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Department of English Language and ELT Methodology

Major Research Areas

Research at the Department of English Language and ELT Methodology covers most of the areas and aspects of English, and all our projects together aspire to provide a coherent and comprehensive synchronic and diachronic description of the language. In addition to basic disciplines (morphology and syntax), research interests revolve around lexicology and textual communication disciplines (linguistic stylistics, pragmatics, discourse analysis). The underlying principle of our research is to apply a consistently contrastive view of English versus Czech and to simultaneously cultivate the linguistic and philological arms of research and instruction. A feature, unique in the Czech Republic, of the research carried out at the Department is the close link between synchronic description and language analysis, and diachronic and historical approaches. The fundamental methodological starting point applied by the Department in its research projects is the current form of functional structuralism originally associated with the Prague School of Linguistics; at the same time the Department continues to respond to the latest major trends in linguistics and English Studies in the world, namely cognitive linguistics and construction grammar. Other resources for research material and methods include corpus and computational linguistics (work with monolingual and parallel corpora). The Department’s overall orientation is to promote the direct link between research activities and teaching, including teacher training (this applies to all levels of the degree programmes taught; our Ph.D. doctoral degree programme in ELT includes academic training towards producing experts in language teaching).

Profiling Projects

  • The Department has currently been involved in a major collective project 2012-16 PRVOUK P10- Linguistics – English in the light of synchronic and diachronic corpora (2012-16).
  • Previous major projects include Language Structures and Communication (MSM 0021620825), with members of our staff working on a subtask entitled Studies on an English-Czech Translation Grammar and Applied Research of Communication (2005 – 2011).
  • Another recent project with substantial contribution from our academic staff was The Czech National Corpus and Corpora of Other Languages (MSM 0021620823), a research plan in which our Department was assigned a subtask entitled InterCorp: English-Czech and Czech-English Parallel Corpus (2005-2011). The project is being developed further in cooperation with the Institute of Czech National Corpus.
  • Most of our projects are linked with an electronic research and training website, EMSA (Elektronická mluvnice současné angličtiny – An Electronic Grammar of Contemporary English), based on Libuše Dušková’s Mluvnice současné angličtiny na pozadí češtiny (A Grammar of Contemporary English Against the Background of Czech; published by Academia in 1988, 1994, 2003, 2006).
  • „Chaucer in Bohemia“ is a multidisciplinary and collaborative project of the Department in partnership with the School of English, University of Kent in Canterbury (2011–2017) that brings together scholars working in various fields of late medieval studies. The project plots the cultural transmissions and exchanges (diplomatic, religious, literary, political, artistic) between Prague and London during the period 1382–1400 when Chaucer served the court of Richard II. “Chaucer in Bohemia“ is co-directed by Peter Brown (Canterbury) and Jan Čermák (Prague). To date the project team has undertaken visits, lectures and seminars at each other’s institutions and has held two workshops, one in Canterbury (2011) and one in Prague (2013).
  • The Corpus of Old English Lemmatisation (COEL) Project, to be running in the framework of Erasmus+/Strategic Partnership (2015-2017) and managed by Ondřej Tichý and Jan Čermák, is a research and training project focused on lemmatisation of Old English texts and organised in partnership of seven European universities (Charles; Nijmegen, La Rioja, Málaga, Bergen, Innsbruck, Katowice).
  • The digital edition of The Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (since 2010) managed by Ondřej Tichý, with a thousand visits per day is an indispensable tool for the study of Old English is used by many universities worldwide.
  • In 2012–2015, the Department compiled a spoken corpus of advanced learner English as part of the multinational corpus LINDSEI (Louvain International Database of English Interlanguage) organized by the Centre for English Corpus Linguistics at the Université catholique de Louvain. The Czech subcorpus, managed by Tomáš Gráf, comprises the recordings and transcriptions of fifty 15-minute interviews with 3rd- or 4th-year students of English philology and contains approximately 13 hours of recordings and 124,000 words. The corpus is extensively analyzed especially with regard to accuracy, fluency and complexity. The work on the project has given rise to an international co-operation with the Université catholique de Louvain and Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen.

Major Publication Projects

The Department has been involved in systematic long-term cooperation with the Institute of the Czech National Corpus in a joint project of parallel corpora, Intercorp, which is part of the research plan The Czech National Corpus and Corpora of Other Languages; these activities result in regular series published by the Lidové Noviny Publishing House, Prague, including (collective) monographs in contrastive linguistics (Czech-English Studies in Syntax, Morphology and Lexicology).

Members of our Department contribute as chief editors or members of editorial boards in renowned linguistic series and journals published by Charles University and the Institute of the Czech Language of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic as well abroad: major publications include Prague Studies in English, Linguistica Pragensia, Brno Studies in English and Časopis pro moderní filologii (Journal of Modern Philology), Studia Anglica Posnaniensia, European Journal of English Studies and Working Papers in Early English Lexicology and Lexicography (WPEELEX).

  • Čermák, J. (2012) „Behēmas þā Hildlatan: Bēowulf and its First Translation into Czech“ and „Heaney’s Beowulf: Gleaning the Unsaid off the Palpable“ In: P. E. Szarmach and J. K. Schulman, eds. Beowulf at Kalamazoo: Essays on Translation and Performance. Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University, 105–116 and 301–304.
  • Klégr A., Malá, M., P. Šaldová (2012) Anglické ekvivalenty nejfrekventovanějších českých předložek, Praha: Karolinum.
  • Malá, Markéta (2014) English Copular Verbs: A contrastive corpus supported view. Univerzita Karlova v Praze, Filozofická fakulta.
  • Čermák, Jan (2003) Béowulf, Praha: Torst.
  • Klégr, A. (2007) Tezaurus jazyka českého. Praha: NLN.
  • Dušková, L. (2015) From Syntax to Text: the Janus face of Functional Sentence Perspective. Praha: Karolinum.

As part of its publication activities, the Department has also been involved in critical reassessment of the Prague School heritage, focussing principally on the history of the Prague Linguistic Circle and the works of Vilém Mathesius, Bohumil Trnka and Vladimír Skalička.

  • Dušková, L., Jan Čermák (2009): Život a dílo Viléma Mathesia, str. 9 – 53, In Vilém Mathesius, Paměti a jiné rukopisy, Univerzita Karlova v Praze. Nakladatelství Karolinum.
  • Markéta Malá, Pavlína Šaldová (eds) (2012) A Centenary of English Studies at Charles University: from Mathesius to present-day linguistics. Univerzita Karlova v Praze, Filozofická fakulta.
  • Dušková, L. (2013) Prague School Linguistics, In: R. Jon McGee and Richard L. Warms (eds.), Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology, An Encyclopedia, Vol. 2., pp. 654-657, SAGE Reference, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC.
  • Dušková, L. (2014) English studies at Charles University and the Prague Linguistic Circle: The contribution of English studies to the Circle’s constitution and linguistic theories, La Linguistique,Revue de la Société Internationale de Linguistique Fonctionnelle, Journal of the International Society for Functional Linguistics, Volume 50, 2014-1, pp. 93-118, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 2014.
  • Mathesius,V. Obsahový rozbor současné angličtiny na základě obecně lingvistickém. Ed. Libuše Dušková and Aleš Klégr. Univerzita Karlova v Praze, Nakladatelství Karolinum, 2014.
  • Trnka, B. (2014) Rozbor nynější spisovné angličtiny. Introd. Libuše Dušková. Praha: Nakladatelství Karolinum.

National and International Partner Institutions

The Department currently enjoys a partnership with the University of Canterbury in Kent, working on a six-year joint project entitled Chaucer in Bohemia (2011–2017), and with linguistically and philologically oriented medieval scholars in Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Furthermore, our participation in student and teacher exchange programmes and other partnership initiatives has brought us into contact with English departments in the UK (Sheffield, Bristol, Birmingham, Kent, Manchester), continental Europe (Freiburg, Munich, Vienna, Innsbruck, Poznań, Katowice, Granada, Helsinki, Zurich, Rioja, Málaga, Louvaine), the USA and other parts of the world.

The Department moreover maintains close partnerships with English departments all over the Czech Republic (Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Education, Masaryk University in Brno; Philosophical Faculty, Palacký University in Olomouc; Faculty of Arts, University of Ostrava and others) as well as Slovakia (Department of British and American Studies at the Faculty of Arts, Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice; Faculty of Arts, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra), while members of our Department sit on various academic boards, contributing to the development of the field locally. Each year, the Department is proud to welcome visiting lecturers from universities and academic institutions abroad, including Karl-Maxmilian Universität in Munich, University of Freiburg, University of Helsinki, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and University of Leuven, Belgium.

Major Conferences and Events

The Department of English Language and ELT Methodology is a regular organizer and co-organizer of academic events. It has a long-term cooperation with Oxford University in organizing the Prague-Oxford Medieval Studies Symposium. Recent events with the Department’s participation the international conference Construction Grammar (October 2010, in partnership with the Institute of the Czech Language of the Academy of Sciences of the CR, and the Institute of Czech Language and Theory of Communication, CU FA). The Department has been involved, as organizer or participant, in the international conferences InterCorp 2009 and KorpLing 2011, discussing research and development of Czech language corpora and parallel corpora of Czech with other languages, and the potential of use of such corpora especially in lexicology and grammar.

In May 2012 a conference celebrating one hundred years of the foundation of the department was held (A Centenary of English Studies at Charles University: from Mathesius to Present-day Linguistics). Very successful were also two student conferences organized in 2012 and 2015 respectively: Freond ic gemete wiđ: A Student Conference on the Middle Ages in Britain and The Middle Ages: Reality and Illusion – A Student Conference on the Middle Ages in Britain.

The upcoming 2017 ICAME conference, to be hosted by the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague, will be organised jointly by the Department and the Institute of the Czech National Corpus and will offer, besides lectures and seminars focussing on the use of corpora in linguistic research and applied linguistics, a diachronic workshop (organised by Ondřej Tichý and Jan Čermák).

As part of the “Chaucer in Bohemia“ Project, an international colloquium, with invited specialists from other countries, is now at the planning stage and is booked for June 2017 in Paris at Reid Hall.

Recent Achievements