Introducing Challenge Panel Member: Michael Hoey

We are extraordinarily pleased to announce Michael Hoey’s membership to the CASS Challenge Panel. Below, Professor Hoey shares a bit about his personal and professional successes. 

I am a funny kind of corpus linguist in that all my publications for the first twenty years of my career were devoted to the study of written discourse analysis. However I had co-authored (with Sue Atkins), under John Sinclair’s direction, the proposal to Collins Publishers that led to the development of the Collins COBUILD dictionary at the University of Birmingham and I inevitably become heavily involved with the running of the project, working closely both with Antoinette Renouf and Patrick Hanks as they wrestled the first-ever corpus-driven dictionary into shape. Without realising it, I was slowly mutating into a corpus linguist, and when near the end of my time at the University of Birmingham I was asked whether I would like to write one of their little COBUILD handbooks on lexical signalling, I leapt at the opportunity. The handbook, though, never appeared – the more I investigated the ways the words were used, the more radical my thoughts on the way language is organised became, and when I was appointed to a Chair at the University of Liverpool, my inaugural lecture was on corpus linguistics.

The second 20 years of my career have seen few discourse analytical publications but more and more corpus linguistic, and particularly lexical priming, papers and books. My corpus linguistic perspective, though still heavily influenced by John Sinclair, one of three giant figures in my development (the others being Randolph Quirk and Eugene Winter), has become ever more eclectic but I am convinced that the current findings of corpus linguists of every tradition not only torpedo most of the major models of linguistics of the past 100 years but point to a quite different way in which language should be conceived, as having a complex lexicon and a very simple grammar. I also believe that we urgently need to link up corpus thinking with psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic thinking that has been done by psychologists and sociologists, rather than tame adherents of existing linguistic models.

The ‘Who’s Who’ facts about me are that I am currently Pro-Vice Chancellor for Internationalisation, Director of the Liverpool Confucius Institute and Baines Professor of English Language at the University of Liverpool. I am an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences and a member of Council of the University of Chester. I am also a proud grandfather, an inveterate traveller (even when not on University business), a Christian and the former editor of a magazine on beer ‘Ale & Hearty’. Indeed my book on the real ale pubs in the area around Southport has, I regret, been my only best-seller.

Did you miss our previous introductions? Click through to read about Challenge Panel members Alan PartingtonMark Davies and Stefan Th. Gries