I am Senior Lecturer in Linguistics and Applied Language Studies on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes for the School of Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I have an MA in Natural Sciences from Magdalen College, Oxford, where I was taught by Richard Dawkins (genetics), David Mabberley (taxonomy) and Rom Harré (philosophy of science). I completed a PhD at University College London-Institute of Education with a thesis entitled 'Metaphor, Metonymy, Language Learning and Translation' under the supervision of Professor David Block and examined by Dr. Graham Low.
I studied Italian Language and Literature at the University of Florence, Italy, and Germanistik and Anglistik at the Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf, Germany. I hold a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) from the Institute of Education, London, in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), a Certificate in English Phonology from the International Phonetic Association (IPA) and the Post-Graduate Diploma in Linguistics from the University of Westminster. I received an Award of Excellence in Teaching and Learning from the Westminster Exchange in 2008. I am a member of the professional bodies International Association for Cognitive Semiotics (IACS) and Researching and Applying Metaphor (RaAM). I review book proposals for academic publishers and articles for academic journals. These have included The American Journal of Semiotics, Journal of Pragmatics, Language and Cognition, and Metaphor and the Social World. I have acted as external examiner for Birkbeck, Hertfordshire, UCL (IoE) and other HE institutions.
Previous to 2000, at Westminster, I taught Italian and German on BA and MA programmes for the Department of Modern Languages; English for Academic Purposes and Italian on the university-wide language programme, Polylang; and academic literacy on writing courses across the university. I worked in Italy as an arts journalist, translator and press officer for International Daily News and Daily American; in Germany, as a translator, interpreter and language trainer for IBM and Rank Xerox; and in London, as a bilingual lexicographer for Longman Dictionaries and dictionary editor on Routledge French Technical Dictionary (1994) and Routledge German Technical Dictionary (1996). I have extensive experience as an English language teacher in Germany, Italy and the UK. My experience as a language professional in the commercial world includes work as a language teacher, materials writer, editor, translator, interpreter and lexicographer.
I am unusual for a linguistics scholar in coming from a science background rather than a humanities background - my first degree was in natural sciences, specialising in botany and the history and philosophy of science. This gives me a particular view on what linguistics is and what linguistics can achieve. My research interests are in the area of language and meaning, and include semiotics, semantics, figurative language and thought, discourse analysis, cognitive linguistics, visual grammars, translation studies and literary translation. I have been influenced particularly in my thinking by Michael Halliday, Roman Jakobson, Gunther Kress, George Lakoff, Ronald Langacker, Peter Medawar, C. S. Peirce, Karl Popper and Günter Radden.
My research in linguistics is characterized by 1) a willingness to look at the 'big picture' and make connections across different fields and disciplines; 2) an intellectual curiosity which re-visits basic concepts and asks basic questions - such as, What is language?, What is meaning?, What is translation? - in order to gain new insights into what language is and how it works; and 3) an inclination to explore the impact that language features at the small scale of the sentence have at the large scale of discourse. I always look to relate theory to everyday communication and professional practice as it manifests itself in a constantly developing world.
This is reflected in my recent articles: on discourse, 'Text metaphtonymy: the interplay of metonymy and metaphor in discourse' (2018) Metaphor and the Social World 8:1; on translation, 'Employing cognitive metonymy theory in the analysis of semantic relations between source and target text in translation' (2019) Metaphor and the Social World 9:2; and on grammar, 'The Three Grammars and the Sign' (2021) Review of Cognitive Linguistics; and my book, Metonymy and Language: A new theory of linguistic processing (2015). I am currently working on projects around translating German short stories, multimodal discourse analysis, visual grammars and meaning studies.