09 December 2020 - CREL Webinar | What the linguistics of “if” could teach social psychology, health psychology, and the study of rationality.

Speaker: Dr Peter Collins, Lecturer in Psychology, School of Human Sciences

Video | Presentation Slides

Abstract: We are famously prone to framing effects: we tend, for example, to make difference choices when a treatment is described in terms of lives saved rather than lives lost. On the dominant view, these effects are irrational but effective ways to persuade, but this view largely neglects language. I argue that, to understand or predict such effects, we should investigate their linguistic content. I focus on the goal-framing effect: the alleged persuasive difference between messages such as “If you give up smoking, you’ll reduce your risk of lung cancer” and “If you don’t… you won’t”. I will show how a large literature in social and health psychology neglects the meaning of “if”, contributing to inconsistent findings, and will sketch the basis of an alternative account.

25 November 2020 - CREL Webinar | How (and why) to research multilingually? Challenges and opportunities.

Speaker: Dr Erika Kalocsanyiova, Research Fellow, Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences

Video | Presentation Slides

An important part of mainstream research is currently being conducted in more than one language, especially where marginalised and disadvantaged communities are concerned. The role and impact of interpreters and translators on knowledge generation, as well as issues of access, power, and language bias, require an active and careful consideration from planning, through implementation to dissemination of research findings.

In this talk, I will introduce the concept of "researching multilingually" (Holmes et al. 2013) as an emerging dimension of research training and practice. Drawing on examples from a linguistic ethnographic research conducted with refugees in Luxembourg, I will discuss ways of engaging with multilingual research data and outputs.

The focus will be on two common aspects of qualitative research: interviewing and transcription. Through the microanalysis of an interpreter-mediated research interview, I will first show how to tackle some of the complexities of cross-language interviewing and meaning construction. The second part of the talk will focus on the processes and politics of multilingual transcription. I will explore transcripts that capture mixed language practices and/or the voices of refugees who are striving to be themselves in a foreign language to shed light on the analytical and ethical consequences of transcription decisions.

Narratives Seminar Series

Term 1 Programme, 2020-21

Wednesday 30th September 2020 Professor Susan Rowland (Pacifica Graduate Institute, California): "Arts-based Research and a Novel about Celtic London" - Presentation Slides | Video

Wednesday 11th November 2020, 6-8pm - Professor David Fairer (University of Leeds): "Jumping the Creative Fence? From Lit. Crit. to Historical Murder Mysteries" -

Wednesday 20th January 2021, 6-8pm - Dr Maria J. Arche and Dr Justine Baillie (University of Greenwich): "Ways to dissect a narrative: views of a literary critique and a linguist"


Biographies - Dr María J. Arche is Associate Professor of Linguistics & Spanish and Director of the Centre for Research & Enterprise in Language (CREL). Her research falls within the syntax-semantics interface focusing on Tense, Aspect, Argument Structure and copular verbs. She has studied these topics in the grammar of Spanish and has also investigated their crosslinguistic variation and acquisition. Dr Arche has been a Visiting Professor in Linguistics at UCLA and post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Southampton, visiting scholar at the department of Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and is a member of an international coalition fostering projects about Grammatical Variation and Acquisition led by Dr Angeliek van Hout, funded by the Netherlands Academy of Science (2014-2017).

Dr Justine Baillie completed her PhD in Literature at Goldsmiths, University London, took up her at the University of Greenwich in 2003, and was promoted in 2007. She has had responsibility for study abroad programmes across the university and has led courses at all levels on English degree programmes. As Leader of English MA: Literary London, from 2011-2015, Dr. Baillie re-designed and marketed the programme. She continues to lead the Text and Theory MA core course, supervise MA dissertation students and contribute to the core course, Imagining the Metropolis. Dr. Baillie supervises PhD students in gender and diaspora studies, American literature and African-American writing and welcomes further applications in these fields.


This new seminar series is a venue for inter-disciplinary explorations on the theme of "Narratives", a central concept in the fields of literature studies, creative writing and cultural & social practices in general, but also a crucial format to assess language ability. "What is a narrative?", "how do narratives work?" or "what can narrative ability tell us about language development and pathologies? are questions of interest not just to those working with literature and language areas, but to any researcher interested in informing or educating.

Appealing to a cross-disciplinary audience and welcoming feedback, contributions and ideas from seminar-attendees and the CREL community alike, the series is designed to foster longer-term connections and knowledge-acquisition that will result in new research outputs, public engagement initiatives and enterprise activities.


15 July 2020 - Dr Maria Arche awarded the NIAS-Lorentz Thematic Group recognition as Principal Investigator

Dr Maria Arche, Director of the Centre for Research & Enterprise in Language (CREL), is the Principal Investigator of an interdisciplinary group formed by Dr Angeliek van Hout (co-PI), Center for Language and Cognition, University of  Groningen, Dr Alex Perovic, Psychology & Language Sciences, University College London, Josep Quer, ICREA-Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona and Prof. Petra Schulz, Theory and Pedagogy of Bilingual Acquisition, University of Frankfurt.

NIAS is one of the institutes of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) – its mission is to provide a physical and intellectual space for advanced research in the humanities and social sciences that is driven by curiosity and cross-discipline collaboration. NIAS is committed to supporting independent research and knowledge exchange in a setting that is both collaborative and multi-disciplinary – breaking down cross-discipline barriers and facilitating innovative advances in the process.

20 March 2020 - Opening of the Final Round of the UK Linguistics Olympiad (cancelled due to Covid-19)

The Opening of the Final Round of the UK Linguistics Olympiad 2020 has been postponed; date to be determined.

The UKLO final itself took place at participants' homes, through a sophisticated system that included online invigilators. A squad is now ready to represent the UK when the International Olympiad can be safely celebrated.


The UK Linguistics Olympiad (UKLO) is a competition for any school-age student where participants see data from one of the world's 7,000 languages and need to crack the code. The winners of the regional hubs are coming to Greenwich (20-22 March) to compete for the finalist position and represent the UK at the International Linguistics Olympiad in July 20-24th, at the University of Applied Sciences in Ventspils, Latvia.

At the opening of this occasion we will be joined by Alex Bellos, author of the bestselling popular maths books Alex's Adventures in Numberland and Alex Through the Looking-Glass. He is the Guardian's maths and puzzles blogger, a regular science presenter on BBC Radio 4, a supporter of UKLO and is currently preparing a book on linguistics puzzles. There will also be a round table discussion all about the relations between language and mathematics.

Programme for the evening:

18:30: Welcome to the second round of the 10th edition of the UK Linguistics Olympiad (UKLO)

19:00: Curiosities of Counting, Alex Bellos

19:45: Round Table on Maths and Language Analysis with:

  • María J Arche, (Linguist, University of Greenwich)
  • Alex Bellos (Mathematician)
  • Paul Gleister (Mathematician, University of Reading, Former Chair of the Joint Mathematical Council of the UK (JMC)
  • Vera Hohaus (Linguist, The University of Manchester)
  • Richard Hudson (Linguist, UCL and BA Fellow, UKLO chair)
  • Tony Mann (Mathematician, University of Greenwich)
  • Luisa Martí (Linguist, Queen Mary University of London)
  • Neil Saunders (Mathematician, University of Greenwich)
  • Neil Sheldon (Statistician, UKLO Vice-Chair)
  • Graeme Trousdale (Linguist, UKLO Vice-Chair, UKLO trainer)

Past events

19 May 2020 - CREL Webinar, Defining the Field: Category Problems in Research. The example of the Trade and Professional Press 1845-1900.

Speaker: Professor Andrew King, Professor of English Literature and Literary Studies

Watch the talk here

Abstract: Whenever we do research we need to be clear about our research questions. To do that also means being clear about our analytic and descriptive categories. This paper considers those problems when faced with mapping a previously uncharted area of media and literary history, the Victorian trade and professional press, and also why that area remains unknown when all readers of this abstract will have been heavily influenced by such periodicals either directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously, whether the THE, the TLS, the Grocer, the Builder, the British Underwriter, the Engineer, the Law Magazine or the Journal for Advances in Manufacturing. What academic discipline would such a study fit into and what methodologies would therefore be used to pursue it? What might be the advantages and disadvantages of each methodology? At a fundamental level, what can be considered a "trade" and "professional" periodical and how is the field to be defined and subdivided into domains of knowledge, morphologies, genetics, development characteristics, environment, function?  Crucially, who is to define these categories and how? Only having considered these pre-questions can we begin to forward our research, thereby gaining greater clarity of the history, practices, limits and possibilities of our own fields and, indeed, of our lives more generally.

26 February 2020 - CREL Seminar, Syntax and Semantics in Mathematics and Mathematics Education

Speaker: Dr Neil Saunders, Senior Lecturer in Mathematical Sciences

Venue: King William Building, KW002, 6-7pm

Abstract: This will be an expository talk into what language, syntax and semantics mean to a research mathematician, and will also explore these concepts from an educational point of view. Following Easdown (2006), we will provide a variety of examples of 'enlightening errors' in mathematical/logical reasoning, committed by students and seasoned researchers alike that reveal the perennial tension between syntax and semantics in mathematics. As Easdown argues, a heightened awareness of this tension and its possible resolution in certain scenarios may lead to better student experiences in their mathematical learning, enabling more robust and creative thinking. No prior mathematical knowledge will be required for this talk, which is aimed to promote interdisciplinary discussion and possible research collaborations in the CREL spirit.

22 January 2020 - CREL Seminar, What can "semantic" associations tell us about sexism?

SpeakerDr Yang Ye, School of Human Sciences

Venue: Queen Anne Court, QA075, 6pm

Abstract: In the last few decades, one of the most significant developments in social psychology is the emergence and popularization of so-called "implicit" measures (e.g., the implicit association test, the evaluative priming task). Such measures provide indirect assessment of psychological constructs such as attitudes and stereotypes, using tasks (e.g., reaction-time based) that seem to be irrelevant to the construct assessed. They are in sharp contrast to traditional self-report measures, which are often criticized to be prone to the influence of respondent's self-presentational motivation. In this talk, Dr Yang Ye will present research on the semantic misattribution procedure and talk about what it is, where it comes from, and how to apply this procedure to the assessment of implicit gender stereotyping at the individual level. He will present empirical evidence on the psychometrics properties and construct validity for this measure.

11 December 2019 - CREL Seminar, Miscommunications and the Language of New Media

SpeakersDr Maria Korolkova & Prof Stephen Kennedy, School of Design

Venue: King William 302, 6pm

At this CREL talk, Dr Maria Korolkova and Prof Steve Kennedy from the School of Design will share their research on miscommunications as an emerging field in media theory. They will be discussing their chapters from the forthcoming book Miscommunications: Errors, Mistakes and the Media (edited by Maria Korolkova and Timothy Barker, under contract with Bloomsbury Academics).

The Force of Falsity
Maria Korolkova

What happens when communication breaks down? How can we understand our place in a world that seems dominated by misleading information? Is it the condition for miscommunication, mistakes and errors that is characteristic of digital culture in general? And if mistakes and errors have a certain power, what stands behind it? To address these questions, my talk will be focusing on some philosophical, linguistic and media theoretical inquiries that address contemporary culture as a terrain of miscommunication.

The Guardians of the Possible
Steve Kennedy

In his book Rome: The First Book of Foundations, Michel Serres describes the fervent activity of termites as they construct their improbable towers. Whilst this activity demonstrates a degree of order, Serres also postulates an element of deviance and anomie. The intention of this talk is to argue for an approach that designs complexity back into the system. It will challenge the received wisdom, prevalent in western thought, that reason serves to bring a coherent and universal order to chaos when in effect it imposes certain very specific patterns on a world no longer conducive to such an ordering.

20 November 2019 - CREL Seminar, Spelling as statistical learning: evidence from learning experiments with 7-year-old children 

Speaker: Dr Anna Samara, Faculty of Education and Health

Venue: King William 002, at 18:00, followed by informal wine reception

Abstract: Learning to spell is a vital yet understudied part of literacy development. It is also a challenging task: In inconsistent orthographies such as English and French, only few words can be spelled accurately by mapping phonemes (sounds) to their highest frequency graphemes (letters); most vowel sounds have, in fact, multiple spellings. In English, for example, /ε/ is most commonly spelled with the letter e (as in bed), but it can also be spelled with the letters ai (said), ea (head), ie (friend), and eo (leopard). How do children learn such inconsistent sound-letter correspondences? In this talk, I will present data from typically developing children that suggest that learners use the same domain-general statistical learning device believed to operate in spoken language (Saffran et al. 1996) to extract some untaught probabilistic spelling 'rules'
. Five learning experiments with artificial lexicons probe precisely what patterns young spellers can learn, and under what circumstances, to shed light on underlying learning mechanisms. Implications for theories of literacy development and broad educational implications are discussed.

24 October 2019 - Discussion Series: Persistent issues in Language Analysis, the individual/stage-level contrast

Venue: Hamilton House, 15 Park Vista, Greenwich, London, SE10 9LZ

9:30-10:20Professor Gennaro Chierchia, Harvard University
How generic are I-Level predicates? Remarks on Magri's 2009 proposal
10:20-11:00Professor Giorgio Magri, French National Centre for Scientific Research
11:00-11:30Coffee break
11:30-12:20Dr María J. Arche, University of Greenwich and
Professor Timothy Stowell, University of California Los Angeles
Dispositional adjectives: characterizing and episodic predication
12:20-13:00Dr Víctor Acedo-Matellán, University of Oxford
13:00-14:00Lunch break
14:00-14:50Dr Matthew Husband, University of Oxford
Decomposing States
14:50-15:30Dr Vera Hohaus, University of Manchester
15:30-16:00Coffee Break
16:00-16:50Professor Molly Diesing, Cornell University
Stage and Individual Level Predicates at the Syntax and Semantics Interface
16:50-17.30Professor Louise Mc Nally, University Pompeu Fabra
17:30-18:00Open Discussion
Where in the grammar does the IL/SL distinction reside?
19:00Dinner at the Old Brewery

22 October 2019 - CPD Workshop 'Exploratory Practice: Teachers and learners working together to understand their classroom lives


  • Inés Kayon de Miller (PUC-Rio, Brazil)
  • Adriana N. Nóbrega (PUC-Rio, Brazil)
  • Isabel Cristina R. Moraes Bezerra (UERJ, Brazil)
  • Assia Slimani-Rolls (Regent's University London)
  • Anna Costantino (University of Greenwich)

This workshop will offer combined 'practical' and 'theoretical' opportunities for understanding the underlying rationale of Exploratory Practice (EP), developed in collaboration with Dick Allwright (Lancaster, UK) and the Rio de Janeiro Exploratory Practice Group. Starting from reflection on their own and their learners' classroom puzzles, participants will be guided to understand how teachers and learners can work jointly for enhanced understandings of what happens in their classroom lives. There will also be opportunities for participants to create and discuss possible adaptations of their regular activities into Potentially Exploitable Pedagogic Activities. Such notions as 'Planning for understanding', 'Quality of classroom life', and 'Sustain ability of EP', among others that characterize the theoretical foundations of the EP framework, will be discussed on the basis of our long-term experience with EP and our involvement with the recent international research project with Brazilian teachers sponsored by the British Council.

3 & 4 October 2019 - Tenselessness 2; Universidade Nova de Lisboa, organised by Centro de Linguística da Universidade de Lisboa (CLUL) & CREL

Keynote Speakers:

  • Professor Martina Wilschko (University of British Columbia & Pompeu Fabra)
  • Professor Judith Tonhauser (The Ohio State University)
  • Professor Antonio Fábregas (University of Tromso)
  • Professor Moiá (University of Lisbon)
  • Dr Anne Mucha, Leibniz-Institute for the German Language, Mannheim

2 October 2019 - Professor Li Yang, Research Paper Talk

Title: Grit Lit in the American South as a Class Counter-Discourse

Since the 1980s, with the rise of Grit Lit, a counter-discourse to the Southern Renaissance, the trend in southern literature has changed dramatically from aristocratic tradition to poor-folk perspective. Poor-white writers Harry Crews, Larry Brown, Dorothy Allison and Lee Smith (to name only a few) tell the stories of their families and class as insiders with unparalleled authenticity. They claim and defend their humble pedigree, articulate their survival- first creed, write about their miserable rural past, redefine poor-white social and cultural identity and dismantle their stereotypic single-dimensioned image. Their works have met with considerable critical and public claim and even become a marketable "brand" (Scott Romine) in the south and even the United States. Obviously as an important genre in southern literature it has brought about the most significant changes in it in the 20th century.

Li Yang is professor of English at Tongji University in Shanghai, China. His academic interests have been class, gender and place in American fictions for two decades starting from his visit to University of Florida as a Fulbright research scholar from 1998 to 1999 and he has been publishing articles and books on these motifs since then. This year Tongji University provided Professor Li Yang with funding of 60,000 Chinese yuan (approximately £6,700) for research abroad, with the possibility of funded staff exchange. Having read Dr. Justine Baillie's publications on English and American fictions, Professor Li Yang applied to visit University of Greenwich as part of an exchange of research on the issues of gender and class in literary studies.

11 September 2019 - Bayesian data analysis, School of Maths & Computing & CREL

Led by Dr Ana Paula Palacios


  • Dr Luciana Dalla Valle, Lecturer in Statistics, Plymouth University
  • Dr Audra Virbickaite, ECR, UIB
  • Dr Michael Wiper, Professor at UC3M

15 July 2019 - Linguistics workshop; International Academy of Greenwich

1 July 2019 - Raising Aspirations Day

Thomas Tallis Secondary School and Modern Foreign Languages and History Department

Year 10 Thomas Tallis students
Ms Clare Carter-Elliott 
Dr Maria J. Arche, Dr Cecile Laval and Dr Michael Talbot

27 June 2019 - Syntax of Tense 2

This is our second discussion day on the Syntax of Tense at Greenwich and this time we count with the very authors of the papers that have influenced the work of so many throughout the years: Professors Tim Stowell (UCLA) and Hamida Demirdache (CNRS-University of Nantes).

1 May 2019 - CREL Launch

Listen to speeches situating CREL within the scene of research on language

Professor David Adger Presentation Slides