Humanitats i Comunicació

Language and Literature

Proposta de tesi Investigadors/es Grup de recerca
Chinese and Sinophone literatures.
Research in modern and contemporary Chinese and/or Sinophone literatures—particularly (but not exclusively) related to the representation of otherness or the interactions between the Chinese-speaking and Western worlds. Approaches to these aspects from the standpoints of comparative literature, translation studies, critical theory, intellectual theory and thought. 

Dr Carlos Prado-Fonts



Conceptual Metaphor Studies

We carry out research on Conceptual Metaphor Theory and its applications to the analysis of conceptualizations or discourse in specific fields, especially health and mental health. Research topics include but are not limited to the following: 

  •  Metaphor in health / mental health communication.
  •  Metaphor in patients' discourse.
  •  Metaphor in professional or scientific discourse.
  •  Metaphor in media.
  •  Metaphor detection and codification methodologies.
  •  Applied metaphor studies.

Our current research project in this area focuses on mental health. You can find more information here: MOMENT Project.

Dr Marta Coll-Florit

Neural machine translation: technical and integration aspects.
Neural machine translation systems have led to a significant improvement in the quality of the results, but there are still many aspects to research and improve. This PhD line is broad and includes both aspects related to system training and integration in professional translation environments. Research related to the post-editing process and the use of neural machine translation in the translation of creative texts and literary translation can also be included.
Automatic terminology extraction: application of machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques.
This is a broad research proposal to explore machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques applied to automatic terminology extraction and the automatic search of translation equivalents in a parallel and comparable corpus.
Global Literary Studies Research Lab.
The Global Literary Studies Research Lab analyses literary history from a global, decentred and interdisciplinary perspective. This approach allows us to look at cross-border cultural and literary phenomena that go beyond the national framework and can be thought of in broader configurations. Within a gender, ethical and digital humanities perspective, we test our objectives by means of four lines of research:
Global translation flows:
  • Global translation flows and book studies (circulation of books, publishing, the economy of prestige, book fairs, literary agents, etc. (Diana Roig-Sanz and Laura Fólica)
  • Translation and cultural history of the 20th and 21st century within a digital humanities framework (Diana Roig-Sanz)
  • Literary translation and periodicals, with a specific focus on Latin America (Laura Fólica)
The Global Novel:
  • Studies on the novel and narrative theory (Neus Rotger)
  • The novel and history (Neus Rotger)
Global Literary Environments:
  • Uses and representations of global environments in literature and other cultural realms including cinema and sciences (Aurea Mota)
  • The idea of displacement of intellectuals and writers as a key concept to analyse processes of cultural interconnection (Aurea Mota), 
  • Global environments that have been conceptualized as “global commons” (seas, rivers, oceans, deserts).
Global Cinema:
  • Sociocultural history of cinema (Ainamar Clariana-Rodagut)
  • Women and cinema (Ainamar Clariana-Rodagut)
Dr Aurea Mota

Critical sociolinguistics

We address sociolinguistic phenomena, that is, we research language not as a code, but as action or social practice (Halliday; Hymes; Gumperz) from a conflictive or critical perspective in which individuals or speakers compete to accumulate and mobilize limited resources according to their interests (Bourdieu; Heller; Duchêne). Languages are part of these resources that situate the individual in the social dimension, and therefore, their use is never neutral, although it can be construed as such.

We ask ourselves primarily what language practices mean for individuals in a world characterized by the tertiarization of the economy, the increase in the mobility of people, goods and messages as well as new forms of governance. In any case, we want to understand not only how people adapt to these changes, but also how they are mobilized to change social relationships and the conditions that surround them. We consider that learning and using languages constitute key processes of subjectification and that linguistic uses contribute to maintaining or transforming the unequal relationships of groups and individuals defined by language issues, but in intersection with other elements such as social class, gender and race. From this perspective, we can address research on different topics related to multilingualism, minority languages (and their new speakers), language in migratory processes, linguistic identity or linguistic practices and ideologies, among others. 

We expect research projects to be ethnographic, that is, to address specific profiles of speakers in a situated manner through participant observation, although other forms of ethnographically informed research may be considered. We have a significant interest in action and participatory research, which we have also recently begun.

Although the linguistic context with which we are most familiar is that of the Catalan linguistic domain, and by extension the Hispanophone context, we also welcome the exploration and study of these issues in other linguistic areas of the world.

Dr Maite Puigdevall Serralvo



The ethnography of language policy

The discipline of language policy is a branch of sociolinguistics, but it is also interdisciplinary in nature, as it leverages both theories and methods from other disciplines, particularly the fields of politics and law. From its very beginnings, the discipline of language policy has focused its attention on governmental institutions at different levels (global, national and regional) as well as on how organizations (businesses, NGOs, etc) conceptualize, draw up and implement policies associated with the use of languages and which tools they employ – legislation, censuses, large-scale surveys, etc – (Cooper; Kaplan & Baldauf; Eastman).

Nevertheless, since the middle of the 1990s, another approach to this discipline has been gaining ground. This is the critical ethnographic turn (Martin Jones & Da Costa Cabral), the focus of whose postulates and methods is interpretation and appropriation (including acceptation of but also adaptation or resistance to) language policies on the part of individuals in a specific environment or field, such as the world of education, or groups such as immigrants (McCarty; Tollefson; Johnson).

This line of doctoral research seeks to explore this new perspective on language policy. From it, one can undertake research into different fields or social groups who have been recipients of these types of policies in multilingual societies. Even though the language context with which we are most familiar is that of Catalan and, by extension, the Hispanic world, we also welcome the exploration and study of these matters in other language areas around the world.


Dr Maite Puigdevall Serralvo



Contemporary Catalan literature

This group researches into the world of Catalan literature of the 19th, 20th and 21st century. We carry out both contextual and theoretical studies with a special focus on sociological aspects. We also encourage comparative studies between Catalan literature and other literary systems. Researchers in this group examine the following subjects:

  1. Literature and society.
  2. Literature and human rights.
  3. Literature and the subordinate voice.
  4. Literature and gender, sexuality and subjectivity-related issues.
  5. The Catalan cultural and literary sphere, its institutions and publishing industry.

Dr Roger Canadell


Dr Josep-Anton Fernàndez


Dr Teresa Iribarren


Dr Olívia Gassol



Specialized communication: linguistic strategies to foster understanding of specialized texts 

Communication between specialists in a field and non-expert recipients has always been a complex issue not without its problems. The cognitive domains of the two interlocutors are different and the originator must be able to adapt his or her discourse to make it understandable to the non-specialist recipient. 

With this research subject, the idea is to analyse, from a linguistics perspective, the factors that specialists need to bear in mind when drawing up texts written from their specialist field but aimed at non-experts. The goal is to detect those linguistic strategies that need to be implemented to avoid problems of understanding that hinder effective communication. Although the study is from a linguistics perspective, it also takes into account the cognitive dimension of specialized communication. 

The specialist fields proposed for the research are those of law and medicine, given that it is vital that recipients have a good understanding of the texts they receive in these fields. Nevertheless, it may be possible to agree to work on other specialist fields.

Dr Ona Domènech Bagaria



Lexical innovation in the current information and knowledge society 

The technical revolution experienced by society in recent decades has entailed deep-seated transformations that have had great impact upon language, particularly on language change. These days, Web 3.0 makes it possible for new words to circulate throughout around the internet and spread massively amongst millions of users, who are often private individuals. 

Given these circumstances, it appears logical to posit that the use of social networks is impacting both the processes of forming new words and the rate of neological change in languages (in the sense of accelerating or increasing it). 

This research subject seeks to validate or refute these statements based on the analysis of neologisms taken from social networks, to ascertain the current lines followed by languages with regard to lexical innovation processes.

Dr Ona Domènech Bagaria