Humanitats i Comunicació

Language and Literature

Proposta de tesi Investigadors/es Grup de recerca

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  

Global literary studies

The GlobaLS group works on global approaches to literature and cultural history. In other words, it works on the challenge of examining how literature works in the way it circulates and its poetics at a global level, to make new discoveries and formulate new research questions, as well as to detect and study the implicit limitations thereof. Within this framework, the group's work has three main focus points: global flows in translation, the global novel and global environments. Given these broader subject areas, we propose the following specific lines of research, associated with the group's researchers:

Global flows in translation:

  • The sociology and history of translation and publishing (Diana Roig-Sanz and Laura Fòlica)
  • Cultural history and the digital humanities (Diana Roig-Sanz)
  • Literature and the cultural press, with a special focus on Latin America (Laura Fólica)

The global novel:

  • Studies on the novel and narrative theory (Neus Rotger and Marta Puxan-Oliva)
  • The novel and history (Neus Rotger)

Global environments:

  • Literature and space and ecocriticism (Marta Puxan-Oliva)

Dr Diana Roig-Sanz

Dr Laura Fólica

Dr Neus Rotger

Dr Marta Puxan-Oliva


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 IdentiCat

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  

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 professional or scientific discourse
  • Metaphor in sufferers' discourse
  • Metaphor in media or fiction
  • Metaphor in (health / mental health) communication
  • Metaphor identification and formulation 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

Dr Salvador Climent


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 Joan Pujolar

Dr Maite Puigdevall Serralvo


Representations of otherness and interculturality

Research into aspects associated with the representation of otherness and interculturality, particularly 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 Carles Prado-Fonts ALTER

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