Dr Robert Penhallurick
English Language & Applied Linguistics
Telephone: (01792) 604341
Room: Office - 203
Second Floor
Keir Hardie Building
Singleton Campus

Rob Penhallurick is the author of Studying the English Language (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), and editor of Debating Dialect: Essays on the Philosophy of Dialect Study (University of Wales Press, 2000). He has also written two books on varieties of Welsh English, The Anglo-Welsh Dialects of North Wales (Peter Lang, 1991) and Gowerland and its language (Peter Lang,1994). He is a contributor to The Penguin Atlas of British & Irish History (2001) and the forthcoming second edition of Language in the British Isles (Cambridge University Press). His articles and essays to date have concentrated on varieties of English and their study. He has worked for three of the major dialect surveys of Europe: the Atlas Linguarum Europae, the Survey of English Dialects, and the Survey of Anglo-Welsh Dialects; and he is curator of the Department's Archive of Welsh English, which houses an extensive collection of audio recordings and transcriptions. The main areas of his current teaching and supervision are general linguistics, history of the English language, dialectology and sociolinguistics, language and identity, semiotics, film studies, and the origins of speech and writing.

Areas of Expertise

  • The Study of Dialect
  • Varieties and dialects of English
  • History of English Language Studies
  • Welsh English
  • Dialectology
  • Sociolinguistics
  • History of English


  • ALE120 Studying the English Language

    How did English becoma a global language? What exactly is Standard English? What do slips of the tongue reveal about language? ALE120 Studying the English Language answers these questions and many more. The module is an introduction to the diversity and history of English, and to relevant contemporary and classic work in linguistics. Other topics discussed in the lectures and accompanying course-book include the effects of dialect and accent on identity, swearing and offensive names in English, language and gender, language planning and theories about the origin of language. The course-book, Studying the English language, by Rob Penhallurick (Palgrave, 2010, 2nd edition), is the backbone to the module:the weekly lectures add further detail and discussion, and are supplemented by some seminar-class meetings.

  • ALE318 Research Project (Linguistics)

    In this module, students will conduct an empirical research project in Linguistics under supervision. This will entail collecting and analyzing data, as well as writing up their projects in an 8,000 word dissertation.

  • EN-120 English Essentials

    This is a skills-based module which will equip students with the technical and critical expertise that is necessary for their academic journey in English Literature and Creative Writing. It is designed to support the transition from post-16 study to undergraduate study and to show students *how* to become successful scholars of English. How should we read texts? How do we write essays? Focusing on an exciting anthology of texts selected by the English academics at Swansea, this team-taught module uncovers the power of written language. We will explore how writers inspire and challenge their readers, how to think critically, how to close-read, how to construct powerful arguments and how to produce written work that is rigorous, academic and convincing. This module empowers students to think, write, and persuade.

  • EN-260 Studying Dialect

    This module tells the story of the study of dialect down the centuries, emphasizing the study of varieties of the English language. It looks at the early interest in `provincial┬┐ English, through to the development of systematic dialectology in the nineteenth century, the advent of the sociolinguistic approach in the twentieth century, and on to the current diversity of methods and research. In doing so we also look at the history of dialect dictionaries, linguistic atlases, and national dialect surveys; at cultural attitudes towards non-standard English; and at the range of theoretical underpinnings of dialect study: philological, structuralist, and generative. Students should be aware that this is a module with much content and ground to cover and classes are mainly lecture-format. Class numbers tend to be high which, given staff resources, sometimes makes speedy return of essays difficult. Additional consultation hours may be arranged towards the end of the module in order to compensate.

  • EN-3031 Dissertation - English Literature

    The Dissertation is an optional, two-semester, 40-credit module designed to develop high-level academic skills and intellectual independence in the students. A first-semester skills-building programme will include: research skills, summary skills, bibliographic skills, ability to synthesise succinctly, planning and organisational skills, correct presentation of a thesis and bibliography, presentational skills and public speaking. Students conduct research on a subject of their choice, devised in consultation with a member of the English literature staff. The topic will be devised to fall within staff research and teaching specialisms, broadly defined. Students attend group sessions on research skills in Semesters 1 and 2, and have individual meetings with supervisors in Semester 2.

  • EN-376 Prehistory, History and Language

    This module has three sections 1. The origins of language question- focusing especially on the ideas of Noam Chomsky, Steven Pinker, and Terrence Deacon. This section gives us an in-depth insight into the theories of the fundamental character of language. 2. The search for the Indo-European- focusing on rival theories ( for example, Colin Renfrew, JP Mallory, Marija Gimbutas) on the origins and spread of Indo-European languages. This section provides an in-detail understanding of research into the language "family" that gave us English. 3. The Old English to Middle English question- what is the evidence that led language historians to identify a boundary between so called "Old" and "Middle English." This section is about the historical processes that changed the grammar, vocabulary, and spelling of English enormously in the Middle Ages. Students should be aware that this is a challenging module with much content and ground to cover from a range of disciplines, and classes are mainly lecture-format. Class numbers tend to be high which, given staff resources, sometimes makes speedy return of essays difficult. Additional consultation hours may be arranged towards the end of the module in order to compensate.


  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Federica Barbieri
    Other supervisor: Dr Robert Penhallurick
  • A News Values Analysis of Media Representations of Male Schizophrenia (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Robert Penhallurick
    Other supervisor: Prof Nuria Lorenzo-Dus
  • 'A History of the Welsh English Dialect in Fiction' (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Vivienne Rogers
    Other supervisor: Dr Robert Penhallurick
  • 'The discourse of mental health: an analysis of perceptions and usage.' (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Nuria Lorenzo-Dus
    Other supervisor: Dr Robert Penhallurick