hunt, D., & Koteyko, N. (2018). Expression of empathy in a Facebook-based diabetes support group. Discourse, Context and Media.
  • Szudarski, P. (2018). Corpus linguistics for vocabulary. A guide for research. New York and London: Routledge.
  • Thompson, D., Ferreira, F., & Scheepers, C. (2018). One Step at a Time: Representational Overlap Between Active Voice, Be-passive, and Get-passive Forms. English Journal of Cognition, 1(1), 35.
  • Brookes, G. & Harvey, K. (2017). Just plain Wronga? A multimodal critical analysis of online payday loan discourse. Critical Discourse Studies, 14(2), 167-187.
  • Carter, R.A. & McCarthy, M.J. (2017), Spoken grammar: Where are we and where are we going? Applied Linguistics, 38(1), 1-20.
  • Christie, C., Mullany, L., & Chalpunik, M. (2017). Gender and (im)politeness. In: J. Culpeper & M. Haugh (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Linguistic (Im)politeness. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Collins, L.C. & Nerlich, B. (2016). Uncertainty discourses in the context of climate change: A corpus-assisted analysis of UK national newspaper articles Communications. The European Journal of Communication Research, 41(3), 291-313.
  • Macis, M., & Schmitt, N. (2017). Not just ‘small potatoes’: Knowledge of the idiomatic meanings of collocations. Language Teaching Research, 21(3), 321-340.
  • Mastropierro, L. (2017). Corpus Stylistics in Heart of Darkness and Its Italian Translations. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  • Szudarski, P. (2017). Corpus linguistics for vocabulary. A guide for research. New York and London: Routledge.
  • Atkins, S., Roberts, C., Hawthorne, K., & Greenhalgh, T. (2016). Simulated consultations: a sociolinguistic perspective. BMC medical education, 16(1), 1-9.
  • Dörnyei, Z. Henry, A., & Muir, C. (2016). Motivational currents in language learning: Frameworks for focused interventions. New York: Routledge.
  • Stockwell, P. (2016). ‘English Language Studies from Rhetoric to Applied English’. In: A. Hewings, L. Prescott, & P. Seargeant (Eds.), Futures for English Studies: Teaching Language, Literature and Creative Writing in Higher Education. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Sotirova, V. (2016). Empirical stylistics as a learning and research tool in the study of narrative viewpoint. In: M. Burke, S. Zyngier, & O. Fialho (Eds.) Scientific approaches to literature in learning environments.
  • Thompson, D., Leuthold, H., & Filik, R. (2016). Emotional responses to irony and emoticons in written language: Evidence from EDA and facial EMG. Psychophysiology, 53, 1054-1062.Guy, J., & Scott, R., Carrol, G., & Conklin, K. (2016). Editorial "Completeness" and the Challenges of Editing Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Prose Fiction. English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920, 59(4), 1-21.


Lavender Languages & Linguistics 24 Conference

The Lavender Languages and Linguistics conference, dedicated to language and sexuality research, has run annually since 1993.

In April 2017 – for the first time in its history – scholars convened in the UK, with the conference being hosted in Nottingham. Keynote speakers were William Leap, Helen Sauntson and Paul Baker.

For more information on the conference, visit the Lavender Languages and Linguistics 24 Conference website.


The Nottingham Workshop 2018

The workshop will take place over one and a half days on 25 & 26 June 2018 at Nottingham University.

The theme for the first day is ‘the WHY of text analysis’. In SFL discussions, it seems to be assumed that text analysis is an end in itself. In this part of the workshop we hope to tease out our various reasons for engaging in text analysis and to consider the suitability or otherwise of SFL for our various purposes.

The theme for the second day is ‘Different SFL approaches to Speech Function and Mood’. The aim of the second day is to consider different approaches to speech function and mood within SFL and invited speakers will be contributing one or more such positions.

There will also be time on both days for lots of discussion involving everyone in attendance. It will no doubt be a very interesting and stimulating two days!

To register, click here

Approaching the Historical: A Symposium on Early Modern and Medieval Stylistics (SEMMS)

Approaching the Historical: A Symposium on Early Modern and Medieval Stylistics (SEMMS) is a one-day symposium exploring the intersection of stylistics and early English literature.

It is organised by the University of Nottingham’s Stylistics & Discourse Analysis reading group within the Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics (CRAL), in collaboration with the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA).

The symposium will take place on 14 June 2017 at the University of Nottingham.

For more information click here


Open educational resources

MOOC: ‘How to read your boss’, October 2014

Dr. Mullany’s MOOC: ‘How to read your boss’ will run from 27th October to 7th November, via the University of Nottingham’s FutureLearn platform. The MOOC is based on the Linguistic Profiling Research Group.

You can also follow updates on the MOOC via the Twitter hashtag #FLreadyourboss.


MOOC: ‘How to read a mind’, March 2014

The course ‘ How to read a mind ’ offered an introduction to what has come to be known as cognitive poetics. Find out more about fictional minds in the video trailer below:

‘How to read a mind’ was the first in a series of ‘how to read’ courses which will be presented by applied linguists, discourse analysts and literary critics at The University of Nottingham.



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Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics

The University of Nottingham

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5900
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 5924