Maj-Britt Mosegaard Hansen, MAE

Professor, PhD, Dr.phil.

Accepting PhD Students

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Personal profile


Member of the Academia Europaea (elected 2020)

Fellow of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters (elected 2013)

Professor (University of Manchester): 2007-

  • Associate Dean for Research, Faculty of Humanities (2018-21)
  • Head of Linguistics and English Language (2014-2017)
  • Head of Languages and Intercultural Studies (2015-2016)

Assistant/Associate Professor (University of Copenhagen): 1996-2007

Editor of the Studies in Pragmatics series (Brill)

Member of the editorial board of Langue française

Advisory editor for Journal of Pragmatics, Pragmatics and Society and Revue Romane

Member of the Consultation Board for the International Pragmatics Association

PI on AHRC-funded research network on The Role of Pragmatics in Cyclic Language Change (2021-23)

Further information

Drop-in office hours: Tues 12-1pm, Weds 11am-12pm [teaching weeks only]

For appointments at other times, please email me.

Research interests

  • Pragmatics and semantics
  • Grammaticalization and meaning change
  • Verbal interaction and discourse
  • Functional and cognitive linguistics, incl., but not limited to, (Diachronic) Construction Grammar

Past and current research projects

  • Hearer's vs Speaker's meaning
  • Reanalysis and pragmatics
  • The uses and evolution of response words
  • Cyclicity in semantic/pragmatic change
  • The diachrony of negation
  • Complaints and thanking in customer-service interactions
  • Discourse markers: syntax, semantics, and pragmatics
  • Phasal adverbs: syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and diachronic change
  • The syntax, semantics, and pragmatics of interrogatives
  • Reported speech
  • Schwa-tagging In Parisian French 
  • Pragmatics and Peircean semiotics
  • The semantics/pragmatics interface
  • GCI theory and language change
  • The notion of "literal meaning"

Past and current international research collaborations

  • Coordinator of international network: The Role of Pragmatics in Cyclic Language Change (2021-23)
  • Coordinator of international network: Cyclicity in semantic/pragmatic change: from Latin to Romance (2017-18)
  • Participant in the following international projects: Aportaciones para una caracterizacion diacronica del siglo XX (DIAXX)(2022-26), Bridging the gap between Late Latin and Early Old French: empirical investigations of (morpho)syntactic changes (2017-18), COST Action IS1312 TextLink. Structuring Discourse in Multilingual Europe (2015-2018), Latin tardif vs ancien français : continuïté et rupture (2013-), The differential pace of grammaticalization in Romance (2010-2012), Cycles of grammaticalization. Comparative views on the history of negation (2008-2011), Language structure and language usage (2007-2010), Perspectives in Cognitive Linguistics (2007-2009), Empirical data and pragmatic theory (2004-2008), L'organisation du discours travers le temps et l'espace (2003-2005), and Approaches to discourse particles, (2001- 2003)  
  • Coordinator (with Ken Turner) of international project entitled Explorations in the semantics-pragmatics interface (2004-2006)
  • Member of the executive committee of Le français parlé: Corpus et recherches dans les pays nordiques, (1998-2003)

Invited talks

  • Guest lectures (50) at universities in China, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.
  • Invited speaker (incl. 15+ plenaries/keynotes) at 30+ conferences and workshops in Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.


Supervision information

I welcome new research students, independently of what object language(s) you're proposing to work on, provided your topic falls within my areas of expertise.

Please note that I do not supervise PhD-dissertations focusing on methods of foreign language teaching. Nor will I supervise pragmatics/intercultural communication dissertations based exclusively on data from Discourse Completion Tests (whether written or oral).

Current Ph.D.-students:

Ferrari, Luisa: The role of inferencing in the diachronic development of new contrast markers. (Sao Paolo Research Foundation (FAPESP), Brazil, Visiting PhD-student, Lead supervisor, 2022-23)

Van der Heede, Margot: Language productivity at work: The productivity of minimizing constructions reinforcing sentential negation in French and Dutch. (Ghent University, Belgium, External member of doctoral guidance committee)

Past PhD students at the University of Manchester:

Cosnahan, Roisin. PhD. The role of pragmatics in the evolution of negation in Northern Italo-Romance. 2022. (Lead supervisor)

Angot, Juliette. PhD. Epistemic and subjective expressions in French: the case of je pense, je crois, and je trouve. 2021.  (Lead supervisor)

Donlan, Lisa Marie. PhD. Power, innovation, and language diffusion in an online community of practice. 2020. (Lead supervisor)

Jasim, Mohammed. PhD. Refusals of requests by Iraqi EFL learners at the university level. 2017. (Lead supervisor)

Holden, Cheryl. PhD. Persuasion in business networking encounters. 2016. (Lead supervisor)

Murphy, James. PhD. Apologies in political discourse. 2014. (Lead supervisor)

Zakowski, Samuel. PhD. A functional-pragmatic analysis of the discourse markers gar, oun and de in homilies of Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus and John Chrysostom.  [Dept. of Linguistics, Ghent University, Belgium] (Visiting PhD-student, Lead supervisor 2014-15, S1)

Kirkwood, Rachel. PhD. Metaphorical conceptualizations of religious experience, with particular reference to 17th-century Quaker writings. 2022.  (Co-supervisor)

Alroqi, Haifa. PhD. The relationship between screen media exposure and early language development. 2019. (Independent Reviewer)

Begley, Mary. PhD. The Middle English lexical field of INSANITY: Semantic change and conceptual metaphor. 2018. (Independent Reviewer)

Chapman, Victoria. PhD. The microvariation exhibited by passives and impersonal constructions in the dialects of Italy. 2017. (Independent reviewer)

Tappenden, Fred. PhD. A Cognitive Linguistics approach to early Christian resurrection discourse. 2012. (Independent reviewer)

Joubert, Aurélie. PhD. A comparative study of the evolution of prestige formation and of speakers' attitudes in Occitan and Catalan. 2010. (Independent reviewer)

Education/Academic qualification

Habilitation, (Dr.phil.) Particles at the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface: Synchronic and Diachronic Issues. A Study with Special Reference to the French Phasal Adverbs., University of Copenhagen

Award Date: 1 Apr 2008

Doctor of Philosophy, The Function of Discourse Particles. A Study with Special Reference to Spoken Standard French, University of Copenhagen

Award Date: 1 Sep 1996

Master of Arts, University of Copenhagen

Award Date: 1 Feb 1992

Areas of expertise

  • P Philology. Linguistics
  • Pragmatics
  • Semantics
  • Historical Linguistics
  • Functional-Cognitive Linguistics
  • Interactional Linguistics
  • Pragmatic Markers
  • Negation
  • Aspectual Particles
  • PC Romance languages
  • French

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