Dr Marc Alexander

  • Adviser of Studies (Arts College Academic and Student Administration)
  • Lecturer in English Language (English Language)

telephone: 01413306501
email: Marc.Alexander@glasgow.ac.uk

R212 Level 2
English Language
12 University Gardens
Glasgow G12 8QH


I work mainly on digital humanities and the study of meaning in English, with a focus on lexicology, corpus linguistics, semantics, stylistics, cognitive linguistics, discourse analysis, pragmatics, forensic linguistics, and computational linguistics.

My research interests primarily centre around the digital and cognitive analysis of language using the Historical Thesaurus of English. I am Principal Investigator of the collaborative AHRC/ESRC-funded SAMUELS (Semantic Annotation and Markup for Enhancing Lexical Searches, 2014-15) project, which uses Thesaurus data to link words in text to their disambiguated meanings. I have been part of the Thesaurus team for the past nine years, helping to produce the 2009 Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary and carrying out research on its database, either individually or with Professor Christian Kay. I am currently deputy Director of the Thesaurus project and am working on a semantic and statistical history of English, as well as SAMUELS-related work on the Hansard Corpus 1803-2003.

I am also Director of the STELLA Project, which is the UK's only dedicated computer laboratory for teaching English studies and a key site of pioneering work in computer-assisted learning and experimental digital research in language and literature for the past 25 years. I have also been an international fellow of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies in Monticello, Virginia, and am a co-investigator on the three-year AHRC-funded Mapping Metaphor with the Historical Thesaurus project (2012-2015, Principal Investigator Dr Wendy Anderson). In addition, I have also been part of the JISC-funded Enroller (2009-2011) and Parliamentary Discourse (2011-2012) interdisciplinary digital humanities projects (the former as part of HATII and the latter in collaboration with the Universities of Lancaster and Sheffield, both projects in conjunction with the Glasgow National eScience Centre and under the leadership of the previous STELLA Director Jean Anderson). Finally, I have also been part of psycholinguistic research related to linguistic persuasion and the nature of narrative reading as a collaborator with the AHRC-funded Stylistics, Text Analysis and Cognitive Science project (2002-2009, Directors Dr Catherine Emmott and Professor Anthony J. Sanford).

Beyond these projects, my current research interests centre around semantics in the digital humanities, and in particular the computational analysis of meaning in legal, political and scientific contexts. When not working on the above, I am presently developing an analysis of political and legal issues of interpretation in the UK Hansard (1803-2003), in the works of Thomas Jefferson, and in the the Scottish Institutional Writings.

Selected publications | View all publications

Alexander, M., and Struan, A. (2013) 'In countries so unciviliz'd as those?': the language of incivility and the British experience of the world. In: The British Abroad Since the Eighteenth Century, Volume 2. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137304179

Alexander, M. (2011) The various forms of civilization arranged in chronological strata: manipulating the HTOED. In: Adams, M. and Imartino, G. (eds.) Cunning Passages, Contrived Corridors: Unexpected Essays in the History of Lexicography. Series: Lexicography worldwide (11). Polimetrica Press, Monza, Italy. ISBN 9788876992070

Emmott, C., and Alexander, M. (2010) Detective fiction, plot construction, and reader manipulation: rhetorical control and cognitive misdirection in Agatha Christie's Sparkling Cyanide. In: McIntyre, D. and Busse, B. (eds.) Language and Style: In Honour of Mick Short. Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, Basingstoke, pp. 328-346. ISBN 9780230231566

Alexander, M. (2009) Rhetorical structure and reader manipulation in Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. Miscelanea: A Journal of English and American Philology, 39 . pp. 13-27. ISSN 1137-6368

All publications | View selected publications

List all by: Type | Date

Jump to: 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
Number of items: 25.

2014

Emmott, C., Alexander, M., and Marszalek, A. (2014) Schema theory in stylistics. In: Burke, M. (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Stylistics. Series: Routledge Handbooks in English Language Studies . Routledge, London. ISBN 9780415527903

Alexander, M. (2014) Words and dictionaries. In: Taylor, J.R. (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of the Word. Oxford University Press, Oxford. (In Press)

Alexander, M., and Bramwell, E. (2014) Mapping metaphors of wealth and want: a digital approach. Studies in the Digital Humanities, 1 .

Emmott, C., and Alexander, M. (2014) Defamiliarisation and foregrounding: representing experiences of change of state and perception in neurological illness autobiographies. In: Sotirova, V. (ed.) Companion to Stylistics. Continuum. (In Press)

Emmott, C., and Alexander, M. (2014) Foregrounding, burying, and plot construction. In: Stockwell, P. and Whiteley, S. (eds.) The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. (In Press)

Kay, C., and Alexander, M. (2014) Historical and Synchronic Thesauruses. In: Durkin, P. (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Lexicography. Oxford University Press. (In Press)

2013

Alexander, M., and Struan, A. (2013) 'In countries so unciviliz'd as those?': the language of incivility and the British experience of the world. In: The British Abroad Since the Eighteenth Century, Volume 2. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137304179

Emmott, C., Sanford, A., and Alexander, M. (2013) Rhetorical control of readers' attention: psychological and stylistic perspectives on foreground and background in narrative. In: Bernaerts, L., de Geest, D., Herman, L. and Vervaeck, B. (eds.) Stories and Minds: Cognitive Approaches to Literary Narrative. Series: Frontiers of narrative . University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, USA, pp. 39-57. ISBN 9780803244818

2012

Alexander, M. (2012) Patchworks and Field-Boundaries: Visualizing the History of English. In: Digital Humanities 2012, Hamburg.

Alexander, M., and Anderson, J. (2012) The Hansard Corpus, 1803-2003. Other. University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.

2011

Alexander, M. (2011) The various forms of civilization arranged in chronological strata: manipulating the HTOED. In: Adams, M. and Imartino, G. (eds.) Cunning Passages, Contrived Corridors: Unexpected Essays in the History of Lexicography. Series: Lexicography worldwide (11). Polimetrica Press, Monza, Italy. ISBN 9788876992070

Anderson, J., Alexander, M., Green, J., Sarwar, M., and Sinnott, R. (2011) Enroller: a grid-based research platform for English and Scots language. In: Digital Humanities 2011, 19-22 Jun 2011, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

Anderson, J., Alexander, M., Green, J., Sarwar, M., Sinnott, R., and Ren, R. (2011) ENROLLER: An Enhanced Repository for Language and Literature Researchers. Other. University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.

Anderson, J., Alexander, M., Kay, C., and Sarwar, M. (2011) Data mining and search enhancements using the Historical Thesaurus of English. In: Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Search and Mining Entity-relationship Data, 24-28 Oct 2011, Glasgow.

Sarwar, M.S., Alexander, M., Anderson, J., Green, J., and Sinnott, R.O. (2011) Implementing MapReduce over language and literature data over the UK National Grid Service. In: 7th International Conference on Emerging Technologies (ICET), 5-6 Sep 2011, Islamabad, Pakistan.

2010

Emmott, C., Sanford, A., and Alexander, M. (2010) Scenarios, characters' roles and plot status: readers' assumptions and writers' manipulations of assumptions in narrative texts. In: Eder, J., Jannidis, F. and Schneider, R. (eds.) Characters in Fictional Worlds: Understanding Imaginary Beings in Literature, Film and Other Media. Series: Revisionen/Grundbegriffe der Literaturetheorie (3). De Gruyter, pp. 377-399. ISBN 9783110232417

Sarwar, M., Sinnott, R., Anderson, J., Alexander, M., and Green, J. (2010) An e-Research Infrastructure for Language and Literature Research. In: UK e-Science All Hands Meeting 2010, 13-16 September 2010, Cardiff, Wales.

Alexander, M., and Wild, C. (2010) Men, women, and children in the Historical Thesaurus: a case study. Documentation. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Emmott, C., and Alexander, M. (2010) Detective fiction, plot construction, and reader manipulation: rhetorical control and cognitive misdirection in Agatha Christie's Sparkling Cyanide. In: McIntyre, D. and Busse, B. (eds.) Language and Style: In Honour of Mick Short. Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, Basingstoke, pp. 328-346. ISBN 9780230231566

Kay, C., and Alexander, M. (2010) How to Use the Historical Thesaurus. Documentation. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Kay, C., and Alexander, M. (2010) Life after the historical thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary. Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America, 31 . pp. 107-112. ISSN 0197-6745

2009

Alexander, M. (2009) Rhetorical structure and reader manipulation in Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. Miscelanea: A Journal of English and American Philology, 39 . pp. 13-27. ISSN 1137-6368

Emmott, C., and Alexander, M. (2009) Schemata. Living Handbook of Narratology .

2008

Alexander, M. (2008) The lobster and the maid: scenario-dependence and reader manipulation in Agatha Christie. In: Annual Conference of the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA), 23-26 July 2008, Sheffield, UK.

2007

Stewart, F.M., Alexander, M., and Little, H.M. (2007) The cultural value of oral history. ESharp, 10 . ISSN 1742-4542

This list was generated on Wed Apr 23 21:30:58 2014 BST.
Number of items: 25.

Article

Alexander, M., and Bramwell, E. (2014) Mapping metaphors of wealth and want: a digital approach. Studies in the Digital Humanities, 1 .

Kay, C., and Alexander, M. (2010) Life after the historical thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary. Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America, 31 . pp. 107-112. ISSN 0197-6745

Alexander, M. (2009) Rhetorical structure and reader manipulation in Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. Miscelanea: A Journal of English and American Philology, 39 . pp. 13-27. ISSN 1137-6368

Emmott, C., and Alexander, M. (2009) Schemata. Living Handbook of Narratology .

Stewart, F.M., Alexander, M., and Little, H.M. (2007) The cultural value of oral history. ESharp, 10 . ISSN 1742-4542

Book Section

Emmott, C., Alexander, M., and Marszalek, A. (2014) Schema theory in stylistics. In: Burke, M. (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Stylistics. Series: Routledge Handbooks in English Language Studies . Routledge, London. ISBN 9780415527903

Alexander, M. (2014) Words and dictionaries. In: Taylor, J.R. (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of the Word. Oxford University Press, Oxford. (In Press)

Emmott, C., and Alexander, M. (2014) Defamiliarisation and foregrounding: representing experiences of change of state and perception in neurological illness autobiographies. In: Sotirova, V. (ed.) Companion to Stylistics. Continuum. (In Press)

Emmott, C., and Alexander, M. (2014) Foregrounding, burying, and plot construction. In: Stockwell, P. and Whiteley, S. (eds.) The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. (In Press)

Kay, C., and Alexander, M. (2014) Historical and Synchronic Thesauruses. In: Durkin, P. (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Lexicography. Oxford University Press. (In Press)

Alexander, M., and Struan, A. (2013) 'In countries so unciviliz'd as those?': the language of incivility and the British experience of the world. In: The British Abroad Since the Eighteenth Century, Volume 2. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137304179

Emmott, C., Sanford, A., and Alexander, M. (2013) Rhetorical control of readers' attention: psychological and stylistic perspectives on foreground and background in narrative. In: Bernaerts, L., de Geest, D., Herman, L. and Vervaeck, B. (eds.) Stories and Minds: Cognitive Approaches to Literary Narrative. Series: Frontiers of narrative . University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, USA, pp. 39-57. ISBN 9780803244818

Alexander, M. (2011) The various forms of civilization arranged in chronological strata: manipulating the HTOED. In: Adams, M. and Imartino, G. (eds.) Cunning Passages, Contrived Corridors: Unexpected Essays in the History of Lexicography. Series: Lexicography worldwide (11). Polimetrica Press, Monza, Italy. ISBN 9788876992070

Emmott, C., Sanford, A., and Alexander, M. (2010) Scenarios, characters' roles and plot status: readers' assumptions and writers' manipulations of assumptions in narrative texts. In: Eder, J., Jannidis, F. and Schneider, R. (eds.) Characters in Fictional Worlds: Understanding Imaginary Beings in Literature, Film and Other Media. Series: Revisionen/Grundbegriffe der Literaturetheorie (3). De Gruyter, pp. 377-399. ISBN 9783110232417

Emmott, C., and Alexander, M. (2010) Detective fiction, plot construction, and reader manipulation: rhetorical control and cognitive misdirection in Agatha Christie's Sparkling Cyanide. In: McIntyre, D. and Busse, B. (eds.) Language and Style: In Honour of Mick Short. Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, Basingstoke, pp. 328-346. ISBN 9780230231566

Research Report or Paper

Alexander, M., and Anderson, J. (2012) The Hansard Corpus, 1803-2003. Other. University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.

Anderson, J., Alexander, M., Green, J., Sarwar, M., Sinnott, R., and Ren, R. (2011) ENROLLER: An Enhanced Repository for Language and Literature Researchers. Other. University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.

Alexander, M., and Wild, C. (2010) Men, women, and children in the Historical Thesaurus: a case study. Documentation. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Kay, C., and Alexander, M. (2010) How to Use the Historical Thesaurus. Documentation. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Conference Proceedings

Alexander, M. (2012) Patchworks and Field-Boundaries: Visualizing the History of English. In: Digital Humanities 2012, Hamburg.

Anderson, J., Alexander, M., Green, J., Sarwar, M., and Sinnott, R. (2011) Enroller: a grid-based research platform for English and Scots language. In: Digital Humanities 2011, 19-22 Jun 2011, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

Anderson, J., Alexander, M., Kay, C., and Sarwar, M. (2011) Data mining and search enhancements using the Historical Thesaurus of English. In: Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Search and Mining Entity-relationship Data, 24-28 Oct 2011, Glasgow.

Sarwar, M.S., Alexander, M., Anderson, J., Green, J., and Sinnott, R.O. (2011) Implementing MapReduce over language and literature data over the UK National Grid Service. In: 7th International Conference on Emerging Technologies (ICET), 5-6 Sep 2011, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Sarwar, M., Sinnott, R., Anderson, J., Alexander, M., and Green, J. (2010) An e-Research Infrastructure for Language and Literature Research. In: UK e-Science All Hands Meeting 2010, 13-16 September 2010, Cardiff, Wales.

Alexander, M. (2008) The lobster and the maid: scenario-dependence and reader manipulation in Agatha Christie. In: Annual Conference of the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA), 23-26 July 2008, Sheffield, UK.

This list was generated on Wed Apr 23 21:30:58 2014 BST.

The research project grants I have been involved in since 2011 include the following:

  • 2014-2015: Semantic Annotation and Mark-Up for Enhancing Lexical Searches (SAMUELS), PI myself, Co-Is Jean Anderson (University of Glasgow), Professor Dawn Archer (University of Central Lancashire), Dr Alistair Baron (Lancaster University), Professor Jonathan Hope (University of Strathclyde), Professor Lesley Jeffries (University of Huddersfield), Professor Christian Kay (University of Glasgow), Dr Paul Rayson (Lancaster University), Dr Brian Walker (University of Huddersfield), and Professor Mark Davies (Brigham Young, USA). RAs Dr Fraser Dallachy (Glasgow), Dr Scott Piao (Lancaster), and three others to be appointed (Lancaster, UCLAN, and Huddersfield). Technician Brian Aitken (Glasgow). Collaborating partner: Oxford University Press and the Oxford English Dictionary. (£406,352, AHRC grant AH/L010062/1)
  • 2012-2015: Mapping Metaphor with the Historical Thesaurus, PI Dr Wendy Anderson, Co-Is myself, Prof Carole Hough and Prof Christian Kay. RA Dr Ellen Bramwell. (£387,702, AHRC grant AH/I02266X/1)
  • 2011: Parliamentary Discourse. (£82,324, JISC eContent 2011, Strand A, with Jean Anderson)
  • 2011: “The Language and the Sentiments of their Times”: Teaching the Language of Historical Text. PIs myself and Dr Andrew Struan, University of Virginia. (£3,599, HEA History Subject Centre)
  • 2011: Scots Words and Place-names, PIs Prof Carole Hough and Jean Anderson. (£79,524, JISC eContent 2011, Strand B)

I would be pleased to supervise research in any of my fields of interest:

  • Diachronic lexicology in English
  • Projects working on the Historical Thesaurus
  • The cognitive semantics of English
  • Corpus and computational approaches to meaning
  • The stylistic analysis of legal and political texts from Early Modern times to the present
  • The study of language and persuasion
  • Cognitive stylistics/poetics, particularly applied to popular fiction

In 2013-14, I convene Level 2 English Language and the Honours papers Literary and Linguistic Computing (open to all students in the School of Critical Studies) and Pragmatics and Spoken Discourse (semester 1 only). I also teach on the Semantics of English honours paper and lecture and tutor Levels 1 and 2 English Language. At postgraduate level, I convene and teach the School of Critical Studies Research Training Course.

I have previously taught most of the components of modern English language and linguistics at a variety of levels, particularly in the areas of text analysis, semantics and pragmatics, spoken discourse studies, corpus linguistics, diachronic lexicology, and modern English grammar.