English Language and Linguistics
My most recent interest is in written bilingual and multilingual texts - magazines, websites,†signs and other texts which contain a mixture of languages. Another main interest of mine is in the Sociolinguistics of Orthography, a relatively unexplored field which examines the cultural and social aspects of spelling and writing systems.†My other main interests are in pidgin and creole languages and in the analysis of conversational code switching in bilingual communities.
PhD Supervision Interests
I would be interested in supervising research on the following topics:
Bilingualism, code-switching (particularly written code-switching, multilingual literacies and multilingual texts and signs), pidgins and creoles, sociolinguistics of orthography
My most recent interest is in written bilingual and multilingual texts - magazines, websites, emails and other texts which contain a mixture of languages. I am now co-editing a book on the topic with Shahrzad Mahootian and Carla Jonsson. My approach includes what has traditionally been called code-switching (i.e. the use of two languages within one text) but goes beyond that, to explore multilingual texts as literacy practices which draw on different repertoires of languages, visual images, spatial arrangements etc. See my plenary lecture from the Third Conference on Language Contact in Times of Globalization (LCTG3), Unimagined Communities(July 2011).
Another main interest of mine is in the Sociolinguistics of Orthography, a relatively unexplored field which examines the cultural and social aspects of spelling and writing systems. My book Spelling and Society: The culture and politics of orthography around the world was published by Cambridge University Press in 2007. It should be appearing in paperback (printed on demand) by mid-2011, at a price of £17.99, orUS$30.99.One recent review is by Harriet Ottenheimer in Language Documentation and Conservation 3:2 (2009), free to download at http://nflrc.hawaii.edu/ldc/December2009/ . Her review begins with the kind words: 'Spelling and society is a very important book'. Other reviews have so far appeared in Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 31: 2, 217 ? 218 (by Tadhg ” hIfearnŠin),The Journal of American Culture 31, 250-251 (2008), English in Education (Vol.42 No.2, 2008), Written Language and Literacy Vol 11, No 2 (2008), pp.235-236 , Functions of Language 16:1. 161-164 (2009) and California Linguistic Notes (Volume XXXIII, No. 1 Winter, 2008). At least one other person has read the book too, according to the THES.
I am on the editorial board of the journal Writing Systems Research and have written an article on "Sociolinguistic approaches to writing systems research" which appears in the first issue. You can view the first issue free online here.
My other main interests have been in pidgin and creole languages and in the analysis of conversational code switching in bilingual communities - interests which come together in my (1993) book, London Jamaican (Longman), which is about the use of English and Creole among Caribbeans in London.
From here you can link to my British Creole Resources page which has information and teaching materials relating to Creole in Britain.
I am also interested in corpus linguistics - especially problems of bilingual spoken corpora - and have set up a corpus of written British Creole. I am a member of the Steering Committee of the LIPPS group, which is developing standards for the transcription and encoding of multilingual data, and aims to set up an international database of code-switching data. Our publication, the LIDES Coding Manual: A Document for Preparing and Analysing Language Interaction Data contains advice, guidelines and recommended transcription standards for researchers with bilingual data.
Prior to coming to Lancaster I did research in the field of syntax, and wrote The Syntax of Serial Verbs (Benjamins, 1987), a book which deals with a construction type found in creole languages, West African languages and Chinese. I have previously done freelance film and video work. My book Contact Languages: pidgins and creoles was published by Macmillan in 1997.
Taking A-level English Language? Link to the Linguistics Department's English Language A-level Web Site
Undergraduate: Introduction to Language in Society (LING153), Language and Identities: gender, ethnicity and class (LING307)
Postgraduate: Bilingualism, Qualitative research methods.
My personal web page with information about my research interests and publications
Mark Sebba - publications arranged by topic (most recent first)
Sociolinguistics of orthography
(to appear 2011) 'Introduction: Orthography as Social Action' In Alexandra Jaffe, Jannis Androutsopoulos, Mark Sebba, Sally Johnson (eds) Orthography as Social Action: Scripts, Spelling, Identity and Power. Mouton De Gruyter.
2009 "Sociolinguistic approaches to writing systems research". Writing Systems Research 1.1., 35-49. Read the article here.
2009 'Spelling as a social practice'. In Maybin, Janet and Joan Swann (eds) Routledge Companion to English Language Studies. London, Routledge.
2007 Spelling and Society: The Culture and Politics of orthography around the world. Cambridge U.P.
2006 'Ideology and Alphabets in the former USSR.' Language Problems and Language Planning 30:2 (2006), 99-125. [Working paper version downloadable here]
2003 'Spelling rebellion'. In Discourse Constructions of Youth Identities, ed. J. Androutsopoulos and A. Georgakopoulou, pp.151-172. Amsterdam, Benjamins
2000 Orthography as literacy: how Manx was 'reduced to writing'. In N. Ostler and B. Rudes, eds., Endangered Languages and Literacy: proceedings of the fourth FEL Conference, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, 21-24 September 2000, pp. 63-70. [Working paper version downloadable here]
2000 'Orthography and ideology: issues in Sranan spelling.' Linguistics 38-5, 925-948.
1998 Phonology meets ideology: the meaning of orthographic practices in British Creole. Language Problems and Language Planning 22:1, 19-47.
Written code-switching, mixed language texts and the linguistic landscape
(forthcoming) 'Researching and theorising mixed-language texts': To appear in Sebba, M, Mahootian, S and Jonsson, C (eds). "Language mixing and code-switching in writing: approaches to mixed-language written discourse". Routledge.
(in preparation) 'Multilingualism in written discourse: approaches to the analysis of multilingual texts'. (Please email me to request copy, July/August 2011)
(2010) A multimodal analytical framework for multilingual texts. (Draft no longer available).
(2010) 'Reading the multilingual textual space'. Paper presented at Sociolinguistics Symposium 18, Southampton, 4th September 2010.
(2010) Review of Peter Backhaus (2005) Linguistic Landscapes: A Comparative Study of Urban Multilingualism in Tokyo. Writing Systems Research 2. Download pdf version here. doi: 10.1093/wsr/wsp006
(2010) 'Discourses in transit'. In Semiotic Landscapes: Language, Image, Space edited by Adam Jaworski and Crispin Thurlow, pp. 59-76. Continuum.
(2008) Mixed-language texts and websites: a framework for analysis. (Unpublished conference paper, SS17, Amsterdam)
2006 'Written code-switching' to the 'semiotics of mixed-language texts': a new approach to plurilingual writings (Unpublished conference paper, SS16, Limerick)
2005 Towards a typology and analytical framework for mixed-language texts (Unpublished conference paper, ISB5, Barcelona)
2002 Regulated Spaces: language alternation in writing. (Unpublished conference paper for colloquium on Code-Switching, Class and Ideology 2nd International Symposium on Bilingualism, SIB2002, Vigo)
Code-switching and bilingual communities
(to appear 2011) Dray, Susan and Sebba, Mark. "Practices, ethnicity and authenticity: 'Creole' and youth language in a British inner-city community". In Variation in the Caribbean: From creole continua to individual agency edited by Lars Hinrichs and Joseph Farquharson. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Postprint here.
(2010) 'Societal Bilingualism' In: The SAGE Handbook of Sociolinguistics, edited by Ruth Wodak, Barbara Johnstone and Paul Kerswill. Los Angeles/London, Sage Publications. Preprint here .
2009 "On the notions of congruence and convergence in code-switching", in Barbara E. Bullock and Almeida Jacqueline Toribio (eds) The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Code-Switching, pp. 40-57. Cambridge University Press.
2007 Identity and language construction in an online community: the case of 'Ali G'. In Peter Auer (ed.) Social identity and communicative styles - An alternative approach to linguistic variability. Mouton/de Gruyter.
2006 Dray, Susan and Mark Sebba: Who are the 'authentic' speakers? Youth language practices in a once 'Creole-speaking community' and the notion of ethnicity. (Unpublished conference paper, SS16, Limerick)
2005 Dray, Susan and Mark Sebba: Language practices and identities of young 'Caribbeans' in Manchester (Unpublished conference paper, BAAL Annual Meeting 2005, Bristol)
2003 'Will the real impersonator please stand up? Language and identity in the Ali G websites'. Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik 28:2, 279-304.
2002 Sebba, Mark and Shirley Tate: '"Global" and "local" identities in the discourses of British born Caribbeans.' International Journal of Bilingualism 6:1, 75-89
2000 "What Is 'Mother Tongue'? Some Problems Posed by London Jamaican". In: T. Acton and M. Dalphinis, eds. Language Blacks and Gypsies, Languages without a written tradition and their role in education, pp.109-121. London, Whiting & Birch.
2000 "Writing Switching" in British Creole. In K. Jones and M. Martin-Jones (eds.) Multilingual Literacies: Reading and writing different worlds, pp. 171-187. Amsterdam, John Benjamins.
1998 Sebba, M. and A.J. Wootton: "We, They and Identity:Sequential vs. Identity-related Explanation in Code-switching". In P.Auer (ed.), Code-switching in conversation, pp.262-289. London, Routledge.
1998 A congruence approach to the syntax of codeswitching. International Journal of Bilingualism 2:1, 1-19.
Corpora and bilingual data-sharing
2007 Sebba, Mark and Dray, Susan 'Developing and using a corpus of written Creole.' In Karen Corrigan et al. (eds) Creating and Digitizing Language Corpora: Vol. 1, Synchronic Databases, pp. 181-204. London: Palgrave. (*)
2007 Penelope Gardner-Chloros, Melissa Moyer and Mark Sebba: 'Coding and Analyzing Multilingual Data: The LIDES Project'. Sebba, Mark and Dray, Susan 'Developing and using a corpus of written Creole.' In Karen Corrigan et al. (eds) Creating and Digitizing Language Corpora: Vol. 1, Synchronic Databases, pp. 91-120. London: Palgrave. (*)
2003 Sebba, Mark and Dray, Susan 'Is it Creole, is it English, is it valid? Developing and using a corpus of unstandardised written language'. In: Wilson A, Rayson P, McEnery AM (eds). Corpus Linguistics by the Lune: A Festschrift for Geoffrey Leech. Peter Lang, Frankfurt/Main. (Lodz Studies in Language series), 223-239.
2000 The LIPPS Group (Language Interaction in Plurilingual and Plurilectal Speakers): The LIDES Coding Manual. A Document for Preparing and Analysing Language Interaction Data. International Journal of Bilingualism 4:2, 131-270.
1999 Sebba, Mark, Sally Kedge and Susan Dray. The Corpus of Written British Creole: a user's guide. http://www.ling.lancs.ac.uk/staff/mark/cwbc/cwbcman.htm
1999 Penelope Gardner-Chloros, Roeland van Hout, Melissa Moyer and Mark Sebba: 'Sharing Bilingual Data with other Researchers: steps to an international database'. (10 000 word paper) International Journal of Bilingualism, Vol 3 No 4, 1999.
1991 The Adequacy of Corpora in Machine Translation. Applied Computer Translation 1:1, 15-27.
Pidgins and Creoles
(2009) Review of Ansaldo, Matthews and Lim (eds.) Deconstructing Creole. Language 85:2, 454-457.
(2009) 'Pidgin and Creole Englishes'. In Culpeper, J., Katamba, F., Kerswill, P., Wodak, R. and McEnery, T. (eds) English Language: Description, Variation and Contexts, pp. 388-404. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
1997 Contact Languages: Pidgins and Creoles. London: Macmillan.
1993 London Jamaican: language systems in interaction. London: Longman. (Real Language series). 192pp.
1987 The Syntax of Serial Verbs. Amsterdam, Benjamins. (Creole Language Library Vol.2) 227pp.
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