Professor Melinda Whong

Professor Melinda Whong

Professor of Language Learning and Teaching;
Language Centre Director

+44 (0)113 343 7627

Summary: Linguistics in language teaching; second language acquisition; English for Academic Purposes and policy in higher education

Location: Parkinson Rm 3.13

Teaching Commitments: MA in Linguistics and English Language Teaching. Specific modules have included: Approaches to Linguistics and Language Teaching; Methodology in ELT; Research Methods; MA Dissertation

Overview

Executive Director of the Language Centre with responsibility for the wide range of English language programmes for students prior to and during study, as well as short courses. As Director, she is leading the strategic vision in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies to bring together scholarship and innovation in the teaching of all languages. 

Research interests include the role of linguistics in language teaching; ELT methodology; second language acquisition; psycholinguistics; with interest in the following languages in particular: English, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic. As a member of the English for Academic Purposes community, Melinda is interested in the relationship between EAP as an academic discipline, and policy as it relates to higher education.

Melinda's research synthesises linguistics and second language acquisition (SLA) theory in order to find applicability for language teaching and learning. More specifically she is working to bridge the current gap between generative theoretical linguistics and language teaching by exploring application of findings in generative SLA research to the language classroom. This is the main thrust of her book, Language teaching: Theory and practice (2011) and her edited volume called Universal Grammar and the Second Language Classroom (2013). This project is part of collaborative work with colleagues at the universities of York and Sheffield, which explores the efficacy of negative evidence for teaching poverty-of-the stimulus phenomena to second language learners. This work has also led to a Network of language researchers and language teachers who are working together to explore concerns of mutual relevance.

She is also interested in theory-building, and has published work which tries to show where opposing theoretical paradigms find compatibility. This is part of a wider aim to increase levels of interest in and attention to linguistics in mainstream language classroom research, and, in turn, teacher training programmes. 

Melinda's personal website