Centre for European and International Studies Research


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Dr Ben Clarke

  • Qualifications: BA in English Language Studies (Cardiff University), MA in Applied Linguistics (Cardiff University), PhD in Language and Communication (Cardiff University)
  • Role Title: Senior Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics
  • Address: Park Building, King Henry 1 Street, Portsmouth PO1 2DZ
  • Telephone: 023 9284 2153
  • Email: ben.clarke@port.ac.uk
  • Department: School of Languages and Area Studies
  • Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


In April 2012, I completed my PhD, exploring the relationship between language and context in a systemic functional paradigm. I continue to carry out this work and prepare for publication the fruits of these endeavours with a particular interest on ‘holistic’ semantic and contextual descriptions for English. In addition, I am in the preliminary stages of a research project which explores the interaction of the language semiotic with embodied modalities. Some of this activity takes within a DFG-funded scientific research network, ‘Multimodality and embodied interaction’.

I have taught widely across English Language subjects, particularly at undergraduate level, at the Universities of Leeds, Cardiff and York St John. 

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Working with Texts (UG; Unit Coordinator)
  • English Forms and Functions (UG)
  • Analysing Media Discourse (UG; Unit Coordinator)
  • Forensic Linguistics (UG)
  • Analysing Discourse (PGT; Unit Coordinator)

I supervise a number of undergraduate dissertation students with varying topics (language and media, language and politics, forensic linguistics, multimodality, etc.).

I am personal tutor for Level 5 English Language undergraduate students.


Research interests: the relationship between language and context; functional and descriptive approaches to grammar, particularly systemic functional linguistics; grammatical change and variation; contracted/reduced clauses, particularly ellipsis; corpus linguistics; the interaction of the language modality with embodied semiotic systems.

I have two on-going research programmes. The first of these concerns the relationship between language and context in the systemic functional linguistics tradition where ‘context’ is conceived of as a semiotic rather than necessarily a material construct. How, for example, do non-linguistic, socially-defined relationships affect the language used by communicative partners? What about transient relationships defined solely in communicative terms? Does the social action occasioned in the text affect the use of language? If so, how? How does the language of texts produced in real-time differ from that which is crafted in a careful, self-edited manner, packaged and delivered to its audience as 'a text' only after such processes? And is it just as possible for language to influence such contextual matters as vice-versa? If such linguistic and contextual phenomena as the aforementioned do stand in a relationship to each other, the analytical challenge is to formalise these relationships as realisational patternings in the theory’s description of communication.

The second of my two on-going research programmes is an exploration of the interplay between the semiotic of language with other semiotic modes which are implicated in the meaning-making of face-to-face social interactions. Specifically, I am interested in whether embodied, non-verbal communication displays recurrence and patterning when situational ellipsis is occasioned in the language mode. Is it possible, moreover, for meanings and forms in such embodied communication to be interpreted as the predictable antecedents of verbally ellipted structure, contra previous linguistic thought?


Research profile

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