James Wilson

James Wilson

Lecturer in Russian and Language Studies; Director of Russian

+44 (0)113 343 1912

Summary: Language variation in Czech; variationist sociolinguistics; language pedagogy; corpus-based language learning

Location: Michael Sadler

Overview

BA (Sheffield) 
MA (Sheffield) 
PhD (Sheffield)

CELTA (International House, Prague) 

Biography

I graduated with a BA in Russian with Czech from the University of Sheffield in July 2001 and then spent six months in the Czech Republic where I worked as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language and a freelance translator. While I was living in the Czech Republic I became interested in language variation in Czech, in particular in the opposition between Standard Czech and Common Czech in Bohemia as well as in the language situation in Moravia, and I went on to explore these themes in my MA and PhD degrees. I came back to Sheffield in September 2002 to do an MA in Slavonic Studies, with a focus on Slavonic linguistics, and then a PhD on dialect contact in Czech, during which I spent 18 months in Prague carrying out fieldwork.

After submitting my PhD in 2007 I worked for one year as a visiting tutor in Russian and then a semester as a teaching associate in Slavonic languages at the University of Sheffield. I have been employed at the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Leeds since September 2009, working for most of this time as a teaching fellow in Russian as well as a research fellow on the AHRC-funded IntelliText project at the Centre for Translation Studies (CTS). I have also taught evening classes in Czech at Leeds Metropolitan University and have given lectures on the History of Russian (linguistics) module at the University of Cambridge. Besides working in teaching and research posts, I was part of a team of editors on an edition of the Oxford Student’s Dictionary (Oxford studijní slovník: výkladový slovník anglictiny s ceským prekladem) for Czech learners of English that was published in 2010 and I am a published translator of medical and linguistic texts from Czech to English.

Research interests

My main areas of research are variationist sociolinguistics and dialectology. I am especially interested in language variation in Czech, dialect contact, second dialect acquisition and sociophonetics as well as in dialectology and sociolinguistics more generally.

I also have a keen interest in language pedagogy and in innovative methods of teaching Slavonic languages at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, and I have been active in research on language pedagogy since 2008. I have worked on several post-doctoral language projects and am interested, in particular, in corpus-based language learning and on developing a blended learning approach that combines tradition with technology to foster effective independent learning skills. My work involves: (1) creating corpora for language learning purposes; (2) using a corpus-based approach for Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) teaching (e.g. Business Russian at the UG level, bespoke PG training and industry-focused teaching); (3) developing a teaching methodology and materials to support the available technology and to make the most of existing and ad-hoc corpora. For all these activities I use the IntelliText interface developed at the Centre for Translation Studies.

Publications

Books and monographs 

Serge Sharoff, Elena Umanskaya and James Wilson. (2013). A Frequency Dictionary of Contemporary Russian: Core Vocabulary for Learners (New York and London: Routledge) 

James Wilson. (2010). Moravians in Prague: A Sociolinguistic Study of Dialect Contact in the Czech Republic(Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang)

Book chapters

James Wilson, Serge Sharoff, Paul Stephenson and Anthony Hartley (2014). Innovative methods for LSP-teaching: how we use corpora to teach business Russian, in Bárcena, E., Read, T. and A. Jorge (eds.) Languages for Specific Purposes in the Digital Era (Springer: Heidelberg), 197-223

Reports

James Wilson. (2013). “Technology, pedagogy and promotion: how can we make the most of corpora and Data Driven Learning (DDL) in language learning and teaching?” [A report on corpus-based language learning commissioned by the Higher Education Academy]

Journal articles

Martin Havlík and James Wilson. (2017). Sociolinguistic variation in loanword pronunciation in Czech. Slavonic and East European Review 95 (2): 181-220

James Wilson. (2013). "The ‘Arse that Jack Built" and /au/-monophthongisation in South Yorkshire dialects. Transactions of the Yorkshire Dialect Society CXII(XXIII), 48-63

James Wilson. (2012). O jazykové akomodaci moravských a slezských studentů žijících v Praze [On the linguistic accommodation of Moravian and Silesian students living In Prague]. Čeština doma a ve světě 2: 77-97 

James Wilson. (2011). Types of accommodation in first-generation dialect contact between adult speakers of mutually intelligible but regionally different varieties. Multilingua 30 (2): 177-220  

Published conference papers

James Wilson. “Opravdu mluví Moravané žijící v Praze obecnou češtinou?” [“Do Moravians living in Prague really speak Common Czech?”]. In: Čmejrková, S., Hoffmannová, J. & J. Klímová (eds.) Čeština v pohledu synchronním a diachronním: stoleté kořeny Ústavu pro jazyk český, 715-721  

James Wilson, Serge Sharoff and Paul Stephenson. (2011). ‘“Value-added teaching”: corpus-based methods for LSP teaching’. In: Talaván, N., Martín Monje, E. & F. Palazón (eds.) Technological innovation in the teaching and processing of LSPs: Proceedings of TISLID'10, 79-9

James Wilson, Anthony Hartley, Serge Sharoff and Paul Stephenson. (2011). “Advanced corpus solutions for humanities researchers”. In: Otoguro, R., Ishikawa, K., Umemoto, H., Yoshimoto, K. & Y. Harada (eds.) Proceedings of the 24th Pacific Asia Conference on Language, Information and Computation 2010, 769-779

Book reviews

Da! A Practical Guide to Russian Grammar (2012) by Tatiana Filosofova and Marion Spöring. The Linguist 51.4

The Coder Special Archive (2012) by Tony Cash and Mike Gerrard. The Linguist 52.5 

Other

Two dictionary entries in Karlík, P, Nekula, M and J. Pleskalová (eds.), 2017, Nový encyklopedický slovník češtiny (Prague: Nakladatelství Lidové noviny): (1) Teorie akomodace (Accommodation Theory) and (2) Kvantitativní metody v sociolingvistice (Quantitative Methods in Sociolinguistics)

Guest lectures and invited talks 

“Variation and change in the pronunciation of Czech loanwords”, University of Sheffield, November 2016

“Beyond the Russian grammar book: using IntelliText and corpora for linguistic analysis”, University of Sheffield, November 2016

“What can you do if the grammar book doesn’t help? Some examples from Russian”, University of Leeds, October 2014

“Corpus-based approaches to LSP teaching”, Higher Education Academy Languages Summit, Manchester, May 2014

(with Anne Buckley) “Using IntelliText for German to English and English to German translation”, University of Sheffield, November 2013

“IntelliText for language learning and translation”, Sharing Good Practice (language learning and teaching workshop organised by the Universities of Durham and Newcastle), University of Newcastle, September 2013

“Corpora for bespoke language training and outward mobility”, (a presentation given at Leeds Metropolitan University, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Warwick and the University of York at a series of seminars on outward student mobility sponsored by the Higher Education Academy), July 2013

“Interactive seminars with online corpora”, New to Teaching: Languages and Linguistics (workshop sponsored by the Higher Education Academy), University of Manchester, November 2012 

“Dialect contact and second dialect acquisition: a general overview”, Letní škola lingvistiky [Summer School of Linguistics], Dačice, Czech Republic, August 2012 

“Moravians in Bohemia and Bohemians in Moravia: dialect contact in the Czech Republic”, Letní škola lingvistiky [Summer School of Linguistics], Dačice, Czech Republic, August 2012  

“Moravané v Praze: variační analýza jazykového kontaktu v České republice” [“Moravians in Prague: a sociolinguistic study of dialect contact in the Czech Republic”], Charles University, Prague, December 2011  

“How to use the IntelliText interface to learn Russian”, University of Nottingham, UK, March 2011 

“Moravané v Praze: variační analýza jazykového kontaktu v České republice“ [“Moravians in Prague: a sociolinguistic study of dialect contact in the Czech Republic”], Charles University, Prague, December 2010 

“Russian for research: new approaches to postgraduate language teaching”, Languages of the Wider World Research Seminar Series (CETL-LLW), SOAS-UCL Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, London, UK, March 2009  

“Typy jazykového přizpůsobení” [“Types of linguistic accommodation”], Charles University, Prague, December 2004 

Recent seminar and conference papers 

“The role of corpora and blended learning in teaching Russian grammar”, 21st Conference on Language for Specific Purposes, Bergen, Norway, June 2017

“Collaborative Vocabulary Learning: Corpora, Keywords and Students as Materials Designers”, 2nd Global Conference on Linguistics and Foreign Language Teaching, Dubai, December 2014

(with Marion Bowman) “A corpus-based approach to LSP: using IntelliText to create study materials for Dentistry 1”, Professional Issues Meeting (PIM) of the British Association of Lecturers in English for Academic Purposes (BALEAP), University of Coventry, June 2014

“ReadingCorp: using corpora to develop academic reading skills”, Bespoke Language Training for UK-Based Postgraduates: Achievements, Challenges and the Next Steps (HEA-funded workshop), University of Sheffield, July 2013

(with Anne Buckley) “IntelliText at Leeds: achievements and challenges in fostering a culture of corpus-based language learning”, New to Teaching: Languages and Linguistics (workshop sponsored by the Higher Education Academy), University of Leeds, May 2013

“ReadingCorp: a corpus-based approach to teaching Russian for research”, The Role of Corpora in LSP Teaching (HEA-sponsored workshop), University of Leeds, July 2012  

“The role of salience in second-dialect acquisition: the case of Moravians in Prague”, The International Conference on Language Variation in Europe 6 (ICLaVE 6), University of Freiburg, Germany, July 2011 

“Opravdu mluví Moravané žijící v Praze obecnou češtinou?” [“Do Moravians in Prague really speak Common Czech?”], Čeština v pohledu synchronním a diachronním (Stoleté kořeny ÚJC), Ústav pro jazyk český, Prague, Czech Republic, June 2011 

“Using corpora for teaching and studying Russian”, 4th Annual Seminar of the Russian Language Teachers’ Group, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK, March 2011  

“Developing corpora for teaching foreign languages: a case study of Russian”, American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL) Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, USA, January 2011 

“Výsledky studie Moravanů v Praze a další možnosti výzkumu v rámci variační sociolingvistiky” [“The results of the study of Moravians in Prague and further possibilities for research in the variationist paradigm”], Sociolinguistics Seminar, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, December 2010 

“‘Value Added Teaching’: corpus-Based methods for LSP teaching”, First International Workshop on Technological Innovation for Specialized Linguistic Domains (TISLID), Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, Spain, October 2010  

“Training in pronunciation: an added bonus or a core component of Russian language programmes?”, British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES) Annual Conference, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, UK, March 2010 

“Dialect contact in the Czech Republic: do Moravians in Prague really speak Common Czech?”, Annual Meeting of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain (LAGB), University of Essex, UK, September 2008 

“The impact of four independent variables on acquiring a second dialect: a study of dialect accommodation in the Czech Republic”, The International Conference on Language Variation in Europe 4 (ICLaVE 4), University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus, June 2007 

“Accommodation in a society with a socially stigmatized standard: a study of Moravian students in Prague”, Sociolinguistics Symposium 16, University of Limerick, Ireland, July 2006 

Organised events

[Workshop] Bespoke Language Training for UK-Based Postgraduates: Achievements, Challenges and the Next Steps (organised on behalf of the HEA and the AHRC), University of Sheffield, July 2013

[Workshop] New to Teaching: Languages and Linguistics (organised on behalf of the HEA), University of Leeds, May 2013

[Workshop] Mobile Language Learning (organised on behalf of the HEA), University of Manchester, April 2013

[Workshop] The Role of Corpora in LSP Learning and Teaching (funded by the HEA), University of Leeds, July 2012 

[Workshop] Second IntelliText Workshop, University of Leeds, March 2011 

[Workshop] First IntelliText Workshop, University of Leeds, June 2010 

[Panel; 4 papers] “New Methods in Teaching Slavonic Languages”, British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES) Annual Conference, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, UK, March 2010 

[Panel; 5 papers] “Central and East European Sociolinguistics”, Annual Meeting of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain (LAGB), University of Essex, UK, September 2008 

[Workshop] CEELBAS Workshop on Languages for Research, University of Sheffield, May 2008

Teaching

I currently teach on the following modules: 

SLAV1101 Core Russian 1

SLAV1111 Beginners Czech 

SLAV2101/2102 Core Russian 2 

SLAV3101 Core Russian 3

MODL5009M English for Translators

MODL5118M Specialised Russian-English Translation A

MODL5128M Specialised Russian-English Translation B

PhD Supervision

I supervise PhDs in variationist sociolinguistics (esp. dialect contact, second dialect acquisition, sociophonetics) and corpus-based linguistics and language teaching.

Current PhD students:

Fuad Mohammed (variation in Iraqi Arabic)

Pavel Gudoshnikov (applied translation)