Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics

Stylistics and Discourse Analysis Reading Group


The Stylistics and Discourse Analysis Research Group (SDA) was founded in January 2013 to enhance and facilitate interdisciplinary discussion and potential networking among postgraduate students in various areas of stylistics and discourse analysis. The group is open to both students and members of staff. 

We meet every fortnight usually to discuss selected papers, testing the effectiveness of their approaches on literary and non-literary texts, but also incorporate some workshop-based meetings.

Meeting dates and times

​The group usually meets fortnightly.

​Monday 4:30 - 6:00 pm​​

Venue: A35, Trent Building, University Park Campus


Email Bernardo Silva if you are interested in joining the group or want to ask any questions.



Alice Haines

Alice’s doctoral research uses a cognitive poetic approach to the study of humour in literature. She is developing a spatial model of humour that links the cognition of humour to its social distancing and cohesion effects. By examining humour in contemporary fictional texts, she aims to show how the linguistic construction of humour metaphorically displaces readers in a way that reflects the way humour affects their emotional proximity to or distance from characters in the text. More generally, she is interested in the way texts can affect the ideological positioning of readers and what causes readers to be responsive or resistant to the ideological impositions of a text.

View Alice's profile.

Bernardo Silva
Bernardo's PhD research comprises an investigation of style in the fiction of John Dos Passos. More specifically, he seeks to understand the semantic workings of Free Indirect Style and Interior Monologue in the texture of Dos Passos' novels by complementing conventional stylistic analysis with a consideration of literary criticism, empirically collected reader response data and manuscript revisions. His thesis is intended as a literary linguistic contribution to the wider resurgence of scholarly and critical interest in this author's often neglected oeuvre. More broadly, Bernardo is interested in matters of stylistics, narratology, poetics and experientiality.  
Ella Wydrzynska

Ella’s research centres on the language of children’s fiction, stylistically examining complex literary strategies that have traditionally been considered absent in such material. She aims to illustrate that children’s fiction is, in fact, rife with linguistic and structural complexity, drawing particular attention to postmodernism and metafiction – terms which are seldom associated with children’s books in existing criticism. By comparing contemporary popular Junior Fiction with texts commonly used to satisfy the National Curriculum, in conjunction with empirical research involving student interviews, Ella hopes to establish whether there is enough stylistic complexity in children’s fiction to warrant it being used in the classroom to help engage low-attaining students and so-called ‘Reluctant Readers’.

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Leigh Harrington

Leigh’s research is situated in the field of im/politeness research within applied pragmatics. Her thesis uses authentic spoken data from debt collection encounters to explore the complex facework at play in this context. She is interested in developing existing conceptions of face in ways that ensure they have real-world applications and implications so as to encourage an increased synthesis between linguistic theory and working practitioners.

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Lucy Peacock
Lucy’s PhD research topic is empathy and literature – what is it that can make us feel real emotions for characters who don’t exist? Taking a cross-disciplinary approach involving stylistics, cognitive linguistics and social psychology, she hopes to further our understanding of the topic generally, and also to identify ways in which this increased understanding could be used to help motivate young readers.
Sarah Bennett

Sarah’s doctoral research focuses on the contentious and increasingly prevalent rhetoric of conspiracy theories. Neither pathologising and ridiculing, nor lauding as the path to truth, her approach aims to firmly transcend such bias. The research positions the explanations as a timeless rhetoric, constantly morphing in response to the ebbs and tides of cultural change, inviting the reader/ listener to become active primarily through assessing their plausibility. Through the lens of Critical Discourse Analysis, she aims to address how issues pertaining to morality and power are represented in conspiracy theories and, in turn, how this implicates the reader/ listener to accept, reject or merely entertain a particular narrative.

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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