Dr Philip Seargeant | Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies
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Dr Philip Seargeant

Profile summary

Professional biography

@philipseargeant

Teaching

I teach language and communication studies, focusing on topics including linguistic creativity, English around the world, and the relationship between language, politics and society. 

I am currently deputy chair of the production team for the new Level 1 undergraduate module, L101 An Introduction to English Language Studies. Previously I was production chair of the undergraduate module E302 Language and Creativity, (winner of a Teaching Excellence Award) and have contributed to A105 Voices, Texts and Material Culture, A150 Voices and TextsU214 Worlds of English, U211 Exploring the English Language, EA300 Children’s Literature (winner of OU Teaching Award), E854 Investigating Language in Action and EE817 Applied Linguistics and English Language. I have also authored several Open Educational Resources (details below).

In addition to this I have worked as a consultant for the BBC on a number of programmes, and written for publications such as The New European, The Huffington Post, Times Higher Education, ProspectThe Independent, The Washington Post, OpenDemocracy, The New Statesman and Libération.

 

Research

My research focuses on:

Please see below for publications. 

I was prevoiusly convenor of the Language and Communication Research group, and before that of the Applied Linguistics and Literacies Research Group. I am on the editorial boards of English Today and World Englishes

 

Audio-visual

Animations about language and communication

What is language? - a short animation explaining what exactly language is, where it's come from, and how it works.

The History of English in Ten Minutes (Winner of 'Learning on Screen' award, 2012) - A series of short videos which squeeze 1600 years of history into 10 one-minute bites, uncovering the sources of English words and phrases from Shakespeare and the King James Bible to America and the Internet. The series looks at how English grew from a small tongue into a major global language before reflecting on the future of English in the 21st century. Narrated by Clive Anderson.

Shakespeare Speaks, with BBC Learning English (Runner-up, English Speaking Union awards, ‘Resources for Secondary and Higher Learners’, 2016. Nominated for a British Council ELTon Award in ‘Innovation in learner resources’, 2017) on OpenLearnBBC site

Language and Creativity (OpenLearn version Language and Creativity) - a short animation asking what creativity is, and what it has to do with language. The video looks at how people use language in creative ways, at the roles linguistic creativity plays in society, and at how people go about studying it.

A Brief History of Emoji - A short film, narrated by Lauren Laverne, which explores the ideas behind the success of emoji, and explains why they’ve become such an important part of modern-day communication.

Fake News and post-truth

Fake news, filter bubbles and sharing wisely! 3 short animations about the circulation of information on social media, looking at issues such as sharing, online filter bubbles and the impact of fake news.

Facebook, filter bubbles and fake news, or: How people create the experience of social media through their own actions (a story in memes)

What’s fake about ‘fake news’? In conversation with Hugh Mcfaul (alternative link on research website)

Stories on social media and fake news, interview with Alexandra Georgakopoulou for Diggit Magazine

Short documentaries about langauge and communication

Teaching a robot how to speak - A short documentary asking whether, even with the vast progress made in artificial intelligence, it is really possible for robots to learn language.

The Language of Comedy - 6 short videos looking at the way comedians manipulate language featuring Charlie Higson on catchphrases; Henning Wehn on cross cultural humour; David McGilivray on innuendo; Isy Suttie, on crafting a joke; and Graham Fellows on creating his character John Shuttleworth. 

English in the European Union (iTunesU version) - A short video about the use of English in European politics.

Shakespeare Original Pronunciation - An introduction featuring David and Ben Crystal to 'Original Pronunciation' productions of Shakespeare and what they reveal about the history of the English language.

English: Personal Experiences - A collection of interviews with people such as the poet Benjamin Zephaniah, writer Sindiwe Magona, and author Jung Chang discussing the role that English has played in their life, and their attitudes and thoughts about language and identity.

What's creative about creative writing? (audio interviews) - A series of interviews with writers, literary agents, educators and translators looks at what creativity means in the context of ‘creative writing’. These include Andrew Cowan on creativity and creative writing; Toby Litt on genre and creative writing; Sally O'Reilly & Emma Darwin on the relationship between history and historical fiction; Jutta Schettler, Jaime Bulloch & Jeremy Munday on the art and craft of translation; Xiaolu Guo on cultural translation and more; Jonny Geller on the role of the literary agent.

Taster courses

English in the world today 

History of English timeline Part 1 and Part 2 

Global English

Language and creativity

Fake news, filter bubbles and Facebook

 

Publications

Books

Seargeant, P., Hewings, A. and Pihlaja, S. (eds) (2018) The Routledge handbook of English Language Studies. Abingdon: Routledge.

Tagg, C, Seargeant, P. and Brown, A. A. (2017) Taking offence on social media: conviviality and communication on Facebook. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Demjén, Z. and Seargeant, P. (eds) (2016) Creativity in language: From everyday style to verbal art. Milton Keynes: Open University. Companion website.

Hewings, H., Prescott, L. and Seargeant, P. (eds) (2016) Futures for English Studies: Teaching language, literature and creative writing in higher education. Hounslow: Palgrave Macmillan.

Seargeant, P. and Tagg, C. (eds) (2014) The language of social media: identity and community on the internet. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Seargeant, P. and Greenwell, B. (2013) From language to creative writing: an introduction. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Erling, E. J. and Seargeant, P. (eds) (2013) English and development: policy, pedagogy and globalization. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. 

Seargeant, P. (2012) Exploring World Englishes: language in a global context. Abingdon: Routledge. Companion website.

Seargeant, P. and Swann, J. (eds) (2012) English in the world: history, diversity, changeAbingdon: Routledge. Companion website.

Seargeant, P. (ed.) (2011) English in Japan in the era of globalization. Hounslow: Palgrave Macmillan.

Seargeant, P. (2009) The idea of English in Japan: ideology and the evolution of a global language. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

 

Journalism

How Brexit is driving a rise in the language of everyday racism, English and Creative Writing, 22 June 2018. Slightly reworked version in Europe Street, How language discrimination fuels the hostile environment, 29 June 2018.

The Obscure Rhetorical Technique That Explains Everything You Need To Know About Post-Truth Politics, Huffington Post, 30 May 2018.

Popularity of ‘Donald’ plunges as ‘Melania’ rises: how names accrue social meaning, The Conversation, 24 May 2018.

Facebook and a fractured society: How online communication is changing friendship and politics (with Caroline Tagg), emag, Issue 79, February 2018, pp. 48-50.

The Role Of Information Literacy In The Fight Against Fake News (with Caroline Tagg), Information Literacy Group, 15 February 2018.

Political Discourse on Social Media (with Caroline Tagg), Social Science Matters, 30 October 2017.

Weaponising blandness: how khaki chinos and Taylor Swift became symbols of the alt-right, Prospect Magazine, 21 September 2017.

Linguistic diversity and ‘cosmopolitan bias’, Language on the Move, 18 September 2017.

Does poor spelling really mean Donald Trump isn’t fit to be president? The Conversation, 12 September 2017.

Statue Wars: Competing Narratives in the Public Landscape (with Korina Giaxoglou) Sociological Review, 24th August 2017. 

Why Do Statues Become Touchstones For Political Struggle? The Huffington Post, 18 August 2017.

Why does everyone in Star Wars speak English? Babel, 20, 1 August 2017. Republished in Diggit, 14 August 2017.

The dystopian smile behind The Emoji Movie, The Huffington Post, 1 August 2017.

Brexiteers and Broflakes: how language frames political debate, OpenLearn, 28 July 2017.

What can emoji teach us about human civilization? OpenLearn, 17 July 2017. 

The real reason you can’t quit Facebook? Maybe it’s because you can judge your friends (with Caroline Tagg), The Conversation, 12 July 2017.

Wrestling With The Truth - Trump And The Power Of Performance Politics, The Huffington Post, 3 July 2017.

How sexist is the urban environment? (with Korina Giaxoglou) OpenDemocracy, 31 May 2017.

Would a common language have helped Europe?, The New European, 19 April 2017.

How Brexit Is Giving Rise To A New Wave Of Language Wars, The Huffington Post, 5 April 2017.

What Theresa May’s letter on Brexit was really saying, The Washington Post, 30 March 2017.

What effect is social media having on the way we mourn global tragedies? (with Korina Giaxoglou) OpenLearn, 28 March 2017.

Street protests and the creative spectacle (with Frank Monaghan) Diggit Magazine, 20 March 2017.

Is Donald Trump really giving a voice to the voiceless? The Huffington Post, 17 March 2017.

The whimsical world of emoji swearing, Strong Language, 14 March 2017.

Five Properties Of Creativity, And How They Can Help With The Writing Process, Writers & Artists, 9 March 2017.

Can emojis play a part in debates about our national identity?, The New European, 9 March 2017.

How emoji are changing the shape of everyday EnglishOpenLearn, 8 March 2017.

How ‘Fake News’ Became Trump’s Favourite Insult, The Huffington Post, 1 March 2017.

A Clockwork Orange: ultraviolence, Russian spies and fake news, The Conversation, 23 February 2017.

Lies, damned lies, and executive orders: the power of words and the Trump presidency, Diggit Magazine, 17 February 2017.

The truth and ‘alternative facts’: Language is always subject to change, The Independent, 31 January 2017.

Les langues elfiques de Tolkien, plus populaires que l’espérantoLibération, 30 January 2017.

How online diversity is shaping political debate (with Caroline Tagg), TLANG, 27 January 2017.

Why the solution to ‘fake news’ is education, not technology, OU News, 12 January, 2017.

Why J.R.R. Tolkien’s tradition of creating fantasy languages has prevailed, Newsweek, 11 January, 2017.

Fake news: the solution is education, not regulation (with Caroline Tagg), Times Higher Education, 29 December 2016.

The world’s words of the year pass judgement on a dark, surreal 2016The Conversation, 22 December 2016.

A century after his death, a Japanese literary giant is returning as an android – here’s whyThe Conversation, 7 December 2016. 

The filter bubble isn’t just Facebook’s fault – it’s yours (with Caroline Tagg), The Conversation, 5 December 2016. 

Ta, cheers, much obliged: A brief history of 'thanks' in EnglishOpenLearn, 23 September 2014.

 

Journal articles

Seargeant , P. and Chapman, C. (2018) Using Shakespeare to teach English in the digital age. ELT Journal, https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccy023 

Seargeant, P. and Tagg, C. (2018) Social media and the Future of Open Debate: a User-Oriented Approach to Facebook’s Filter Bubble Conundrum, Discourse, Context & Media, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcm.2018.03.005

Seargeant, P. (2017) The symbolism of English on the Brexit battleground. World Englishes, 36: 3, pp. 356–359.

Seargeant , P., Erling, E. J., Solly, M. and Hasan Chowdhury, Q. (2017) The communicative needs of Bangladeshi economic migrants: The functional values of host country languages versus English as a lingua franca. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, 6: 1, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jelf-2017-0008 

Seargeant , P., Erling, E. J., Solly, M., Hasan Chowdhury, Q. and Rahman, S. (2016) Analysing perceptions of English in rural Bangladesh: insights from postcolonial theory and world Englishes. World Englishes, DOI: 10.1111/weng.12215 

Erling, E. J., Seargeant , P. and Solly, M. (2014) English in rural Bangladesh: How is language education perceived as a resource for development in rural communities? English Today. 30: 4, pp. 15-21.

Hewings, A. and Seargeant, P. (2014) Constructing the discipline: pedagogically-focused knowledge production in English language studies. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning. 29: 2, pp. 131-144.

Tagg, C. and Seargeant, P. (2012) Writing systems at play in Thai-English online interactions. Writing Systems Research. 4: 2, pp. 195-213.

Seargeant, P., Tagg, C. and Ngampramuan, W. (2012) Language choice and addressivity strategies in Thai-English social network interactions. Journal of Sociolinguistics. 16: 4, pp. 510–531.

Pan Lin and Seargeant, P. (2012) Is English threatening Chinese language and culture? English Today. 28: 3, pp. 60-66.

Seargeant, P. (2012) Disciplinarity and the study of world Englishes. World Englishes. 31: 1, pp. 113–129.

Seargeant, P. and Tagg, C. (2011) English on the internet and a ‘post-varieties’ approach to language. World Englishes. 30: 4, pp. 496–514. 

Seargeant, P. (2011) Lexicography as a philosophy of language. Language Sciences, 33: 1, 1–10.

Seargeant, P. (2010) Naming and defining in World Englishes. World Englishes. 29:1, pp. 99-115.

Seargeant, P. (2010) The historical ontology of language. Language Sciences, 32: 1, pp. 1-13.

Seargeant, P. (2009) Philosophies of language in the fictions of Jorge Luis Borges. Philosophy and Literature. 33: 2, pp. 386-401.

Seargeant, P. (2009) Metaphors of possession in the conceptualisation of language. Language & Communication, 29: 4, pp. 383-393.

Seargeant, P. (2009) Language ideology, language theory, and the regulation of linguistic behaviour. Language Sciences, 31: 4, pp. 345-359.

Seargeant, P. (2009) Ideologies of English in Shakespeare’s Henry V. Language and Literature, 18: 1, pp. 25–44.

Seargeant, P. (2008) Language, ideology and ‘English within a globalized context’. World Englishes, 27: 2, pp. 217-232.

Seargeant, P. (2008) Ideologies of English in Japan: the perspective of policy and pedagogy. Language Policy, 7: 2, pp. 121-142.

Seargeant, P. (2007) Discursive diversity in the textual articulation of epidemic disease in Early Modern England, Language and Literature, 16: 4, pp. 339-360.

Seargeant, P. (2005) ‘More English than England itself’: the simulation of authenticity in foreign language practice in Japan, International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 15: 3, pp. 326-345.

Seargeant, P. (2005) Globalisation and reconfigured English in Japan, World Englishes, 24: 3, pp. 309-319.

 

Chapters in books

Seargeant, P., Hewings, A. and Pihlaja, S. (2018) An introduction to English Language Studies, in Seargeant, P., Hewings, A. and Pihlaja, S. (eds) The Routledge handbook of English Language Studies. Abingdon: Routledge.

Seargeant, P. (2018) The idea of English, in Seargeant, P., Hewings, A. and Pihlaja, S. (eds) The Routledge handbook of English Language Studies. Abingdon: Routledge.

Solly, M., Hasan Chowdhury, Q. Erling, E. J. and Seargeant , P. (2017) The role of English in the safety, stability, and resilience of economic migrants from Bangladesh to the Middle East, in Erling, E. J. (ed.) English across the Fracture Lines: the Contribution and Relevance of English to Security, Stability and Peace, London: British Council, pp. 109-114.

Seargeant, P. (2017) Teaching the history of English online: open education and student engagement. In Hayes, M. and Burkette, A. (eds) The Future of the History of the English Language: Pedagogical Practices. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Tagg, C. and Seargeant, P. (2017) Negotiating social roles in semi-public online contexts. In Sirpa Leppänen, P., Kytölä, S., Peuronen, S., Jousmäki, H. and Westinen, E. (eds) Discourse and identification: diversity and heterogeneity in social media practices. Abingdon: Routledge. 

Seargeant, P. (2016) Language and art. In Demjén, Z. and Seargeant, P. (eds) Creativity in language: From everyday style to verbal art. Milton Keynes: Open University. pp. 277-328.

Seargeant, P. (2016) World Englishes and English as a Lingua Franca: a changing context for ELT, in Hall, G. (ed) The Routledge handbook of English language teaching. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 13-25.

Prescott, L., Hewings, A. and Seargeant, P. (2016) Introduction, in Hewings, H., Prescott, L. and Seargeant, P. (eds) Futures for English Studies: Teaching language, literature and creative writing in higher education. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-10. 

Hewings, H. and Seargeant, P. (2016) English language studies: a critical appraisal. In Hewings, H., Prescott, L. and Seargeant, P. (eds) Futures for English Studies: Teaching language, literature and creative writing in higher education. Hounslow: Palgrave Macmillan.

Tagg, C. and Seargeant, P. (2015) Facebook and the discursive construction of the social network, in Spilioti, T. and Georgakopoulou, A. (eds) The Routledge handbook of language and digital communication. Abingdon: Routledge.

Seargeant, P. and Tagg, C. (2014) The language of social media, in Seargeant, P. and Tagg, C. (eds) The language of social media: identity and community on the internet. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Tagg, C. and Seargeant, P. (2014) Audience design and language choice in the construction and maintenance of translocal communities on social network sites, in Seargeant, P. and Tagg, C. (eds) The language of social media: identity and community on the internet. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Erling, E. J., Hamid, M. O., and Seargeant, P. (2013) Grassroots attitudes to the positioning of English as a language for international development: Insights from Bangladesh, in Erling, E. J. and Seargeant, P. (eds) English and development: policy, pedagogy and globalization. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Seargeant, P. and Erling, E. J. (2013) English and development in a global world, in Erling, E. J. and Seargeant, P. (eds) English and development: policy, pedagogy and globalization. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Seargeant, P. (2013) Ideologies of nativism and linguistic globalisation, in Houghton, S. and Rivers, D. (eds) Native-speakerism in Japan: intergroup dynamics in foreign language education, pp. 231-242. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Seargeant, P. (2012) Between script and language: the ambiguous ascription of ‘English’ in the linguistic landscape, in Hélot, C., Barni, M., Janssens, R. and Bagna, C. (eds) Linguistic landscapes, multilingualism and social change. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, pp. 187-200.

Seargeant, P. (2012) The politics and policies of global English, in Hewings, A. and Tagg, C. (eds) The politics of English: conflict, competition, coexistence. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 5-32.

Seargeant, P. (2012) Imagining the future of English, in Hewings, A. and Tagg, C. (eds) The politics of English: conflict, competition, coexistence. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 339-346.

Seargeant, P. (2012) Ideologies of English in Shakespeare’s Henry V, in Lee, M. (ed.) Shakespearean Criticism. Vol. 144. Detroit: Gale, Cengage Learning, pp. 208-220.

Seargeant, P. (2012) English in the world today, in Seargeant, P. and Swann, J. (eds) English in the world: history, diversity, change. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 5-35.

Leith, D. and Seargeant, P. (2012) A colonial language, in Seargeant, P. and Swann, J. (eds) English in the world: history, diversity, change. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 101-135.

Seargeant, P. (2012) English and linguistic globalisation, in Seargeant, P. and Swann, J. (eds) English in the world: history, diversity, change. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 178-187.

Seargeant, P. (2011) English in Japan in the era of globalization, in Seargeant, P. (ed.) English in Japan in the era of globalization. Hounslow: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-12.

Seargeant, P. (2011) The symbolic meaning of visual English in the social landscape of Japan, in Seargeant, P. (ed.) English in Japan in the era of globalization, pp. 187-204. Hounslow: Palgrave Macmillan.

Seargeant, P. and Erling, E. J. (2011) The discourse of ‘English as a language for international development’: policy assumptions and practical challenges, in Coleman, H. (ed.) Dreams and realities: developing countries and the English language. London: British Council, pp. 248-267. Available at www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/Z413%20EDB%20Section12.pdf

Seargeant, P. (2010) Time, tense and perception in the narrative voice of Bret Easton Ellis’s Lunar Park, in Cook, G. and North, S. (eds) Applied linguistics in action: a reader. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 246-256.

 

Reports

Erling, E. J., Seargeant , P., Solly, M., Hasan Chowdhury, Q. and Rahman, S. (2012) Attitudes to English as a language for international development in rural Bangladesh. London: British Council. Available at www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/B497%20ELTRP%20Report%20Erling_FINAL.pdf

Erling, E. J., Seargeant , P., Solly, M., Hasan Chowdhury, Q. and Rahman, S. (2015), English for economic development: a case study of migrant workers from Bangladesh. London: British Council. Available at http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/english-economic-development-a-case-study-migrant-workers-bangladesh

 

Book review

Seargeant, P. (2018) Book review of Multilingual Subjects: On Standard English, Its Speakers, and Others in the Long Eighteenth Century, by Daniel DeWispelare, Journal of British Studies, 57: 3, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/jbr.2018.93

 

In the media

Calling Boris Johnson By His First Name Is As Problematic As That Tweet Suggest, According To These Experts, by Lara Williams, Bustle, 27 June 2018.

Young people on: fake news, by Yusuf Tamanna, Parent Zone, 24 November 2017. 

Fake news: Universities offer tips on how to spot it, by Judith Burns, BBC News, 9 November 2017.

In defence of the emoji: how they are helping us communicate better than ever, by Kashmira Gander, The Independent, 3 October 2017.

Donald Trump and the ‘rise’ of scare ‘quotes’, by Emine Saner, The Guardian, 14 March 2017.

‘Alternative Facts’ Have Arrived In British Politics But They’re Not As ‘Orwellian’ As Trump’s, by Graeme Demianyk, The Huffington Post, 29 January 2017.

How to reestablish the primacy of news brands on social, by Chris Sutcliffe, The Media Briefing, 5 January 2017.

Teach students to navigate fake news, say researchers, by John Elmes, Times Higher Education, 2 January 2017.

Teach students how to spot fake news stories, say academics, by Richard Vaughn, i News, 2 January 2017.

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