The team of investigators, research associates and digital humanities developers working on Linguistic DNA are based at the Universities of Sheffield, Glasgow, and Sussex.
Susan Fitzmaurice, Principal Investigator (Sheffield)
Susan is Professor of English Language at the University of Sheffield. Her principal areas of research are within the history of the English language and English historical sociolinguistics. She has worked extensively on semantic-pragmatic change, focussing on English in the eighteenth century and latterly, in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She is particularly interested in the contexts in which semantic change takes place and in the social structure of polysemy over time. She is leading on research theme 1, namely, exploring the particular characteristics of paradigmatic terms, the discursive contexts in which they are used and how they spread across genres. A key question for this theme is how the early modern genealogies that emerge inform modern forms of knowledge and perception.
Marc Alexander, Co-Investigator (Glasgow)
Marc is Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Glasgow. He works mainly on digital humanities and the study of meaning in English, with a focus on lexicology, semantics, and stylistics through the application of cognitive and corpus linguistics. Marc’s research interests primarily centre around the digital and cognitive analysis of language using the Historical Thesaurus of English; he is the third Director of the Thesaurus, following Professor Michael Samuels and Professor Christian Kay. Marc leads the Glasgow part of Linguistic DNA, focusing on our third research theme.
Michael Pidd, Co-Investigator (Sheffield)
Michael oversees the work of the Digital Humanities Institute (DHI) at the University of Sheffield, one of the UK’s leading digital humanities centres. He has 22 years’ experience of managing large research teams and currently oversees the delivery of 19 externally funded projects as well as the sustainability of 30 publicly available online resources. Michael’s role on the Linguistic DNA project is to oversee all technical development, supporting the project’s exploration of appropriate digital methods for data retrieval, modelling and visualisation.
Justyna Robinson, Co-Investigator (Sussex)
Justyna is Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Sussex. She is interested in developing methods for tracing and analysing changes in lexical meaning by incorporating insights from sociolinguistics, cognitive linguistics, and corpus linguistics. Justyna has particularly focussed on discovering socio-cognitive conditioning of semantic change in progress. She has worked on semantic obsolescence, folk and dialect semantics. Her methodological contributions develop notions of semantic variable, semantic lectometry, or semantic behavioural profiling. She is leading on research theme 2 which involves exploring the linguistic characteristics of concepts and their constituent keywords and how they change over time. Justyna is also responsible for overseeing the delivery of the methodology workshops and managing the project’s dissemination plan and publications.
Fraser Dallachy, Research Associate (Glasgow)
Fraser’s interests are in historical linguistics and literature, and the physical objects—such as manuscripts and early printed books—from which we draw our knowledge of earlier stages of the English language. He has previously worked on the SAMUELS project (funded by the AHRC and ESRC), which aimed to create semantic tagging software to be applied to historical as well as present-day forms of the English language and thus further open up historical textual datasets such the EEBO-TCP corpus for automated analysis. Linguistic DNA is a natural extension of this work, further developing methodologies for exploring historical linguistics through large textual corpora. Alongside this Fraser is personally interested in the language of ‘good behaviour’ in the middle ages, particularly as used in the many conduct books (for example the Distichs of Cato and the Stans Puer ad Mensam) which sought to dictate reams of rules to their audiences, and his PhD research was codicological, examining the manuscript sources of Benedict Burgh’s Middle English translation of the Distichs. Fraser is research associate on research theme 3.
Iona Hine, Research Associate (Sheffield)
Iona’s thesis, “Englishing the Bible in Early Modern Europe” (University of Sheffield, 2014), combined linguistics, theology, and social history to show that in English as in other languages, ideological concerns tended to outweigh linguistic expertise in the evaluation of good vernacular translation. She has an MA in Jewish-Christian Relations (CJCR/APU, 2003), a BA in Theology and Religious Studies (Cambridge, 2001), and a PGCE in Secondary Religious Studies. Iona has published on biblical literacy, drawing comparisons between early modern and current rhetoric, and retains an interest in William Blake’s art and poetry. She speaks English, French, and Hindi, and reads Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish, German, and Dutch. Based at the Humanities Research Institute, Iona is also coordinator for the Sheffield Centre for Early Modern Studies. She previously contributed to another DHI | Sheffield project, transcribing and recording ecclesiastical court cases for Intoxicants in Early Modernity. Iona is research associate for research theme 1.
Seth Mehl, Research Associate (Sheffield)
Seth’s primary research interests lie in corpus linguistics, lexical semantics, and variation and change in the English language. His doctoral dissertation at University College London (UCL) investigated the International Corpus of English to describe semasiological and onomasiological variation in English verbs, looking in particular at what we can know about semantics, and variation, by looking at corpora. He is research associate for research theme 2 on the Linguistic DNA project, which approaches semantic and conceptual change from a lexical perspective, including onomasiological and semasiological investigation, as well as investigation of word relations including antonymy.
Katherine Rogers, Digital Humanities Developer (Sheffield)
Katherine is based in the Digital Humanities Institute at the University of Sheffield, developing software for projects based there. Since joining the DHI, Kathy has worked on over fifteen digital humanities projects including Bess of Hardwick’s Letters, Intoxicants and Early Modernity, and Connected Histories.
Matthew Groves, Digital Humanities Developer (Sheffield)
Brian Aitken, Digital Humanities Research Officer (Glasgow)
Brian is the Digital Humanities Research Officer for the School of Critical Studies at the University of Glasgow. He is responsible for developing, implementing and supporting the School’s extensive collection of digital resources, principally those developed through externally and internally funded research projects. Since taking up the post in 2012 he has developed the online resources for a number of major research projects, including The Historical Thesaurus of English, Mapping Metaphor, A Thesaurus of Old English, the Dictionary of the Scots Language and the Scottish Corpus of Texts and Speech, and has contributed to other major research projects such as SAMUELS. He has also developed a number of teaching apps such as the Scots Dictionary for Schools app and the Essentials of Old English app. Prior to joining the School, Brian spent more than 10 years working as lead developer and technical advisor on a broad range of Digital Humanities and Digital Preservation projects at the University of Glasgow’s Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (HATII) and also worked as website developer for the University’s Archive Services. A list of the projects Brian has been involved with at Glasgow can be found on his Digital Humanities webpage.