Brief Description

I have authored and edited books and journal articles in various fields of linguistics that are concerned with language as an institutionalised social practice. I take a particular interest in style as a theoretical concept as well as a perspective that can be applied to a wide range of communicative contexts involving the diffusion and transformation of knowledge. Epistemologically, my thinking is inspired by dialogical theories and theories of social change (Bakhtin, Marková, Linell, Moscovici, see my interview with Ivana Marková.

Among my recent book publications are 'Ideological Conceptualizations of Language: Discourses of Linguistic Diversity' (Peter Lang 2013), 'Linguistic Diversity in Europe: Current Trends and Discourses' (de Gruyter Mouton 2012), 'Historical Corpus Stylistics: Media, Technology and Change' (Continuum 2008, paperback edition in 2012). 

In recent years, together with my appointment as member of the board of the association ICLHE (Integrating Language and Content in Higher Education), I have focused thematically on questions concerning foreign (i.e. English) language use and competence in higher education (cf., for example, 'Communicative Competence and Didactic Challenges', ZHAW 2016), 'Internationalising Curricula in Higher Education: Quality and Language of Instruction' (Swiss Journal of Applied Linguistics 2018) and 'English Medium Education in Internationalized Universities: New Policy Perspectives' 2021).

Recent book-length publications (for more details / direct links to the publications click on the images below).

English Medium Education in Internationalized Universities: New Policy Perspectives (2021)
Thematic number, edited by Ute Smit and Patrick Studer
European Journal of Language Policy/Revue européenne de politique linguistique 13.2.

Further details including authors’ guidelines and code of conduct, can be consulted at:

Internationalising Curricula in Higher Education: Quality and Language of Instruction (2018). 

Over the past decades, higher education institutions have progressively moved towards opening themselves to the international higher education market (e.g. de Wit & Merkx 2012). In the context of these efforts, universities have begun internationalising their curricula by offering international profiles within their regular study programmes. In this volume, we ask ourselves how language and trans- /intercultural competence standards have to be defined for international profiles so that students not only use a different medium for study but also actively develop their language and, more generally, their global competences.

Communicative Competences and Didactic Challenges (2016)

Looking in greater detail at the role of lecturers, this publication reports results of a project introducing English as a medium of instruction in a bachelor-level programme in the natural sciences offered by a university of applied sciences in German-speaking Switzerland. The three papers in this publication focus on key aspects arising from the pilot phase, outlining challenges involved when functioning communities of practice are disrupted by the change of the medium of communication as well as communicative processes that are at work in creating a new community of practice on the basis of English as a lingua franca.

Ideological Conceptualisations of Language Discourses of Linguistic Diversity (2013). 

This book presents cutting-edge research into the complex interrelationships between linguistic diversity and ideology. It provides insight into how institutions and individual stakeholders carry ideologies forward into the discursive space through policies, propaganda or individual perceptions and reflections. The chapters focus on different European localities (UK, Central Europe, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Italy), social actors (migrant communities, citizens, and policy- makers), institutional contexts (European, national) and private enterprises. Understanding ideology as a social act of conceptualization, the book contributes to the growing interdisciplinary body of linguistic research into the social theory of meaning and change.

Linguistic Diversity in Europe: Trends and Discourses (Berlin/New York: de Gruyter Mouton, 2012.

This book, which emerges in the context of the European research network LINEE (Languages in a Network of European Excellence), is concerned with European multilingualism both as a political concept and as a social reality. It features cutting-edge studies by linguists and anthropologists who perceive multilingualism as a discursive phenomenon which can be revealed and analyzed through empirical fieldwork. The book presents a fresh perspective of European multilingualism as it takes the reader through key themes of social consciousness – identity, policy, education, economy – and relevant societal levels of organization (European, national, regional).

Historical Corpus Stylistics. London: Continuum (2008, 2012, 2014).

This monograph approaches performance style in media genres by discussing the performance of genre external and internal factors over time which underlie and motivate the stylistic development of print media. This cutting-edge survey will be of interest to academics researching corpus linguistics, media discourse and stylistics. “Briefly reviewed in the Year's work in English Studies journal, vol 89, No. 1”