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Former PhD Students

One of the greatest pleasures of my academic career has been the privilege to mentor some extremely bright young scholars interested in vocabulary studies.  I am sure I learned more from them than they did from me, and it is pleasing to see them advancing in their own directions of lexical studies.  Now that I am retired, I am no longer taking on new PhD students.  But below is a listing of my former apprentices who remain research-active, and below that, a photo gallery of some of the adventures our Vocabulary Research Group have had along the way.

Tomoko Ishii

Studied: 2001-2005

Affiliation: Meiji Gakuin University
Research Interests: Cross association, Vocabulary assessment

Wen-ta (Thomas) Tseng

Studied: 2002-2006

Affiliation: National Taiwan University of Science & Technology
Research Interests: Vocabulary measurement, self-regulation in vocabulary learning

Faisal Abdullah Alhomoud

Studied: 2003-2008

Affiliation: Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University
Research Interests: Vocabulary, extensive reading, Extensive listening, CALL, Corpora, Dictionaries

Phil Durrant

Studied: 2005-2008

Affiliation: University of Exeter
Research interests: Corpus Linguistics; School and university writing; Language Assessment; Formulaic language

Anna Siyanova-Chanturia

Studied: 2006-2010

Affiliation: Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Research Interests: Psychological aspects of second language acquisition, Bilingualism,
Usage-based approaches to language acquisition, processing and use, Vocabulary and multi-word expressions, as well as quantitative research methods (corpora, eye movements, EEG/ERPs)

Ron Martinez

Studied: 2008-2011

Affiliation: Universidade Federal do Paraná
Research Interests: Formulaic language, corpus analysis

Ana Pellicer-Sánchez

Studied: 2008-2012

Affiliation: UCL Institute of Education
Research Interests: My research focuses on the teaching and learning of vocabulary in a second or foreign language. More specifically, I am interested in the use of psycholinguistic measures of reaction times (RTs) and eye-tracking to explore the vocabulary learning process, with a particular focus on learning from reading. My interests also include the use of eye-tracking to examine learners’ engagement with the different input sources in multimodal learning materials.

Suhad Sonbul

Studied: 2008-2012

Affiliation: Umm Al-Qura University, Saudi Arabia
Research Interests: Teaching and learning collocations, Explicit and implicit lexical knowledge, Psycholinguistic tools in vocabulary research.

Hilde van Zeeland

Studied: 2010-2014

Affiliation: Wageningen University & Research
Research Interests: Research methodology, Vocabulary and listening

Kholood Saigh

Studied: 2010-2015

Affiliation: King Abdulaziz University, Al Faisaliyah Campus
Research Interests: I am interested in all aspects of second language vocabulary and formulaic language studies, including acquisition, processing, testing and pedagogy. My latest research has examined morphological knowledge as a related and independent construct of vocabulary knowledge and included an establishment of a pedagogically-oriented frequency-based list and test of English prefixes and suffixes. My current research interests include L1 Arabic influence on the acquisition and processing of L2 English formulaic language (idioms and binomials) and the effect of morphological knowledge on vocabulary size/proficiency in the Arabic language.


Marijana Macis

Studied: 2012-2016

Affiliation: Manchester Metropolitan University
Research Interests: Acquisition of figurative language, Incidental learning from reading, Extensive reading, Teaching formulaic language

Mélodie Garnier

Studied: 2012-2016

Affiliation: REF UoA Impact Coordinator at University of Cambridge
Research Interests: Phrasal verbs

Laura Vilkaitė

Studied: 2013-2016

Affiliation: Vilnius University
Research Interests: Formulaic language, Processing of collocations

Benjamin Kremmel

Studied: 2013-2017

Affiliation: University of Innsbruck

Research Interests: Vocabulary measurement

Beatriz González Fernández

Studied: 2014-2018

Affiliation: University of Sheffield
Research Interests: Modelling vocabulary knowledge

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Photo Gallery

Here is picture from 2007 of a road trip to a conference. My former PhD students include Anna Siyanova (2nd from left), Phil Durrant (3rd from left), and Jie Li (6th from left). Anna is now at Victoria University in Wellington, and Phil is at the University of Exeter.

Here is picture of our reception after Anna Siyanova's (4th form left) successful PhD viva. Other former PhD students include Ana Pellicer-Sanchez (2nd from left). The picture includes Marjolijn Verspoor (5th form left) from the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, who acted as external examiner. It also includes two of my former colleagues who co-supervised Anna: Kathy Conklin (3rd from right) and Walter van Heuven (2nd from right), who both specialize in psycholinguistic approaches to language study.

This picture was taken in 2010 at one of the vocabulary group discussion sessions. It includes my PhD students from left to right: Kholood Saigh, Ana Pellicer-Sanchez, and Hilde van Zeeland. At the right is Pawel Szudarski, one of Ron Carter's students who also has an interest in vocabulary and sat in on the sessions.  I am very pleased he is now working in the department at Nottingham, and taking up the vocabulary mantel there. 

Here is a picture of our 2009 Christmas party. Pictured are Anna Siyanova (far left), Ana Pellicer-Sanchez (3rd from left), and Ron Martinez. Also pictured is Phoebe Lin (2nd from left), one of Svenja Adolphs' students who attended our vocabulary group meetings

Here is my PhD Vocabulary Research Group in October 2012. My PhD students included Hilde van Zeeland (1st left) [Netherlands], Marijana Macis (4th from left) [Chile] and Mélodie Garnier (5th from left) [France]. Kholood Saigh [Saudi Arabia] was absent from the picture. Ana Pellicer Sanchez continued to attend as a colleague, and brought her first PhD student, Niloofar Rahimi (3rd from left).

Christmas Party 2012

Here's Marijana, Hilde, Melodie, and Niloofar kitted up in my hockey jerseys for our 2013 annual University Challenge hockey game between the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University.

Here is the Vocabulary Group in October 2013. It includes threee new faces: Benjamin Kremmel (Austrian, 2nd row, far left) and Laura Vilkaite (Lithuanian, 2nd row, 2nd from left). The picture also includes Michael Rodgers (Canadian, seated far right), who had just joined our staff that year, also specializing in vocabulary-based issues

Here is Hilde van Zeeland receiving the Hermann Research Scholarship award in Spring 2013 for outstanding PhD research. She also won the prestigious Christopher Brumfit Award for best PhD thesis in Applied Linguistics in the world in 2014. The referees commented that:

"The overall quality and significance of this research thesis is excellent, indicating that both the thesis itself and the author will make an important contribution to our field in years to come."


"This is an impressive piece of highly original research, designed and executed with great care and presented with exemplary clarity."

Benjamin received the Caroline Clapham award for the best MA research in language testing published in 2013. Here he is receiving the award at the LTRC conference in Amstedam.

Here is the Vocabulary Group in October 2014. Members include (front row left to right) Duyen Le Thi (Vietnamese), Beatriz González Fernández (Spain), Melodie Garnier (France), and (back row left to right) Laura Vilkaite (Lithuanian), Michael Rodgers (Canadian), Benjamin Kremmel (Austrian), Marijana Macis (Bosnian), myself, and Ana Pellicer-Sanchez (Spain). Duyen was Michael's PhD student.

Here Benjamin picks up an award at LTRC for the second year running. This time it is the Lado Award for the best conference presentation by a PhD student. He received the award at LTRC in Toronto in March 2015.

Here we are at the 2015 University Challenge hockey game. In the front row left is Sam Barclay, who was Ana's newest student. Then Ana, Bea, Laura, and Benjamin. In the back row left are Hana Almutairi and Duyen Le Thi, Mike's new students at the time, with Marijana on the right.

Here we are on another road trip to the 2015 BAAL Vocabulary SIG in Swansea. We were happy to meet up again with Pawel, who came in from Poland for the conference.

At the BAAL Vocabulary SIG, Bea and Benjamin won the prize for the best poster presentation.

Here is the Vocabulary Group in January 2016. Members included (front row left to right) Laura Vilkaite (Lithuanian), Beatriz González Fernández (Spain), Hana Almutairi (Saudi Arabia), Duyen Le Thi (Vietnamese), and (back row left to right) Sam Barclay (UK), Benjamin Kremmel (Austrian), Marijana Macis (Bosnian), Norbert Schmitt (USA), and Ana Pellicer-Sanchez (Spain). Hana and Duyen were Michael's PhD students, and Sam was Ana's. Melodie Garnier (France) and Mike Rodgers (Canadian) were absent, and so are pasted in.

Time for the 2016 University Challenge hockey game. Laura and I are in the front row, along with Marion Durbahn Quinteros, an MA student. In the back is Sam and Bea. On the back left is Haruna, Mike Rodger's partner. On the back right is Joe Jackson, a colleague from the department.

Here is the crew at the September 2016 Vocab@Tokyo conference.

We're having a traditional Japanese dinner outside after the conference with some friends. Diane is with us on the left.

Here is the 2016 University of Nottingham graduation. I had three PhD students graduating at the same time, a record! They are: Laura (2nd from left), Marijana (4th from left), and Melodie (5th from left). Both Ana and I got our PhD degrees from Nottingham, so we are all in our Nottingham robes. So I am very pleased with this picture of four of my former PhD students and myself in the Nottingham colors and cool hats.

One of the great pleasures of teaching at the University of Nottingham was having Prof. Zoltan Dornyei as a colleague. He is world-class applied linguist, and this picture shows he also can also get into the Christmas spirit!

Here is the panel for the "Teaching and Assessing Vocabulary: What the Research Shows" colloquium at TESOL 2017 in Seattle. From left to right: Norbert Schmitt, Averil Coxhead, Dee Gardner, Sam Barclay in his TESOL debut, Diane Schmitt, and Keith Folse. The PowerPoint slides for the presentations are available on the Videos, Powerpoints, Podcasts etc. page.

Here is a group of scholars interested in vocabulary enjoying a drink after the 2017 AAAL conference. Right to left: Geoff Pinchbeck, Benjamin, myself, Ana, Mike, Sam, Elke Peters, Batia Laufer, Stuart Webb, Bea, Marijana, and Brock.

Here we are at the 2017 BAAL Vocabulary SIG in Reading, England. As well as Sam, myself, Bea, and Ana, we are sitting with our friend Paul Pauwels from KU Leuven in Belgium.

Even better, Bea scooped up the prize for Best PhD Presentation at the conference.

Marijana Award.JPG

At AAAL 2018, Marijana received a travel award to present her research.


Marijana hosted the BAAL Vocabulary SIG at her institution (Manchester Metropolitan University) in 2018.  While there we took this picture.  I call it "Generations".  It shows one of my PhD supervisors Paul Meara, then me, then my student Ana, and her student (and my academic grandchild) Sam.

Bea & Ben graduation.JPG

2018 also bought the graduation of my last two PhD students, Bea and Benjamin.  They finally got their cool hats too. 

Leuven Voc Group.jpg

The big event in 2019 was Vocab@Leuven, the third big international vocabulary conference, after Vocab@Vic in Wellington in 2013, and Vocab@Tokyo in 2016.  Everyone here was part of my Vocabulary Research Group at some point.  Left to right: Ana (University College London), Pawel (University of Nottingham), me (Emeritus, University of Nottingham), Phoebe Lin (Hong Kong Polytechnic University), Marijana (Manchester Metropolitan University), Diane (retired, Nottingham Trent University), Benjamin (University of Innsbruck), Hana Almutairi, Bea (University of Sheffield), Mike (Carleton University, Ottawa), Marion Durbahn Quinteros (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), Tomoko Ishii (Meiji Gakuin University), and Sam (Nottingham Trent University).   

Ave & Maria.JPG

One of the pleasures of conferences is meeting up with friends from all around the world.  Here Diane and I are enjoying a drink with Averil Coxhead and her partner Maria (all the way from New Zealand) at a lovely Belgium cafe.

Norbert & Laurence 2019.jpg

Another of the friends I met at both 2016 (left) and 2019 (right) conferences was Laurence Anthony (of AntConc fame).  Comparing the two photos, I guess we are aging gracefully.


At the conference, it was a pleasure to be included in a picture with some of the Masters in the field (Jan Hulstijn, Elke Peters, Stuart Webb, and Batia Laufer).


The best and biggest surprise for me at the conference was that my vocabulary group (in cahoots with Elke Peters) organized a tribute for me.  It was extremely touching and it definitely brought a tear to my eye.  Here we are afterwards, when I am still floating on Cloud 9.  But I'm wondering if I'm just too gullible, as they (including my wife Diane) were able to keep the secret from me for around two years!  


As part of the tribute, Pawel and Sam announced that they were in the process of editing a festschrift in my honor, to be published with Multilingual Matters in 2021.  Here I am watching the screen as they announce it.

Nottingham 2006-7 Bath.jpg

Here is Anna, Phil, and I looking up at something.  Is it a bird?  Is it a plane?  Is it Vocabularyman??

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