Professor Susan M. Fitzmaurice
School of English
Vice President and Head of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Professor and Chair of English Language
+44 114 222 0213
Full contact details
School of English
Humanities Research Institute
Upper Hanover Street
Susan Fitzmaurice is currently Vice President and Head of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Her home academic department is the School of English where she is Professor and Chair of English Language
Fitzmaurice has been at the University of Sheffield since 2006; she served as Head of the School of English from 2011 till 2015. She was previously Professor of English and Head of Department, and then Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Northern Arizona University until December 2005. From 1987 to 1995, she was University Lecturer in English and Fellow of St. Catharine´s College, Cambridge, and from 1984 to 1986, she was Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Cape Town.
Fitzmaurice is co-editor with Bernd Kortmann of the Topics in English Linguistics (TiEL) series for Mouton de Gruyter and she serves on the Council of the Philological Society.
- Research interests
Fitzmaurice's research centres on the history of the English language, using methodological perspectives provided by historical pragmatics, historical sociolinguistics and computational linguistics. She is particularly interested in the methods and kinds of evidence employed in historical approaches to language study. She focusses on semantic-pragmatic change and the utility of different frameworks for explaining such changes in time and space.
Fitzmaurice leads a digital humanities research group which uses concept modelling to explore meaning by identifying lexical and semantic patterns in very large text corpora. This work emerged from the AHRC-funded project: Linguistic DNA: Modelling concepts and semantic change in English 1500-1800 (AH/M00614X/1), which used high-performance computing and data visualisation to identify lexical and semantic patterns in early modern English texts. Linguistic DNA was a collaboration between colleagues at the Universities of Glasgow and Sussex and data specialists in the Humanities Research Institute (HRI).
For more information about the team and to follow the project’s progress, see the website and blog posts.
Fitzmaurice is also interested in using humanities approaches and methods in development research. With Patricia Cowell, Seth Mehl, Meesha Warmington and Sharron Hinchliffe, she collaborates with local South African NGO, Pala Forerunners, and colleagues at the University of Pretoria on GCRF-funded projects to train researchers and build research capacity in rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa. For more information on this work, see the UK-ZA Community Research website.
- Introduction: Heuristics and evidence in studying the history of the English language. Mouton de Gruyter.
- Studies in the history of the English language IV: Empirical and analytical advances in the study of English language change.
- The Familiar Letter in Early Modern English. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
- Sincerity and epistolarity: Multilingual historical pragmatic perspectives. Multilingua, 39(1), 1-9. View this article in WRRO
- Linguistic DNA: Investigating Conceptual Change in Early Modern English Discourse. Studia Neophilologica, 89(S1), 21-38. View this article in WRRO
- When natives became Africans: A historical sociolinguistic study of semantic change in colonial discourse. Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics, 3(1), 1-36. View this article in WRRO
- When natives became Africans: A historical sociolinguistic study of semantic change in colonial discourse. Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics, 3(1), 1-36.
- Marijke J. van der Wal and Gijsbert Rutten (eds). 2013.Touching the Past: Studies in the Historical Sociolinguistics of Ego-Documents. Journal of Historical Pragmatics, 16(2), 315-320.
- Ideology, race and place in historical constructions of belonging: the case of Zimbabwe. English Language and Linguistics, 19(2), 327-354.
- Crossing the Water. Journal of English Linguistics, 42(3), 269-275.
- Social factors and language change in eighteenth- Century England: The case of multiple negation'. Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, 113(3), 293-321.
- Special issue: selected papers from the fourth International Conference on Late Modern English. ENGLISH LANGUAGE & LINGUISTICS, 16, 201-207.
- Talking politics across transnational space: Researching linguistic practices in the Zimbabwe diaspora. Varieng(20).
- Grammars, Grammarians and Grammar-Writing in Eighteenth-Century England. Edited by Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade. Historiographia Linguistica. International Journal for the History of the Language Sciences, 37(1-2), 221-225.
- Grammars, Grammarians and Grammar-Writing in Eighteenth-Century England. HIST LING, 37(1-2), 221-225.
- Laurel J. Brinton and Leslie K. Arnovick, The English language: A linguistic history. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Pp. xx + 522. ISBN 0-19-542205-8. - Elly van Gelderen, A history of the English language. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2006. Pp. xviii + 334. ISBN 90-272-3237-7.. English Language and Linguistics, 13(1), 141-147.
- A history of the English language.. ENGLISH LANGUAGE & LINGUISTICS, 13, 141-147.
- The English language: A linguistic history.. ENGLISH LANGUAGE & LINGUISTICS, 13, 141-147.
- The sociopragmatics of a lovers' spat The case of the eighteenth-century courtship letters of Mary Pierrepont and Edward Wortley. J HIST PRAGMAT, 10(2), 215-237.
- Testing the effects of regional, ethnic, and international dialects of English on listening comprehension. LANG LEARN, 55(1), 37-69.
- The Effects of Nonnative Accents on Listening Comprehension: Implications for ESL Assessment. TESOL Quarterly, 36(2), 173-173.
- Politeness and modal meaning in the construction of humiliative discourse in an early eighteenth-century network of patron–client relationships. English Language and Linguistics, 6(2), 239-265.
- Servant or patron? Jacob Tonson and the language of deference and respect. Language Sciences, 24(3-4), 247-260.
- The state of the history of the English language: a map of the past and road to the future?. English Language and Linguistics, 6(1), 171-196.
- “Plethoras of witty verbiage” and “heathen Greek”: Ways of reading meaning in English comic drama. Journal of Historical Pragmatics, 3(1), 31-60.
- Tentativeness and insistence in the expression of politeness in Margaret Cavendish’s Sociable Letters. Language and Literature: International Journal of Stylistics, 9(1), 7-24.
- Like talking on paper? The pragmatics of courtship and the eighteenth-century familiar letter. Language Sciences, 22(3), 359-383.
- Some remarks on the rhetoric of historical pragmatics. Journal of Historical Pragmatics, 1(1), 1-6.
- The great leveler: The role of the spoken media in stylistic shift from the colloquial to the conventional. AM SPEECH, 75(1), 54-68.
- The commerce of language in the pursuit of politeness in eighteenth-century England. ENGL STUD, 79(4), 309-328.
- Terttu Nevalainen & Helena Raumolin-Brunberg (eds.), Sociolinguistics and language history: Studies based on the Corpus of Early English Correspondence. (Language and computers: Studies in practical linguistics, 15.) Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1996. Pp. 213. Pb Dfl. 30.00, US $20.00.. Language in Society, 27(3), 409-413.
- Politeness in nineteenth-century Europe, a research agenda In Paternoster A & Fitzmaurice S (Ed.), Politeness in Nineteenth-Century Europe (pp. 1-35). John Benjamins Publishing Company
- Transnational languages, multilinguals and the challenges for LADO In Patrick PL, Schmid MS & Zwaan K (Ed.), Language Analysis for the Determination of Origin: Current Perspectives and New Directions (pp. 193-209). Springer International Publishing View this article in WRRO
- Sincerity and the moral reanalysis of politeness in late modern English: Semantic change and contingent polysemy In Chapman D, Moore C & Wilcox M (Ed.), Studies in the History of the English Language VII: Generalizing vs. Particularizing Methodologies in Historical Linguistic Analysis (pp. 173-202). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. View this article in WRRO
- English aristocratic letters In Auer A, Schreier D & Watts RJ (Ed.), Letter Writing and Language Change (pp. 156-184).
- History, social meaning, and identity in the spoken English of postcolonial white Zimbabweans In Taavitsainen I, Kyto M, Claridge C & Smith J (Ed.), Developments in English (pp. 200-223). Cambridge University Press
- Sociability: Conversation and the Performance of Friendship in early eighteenth century letters In Busse U (Ed.), The Meta-communicative Lexicon of English Now and Then: A Historical Pragmatics Approach (pp. 21-43). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
- The sociopragmatics of a lovers' spat: The case of the eighteenth-century courtship letters of Mary Pierrepont and Edward Wortley In Culpeper J (Ed.), Historical Sociopragmatics (pp. 37-59). John Benjamins Publishing
- Poetic collaboration and competition in the late seventeenth century: George Stepney’s letters to Jacob Tonson and Matthew Prior In Pahta P (Ed.), Communicating Early English Manuscripts (pp. 118-132). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Literary discourse, Historical Pragmatics (pp. 679-704).
- Coalitions, networks, and discourse communities in Augustan England: The Spectator and the early eighteenth-century essay In Hickey R (Ed.), Eighteenth-Century English: Ideology and Change (pp. 106-132). Cambridge University Press
- Changes in the meaning of politeness in eighteenth-century England: Discourse analysis and historical evidence In Culpeper J, Kádár DZ & Culpeper J (Ed.), Historical Impoliteness (pp. 87-115). Peter Lang Pub Incorporated
- Mr Spectator, identity and social roles in an early eighteenth-century community of practice and the periodical discourse community (pp. 29-53).
- Literary Discourse In Jucker AH (Ed.), Handbook of Historical Pragmatics (pp. 651-676). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
- Questions of standardization and representativeness in the development of social networks- based corpora: The story of the network of eighteenth-century english texts, Creating and digitizing language corpora (pp. 49-81). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Reading into the past, Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics (pp. 53-82). John Benjamins Publishing Company
- Semantic and pragmatic change, The Cambridge Handbook of English Historical Linguistics (pp. 256-270). Cambridge University Press
- L1 Rhodesian English, The Lesser-Known Varieties of English (pp. 263-285). Cambridge University Press
Conference proceedings papers
- Research group
Fitzmaurice supervises doctoral projects on topics including semantic change and marginal vocabulary in eighteenth-century English, pragmatics and conversation analysis, historical discourse analysis, and cross-cultural discourse analysis.
She welcomes research students who are interested in the English language and the histories of English varieties, and who wish to pursue study in historical sociolinguistics, historical corpus linguistics, historical pragmatics, historical discourse analysis, and the history of the English language.