Dr Gabriel Ozon

Lecturer in Applied Linguistics

Contact

Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
Sheffield
S3 7RA


Overview

I joined the School of English in 2013, having worked previously at the University of Sussex, Queen Mary University of London, and University College London (where I completed my PhD research).

I work on morpho-syntactic variation in World Englishes, looking at the impact of the sociolinguistic context on formal structures. My current research interests include (i) verbal complementation (light verb constructions and serial verb constructions) in World Englishes, (ii) grammaticalisation, (iii) contact-induced language change, and (iv) Englishes in Europe.


Research

Both my teaching and my research have engendered a keen interest in linguistic variation, a significant influence in my current projects. My interest in language favours the application of quantitative (corpus linguistics) techniques in order to extract patterns and conditions of use from authentic data. I am interested in working with issues where theoretical claims can be tested by empirical evidence, and I favour the use of corpus linguistics methods. My research looks into the sociolinguistics of grammar, i.e. how and to what extent the wider (sociolinguistic) context of language use impinges on formal grammatical structures.

For the past 5 years, I have been working on Cameroon Pidgin English (CPE), a typical Atlantic pidgin/creole language in that it has a European colonial language as one of its ancestors, but also has characteristics of West African languages. Along with Melanie Green (Sussex) and Miriam Ayafor (Yaounde I), we built a pilot corpus of Cameroon Pidgin English (CPE), which was supported by a British Academy/Leverhulme Grant. The corpus is freely available for download.

I have written extensively (see ‘Publications’ tab) using data from our CPE corpus. Additionally, the CPE pilot project provides the foundation for a 2019 AHRC Global Challenges application to build a one-million-word corpus of CPE.

My current projects involve:

  • Light verb constructions in the contact continuum: research monograph proposal for the Studies in English Language series of Cambridge University Press.
  • Codeswitching/Translanguaging in Cameroon Pidgin English: After publishing extensively about the formal structure of CPE, it became apparent that many research results required a social explanation. This project looks at integrating the collected metadata with the corpus search tools, which in turn allows research into both structural and social variables.

I am a member of the British Association for Applied Linguistics, the Philological Society, Societas Linguistica Europaea, and the South East European Research Centre.


Teaching

I teach both on the BA in English Language and Linguistics, and on the MA in Applied Linguistics, on modules such as:

  • World Englishes
  • Using Corpora in Applied Linguistics
  • Patterns in Grammar
  • Varieties of English
  • Structure of English
  • English Grammar and Discourse
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Research Practice

Supervision

I am currently supervising a number of research projects looking at topics such as grammaticalisation of intensifiers across varieties of English, error annotation in learner corpora, the effects of computer-mediated communication on language learning, and lexico-grammatical variation/change in popular music. I am happy to work in projects in any area of my research expertise (World Englishes (including ELF), grammatical variation, corpus-based approaches to linguistic research)


Public Engagements

I was invited (with my co-investigator/-author, Dr Melanie Green (Sussex)) to speak at a Symposium on Naija (the language that has developed in Nigeria out of Nigerian Pidgin), which took place in the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, in late June 2019. The symposium was organised (and funded) by Institut Français de Recherche en Afrique (IFRA-Nigeria) and was the occasion to introduce NaijaSynCor, the recently launched corpus of Naija, which is built largely along the lines of our own CPE corpus, but makes use of a different suite of language software and multidisciplinary methods for the data analysis.

The symposium was attended by specialists of creoles and pidgins of various countries and institutions (Cameroon, Hong Kong, Nigeria, UK). The Symposium as a resounding success, and drew considerable attention and positive reactions, activated by the BBC News Pidgin Channel report (https://www.bbc.com/pidgin/tori-48928363). The participants of the symposium made plans for the future of Naija, including creating an on-line Encyclopaedic Grammar of Naija; and the creation of an association for the development and promotion of corpus of Pidgins and Creoles (The International Corpus of Pidgin and Creole Languages, ICPC). A report is available at www.ifra-nigeria.org/scientific-events/conferences/324-report-symposium-on-naija-institute-of-african-studies-ui-june-27-29-20 . Along with Dr Slavomir Čeplö (Vienna), I was invited to become a founding member of the association, which would involve coordinating joint funding bids for collecting corpora for the main Atlantic Creole varieties (Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Jamaica). The intended corpora would be typological in design, aiming for comparability (e.g. what they have in common, what separates them). The data will be compiled, annotated and analysed following the same template, tools, procedures, and grammatical categories.

Such a drive is in step with the TUOS School of English research objectives of international collaboration, and tapping underused funding schemes (e.g. via the European Research Council). The team has demonstrable expertise in capturing national and European grants.

The NaijaSynCor project will organise a workshop in the Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics (SPCL) meeting in Paris in June 2020, where the foundation of the ICPC Association will be finalised. I am hopeful that the School of English at TUOS will agree to fund my trip to the SPCL meeting. It is worth mentioning that I was an invited speaker at the Naija Symposium.

Along with my co-investigator, Dr Melanie Green (Sussex), I was invited to speak at the prestigious Philological Society (see below). The project generated considerable interest, and we obtained very valuable feedback for our grant application: A spoken corpus of Cameroon Pidgin English: compilation, applications, and prospectus. Philological Society, London (February 2019) https://blog.philsoc.org.uk/2019/01/25/a-spoken-corpus-of-cameroon-pidgin-english-compilation-applications-and-next-steps/


Selected recent publications

I have written a number of journal articles on certain grammatical aspects of CPE for World Englishes and the Journal of Language Contact. I have also written a chapter on language acquisition and language contact for the forthcoming Handbook of Language Contact (for Oxford University Press), and contributed to edited volumes on topics such as corpus linguistics in Africa, World Englishes, contact-induced language change, and English in Europe. Some of these publications are available online.

I am currently working on the second edition of English Words and Sentences, a textbook I co-wrote with my colleague Eva Eppler for the Cambridge University Press CIEL series.

Journal articles
  • Green, Melanie and Gabriel Ozón (2019). Valency and transitivity in contact: evidence from Cameroon Pidgin English. Journal of Language Contact 12:1: 52-88.
  • Ozón, Gabriel, Melanie Green, Miriam Ayafor and Sarah FitzGerald (2017). The spoken corpus of Cameroon Pidgin English. World Englishes 36:3: 427–447.
Textbook
  • Duran Eppler, Eva and Gabriel Ozon (2013). English Words and Sentences. [Cambridge Introductions to English Language]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 256 pp.
Book chapters
  • Ozón, Gabriel and Eva Duran Eppler (forthcoming, 2019). First and second language acquisition and contact-induced linguistic change, in Grant, A.P. (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Language Contact. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Ozón, Gabriel, Sarah FitzGerald and Melanie Green (2019). Addressing a coverage gap in African Englishes: the tagged corpus of Cameroon Pidgin English. In Esimaje, Alexandra; Gut, Ulrike and Antia, Bassey (eds.) Corpus Linguistics and African Englishes. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 143164.
  • Green, Melanie and Gabriel Ozón (2018). Information structure in a spoken corpus of Cameroon Pidgin English. In Adamou, Evangelia; Haude, Katharina and Vanhove, Martine (eds.) Information structure in lesser-described languages: Studies in prosody and syntax. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 329355.
  • Nelson, Gerald and Gabriel Ozón (2017). World Englishes and Corpus Linguistics, in Low, E. and Anne Pakir (eds.) World Englishes: Re-thinking Paradigms. London: Routledge, 149164.
  • Ozón, Gabriel (2016). European Englishes. In Linn, Andrew. Investigating English in Europe – Contexts and Agendas. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 72–78.
  • Ozón, Gabriel (2016). Native speaker English. In Linn, Andrew. Investigating English in Europe – Contexts and Agendas. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 66–72.
  • Ozón, Gabriel (2006). The Given Before New Principle, and Textual Retrievability: A Corpus-based Study. In Renouf, Antoinette, and Kehoe, Andrew (eds.) The Changing Face of Corpus Linguistics. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 243–262.
Reviews
  • Ozón, Gabriel (2018). Review of Meierkord et al. (eds.) (2016) Ugandan English. English Language and Linguistics 1-6. doi:10.1017/S1360674317000569.
  • Ozón, Gabriel (2017). Review of Höglund et al. (eds.) (2014) Perspectives on complementation. Journal of Linguistics 53:2: 454–459.
Digital datasets