Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics
Close-up photograph of hands writing in pen in a notebook

Research projects

Our research employs a multitude of methods to explore a wide range of linguistic areas which has wide-reaching application and impact. Read here about our current and previous projects within CRAL.

Current projects

Post-it notes on a board.

Language and LGBTQ+ Youth: Analysing Marginalised Identities through an Intersectional Lens

British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship

Fellowship duration: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
Principal Investigator: Dr Lucy Jones

This research develops a new framework for the sociolinguistic analysis of intersectionality, whereby factors such as gender, race, and age combine to marginalise speakers in unique ways. It demonstrates how sociolinguists can account for this in their analyses of identity construction. The framework builds upon discourse analysis of interview data with LGBTQ+ youth, which has already been collected via ethnographic fieldwork (funded through a BA Small Grant). The analysis explores the links between the young people’s lived experiences and their positioning of themselves, through their language use, in relation to the wider world.

Through an exploration of how the young people communicate multifaceted and variable aspects of their identity, the intersectional framework will be outlined and demonstrated. Via a series of public engagement interventions developed in partnership with the young people, the research will also enhance understanding of the language of LGBTQ+ identity and the intersectional nature of structural inequality.

Open laptop on dark background.

Horizon: Data Driven Products

Funder: Engineering & Physical Science Research Council

Project duration: December 2020 - December 2025

Principal Investigator: Boriana Koleva (Computer Science), School of English Co-I: Svenja Adolphs

The Horizon institute is a multidisciplinary centre of excellence for Digital Economy (DE) research. The core mission of Horizon has been to balance the opportunities arising from the capture, analysis and use of personal data with an awareness and understanding of human and social values. Horizon now encompasses over 50 researchers, spanning Computing, Engineering, Law, Psychology, Social Sciences, Business and the Humanities.

This proposal builds on our established interdisciplinary competencies to deliver research and impact to ensure that future data-driven products can be both co-created and trusted by consumers.

Core to our current vision is the idea that future products will be hybrids of both the digital and the physical. Physical products are increasingly augmented with digital capabilities, from data footprints that capture their provenance to software that enables them to adapt their behaviour. Conversely, digital products are ultimately physically experienced by people in some real-world context and increasingly adapt to both.

Throughout we aim to continue to develop the capacity in our researchers, the wider DE research community and more broadly within society, to engage in responsible innovation using personal data within the Digital Economy.

Person with visible hearing aid.

Conversation behaviour in daily life: the effects of situation, hearing loss, and hearing-aid 

Funder: Economic & Social Research Council

Project duration: September 2021 – September 2025

Principal Investigator: Svenja Adolphs

People with hearing loss change their communication behaviour in various ways; avoiding social situations, partaking in them but not engaging, or engaging but failing to communicate satisfactorily. Such coping strategies are reflected in conversational behaviour patterns at microscopic (momentary, in conversation) and macroscopic (lifestyle, in social engagement) timescales. In this ESRC funded collaborative PhD project, Diana Zaitseva will first apply qualitative techniques to conceptualize verbal interaction behaviour in normal-hearing and hearing-impaired adults. Then she will harness novel technologies to acquire objective data about people’s daily-life conversation behaviour. The insights arising from this work may lead to improved hearing devices, and better counselling models in hearing rehabilitation.

This project is co-supervised between the School of English (Professor Svenja Adolphs) and the School of Medicine (Professor Graham Naylor). Sonova AG, the collaborating partner, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of hearing aids and cochlear implants. 

A sign on a wall with the word special collections visible.

The Nottingham Stylistics Toolkit

Funder: Arts & Humanities Research Council Impact Accelerator Account 

Project duration: February 2024 - July 2024

Principal Investigator: Peter Stockwell

The project revolves around the creation of an open-access online resource, ‘The Nottingham Stylistics Toolkit’. Aimed at UK teachers of English but also with wider international potential scope, this set of webpages offers authoritative definitions, explanations, illustrations, and reusable downloadable resources, drawing on the longstanding research expertise at Nottingham in the field of literary stylistics. Workshops supporting the launch of the Toolkit will be held in association with our educational charity partner, the EMC, with a view to a sustainable long-term relationship. The Toolkit will be maintained and curated to retain its currency into the future, beyond this impact funding. 

A series of cartoon speech bubbles.

Interactional Variation Online: Harnessing digital technologies in the digital humanities to analyse online discourse in different workplace contexts

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC/UKRI)

Project duration: 2021 - 2024

Principal investigator: Professor Svenja Adolphs (Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics)

Working with colleagues from Cardiff University, Mary Immaculate College, Swansea University, The University of Nottingham, University College Dublin, and University of Aberdeen, this AHRC/IRC funded project first aims to examine virtual workplace communication to gain depth of insight into the potential barriers to effective communication. Our second aim is to propose the next generation of frameworks for analysing online discourse and will make these frameworks available to all arts and humanities research and end user communities. This will lead to a step change in our ability to develop equality of access in online communication. The project team received £390,000 from AHRC and €270,000 from IRC for this project, to be undertaken from 2021-24.

You can visit the project website for more information.

Previous research projects
Project title Principal Investigator Awarding body / Award Duration
Wild Swimming and Blue Spaces: Mobilising Interdisciplinary Knowledge and Partnerships to combat health inequalities at scale PI: Svenja Adolphs (English)  AHRC 04/01/2022– 31/01/2023
Coronavirus Discourses: Linguistic Evidence For Effective Public Health Messaging PI: Svenja Adolphs (English)  AHRC, £365,126 04/01/2021– 03/07/2022
Generation Z: Communication and campaigns to support and protect young people during Covid-19 PI: Louise Mullany, Co-I: Lucy Jones UKRI, £14,361 01/01/2021– 31/03/2021


See more previous research projects

Back to top

Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics

The University of Nottingham

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