My current research is in the field of corpus pragmatics. It focuses on the creation of pragmatic profiles of Business English by applying corpus analysis and natural language processing (NLP) techniques to large collections of real-world data. It addresses the following questions:

  • What are the main pragmatic characteristics of Business English?
  • Are there significant pragmatic variations in spoken, written, and email Business English?
  • How do these findings compare to the pragmatic features of other types of communication, such as everyday conversation?

The techniques used to extract pragmatic profiles can also be adapted to further our understanding of communication in other specialised domains such as social work or health communication, addressing issues such as the pragmatic strategies used in presenting upsetting information, or in interacting with patients of different ages.

My postdoctoral research project focused on understanding pragmatic content of short texts, especially those written by learners of English, for the ultimate goal of automated assessment. In particular, I looked at emails in a workplace context, to see whether it is possible to automatically recognise the speech acts contained in each sentence by relying on a combination of lexical and syntactic features. The data collected and analysed for this research also offers insights into the patterns preferred by L2 English learners in formulating speech acts, which can be compared to L1 models.

My PhD research was concerned with errors made by non-native English speakers in preposition and determiner use, and how we can automatically detect such errors and offer suggestions for more idiomatic choices. For more details, please refer to the publications listed here.

My M.Phil dissertation was on using clustering to improve Italian-English machine translation of noun-adjective pairs.


last updated June 2013