photograph Interviews with new staff: Dr Dawn Knight

Dr Dawn Knight, Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and TESOL

We continue with presenting new staff. Dawn Knight, Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and TESOL in ECLS since September 2011, has joined us from the university of Nottingham. Her research interests include corpus linguistics, discourse analysis, and learning and technology. She hopes to explore these in collaboration with colleagues at Newcastle.  Questions asked by Richard Waltereit.

How did you develop your interest in linguistic corpora?

I had the privilege of doing my Masters degree in a very corpus-keen department at The University of Nottingham, so I naturally became exposed to a lot of exciting, innovative research involving corpus linguistics (CL). The enthusiasm of the department for CL was pretty infectious so when, 12 months later, I was given the chance to work on the interdisciplinary DReSS multimodal corpus project (Digital Records for eSocial Science), I jumped at the chance. Now, with 6 years' of research experience working with two prominent professors in CL, I am ready to pass on my knowledge and enthusiasm to the next generation of applied linguists.

If you had £1million to spend on research, what would you do with it?

I would use it to build a research hub for the next generation of corpus linguistic research, of course!

Did you want to become a researcher when you were growing up?

No. I was a very energetic but indecisive child. So while I had an enthusiasm for knowledge and learning, I had no specific career aspirations when growing up. It turns out that being a researcher suited my personality as it gave me the chance to satisfy my cravings for knowledge, while working in dynamic and always changing environments, with different teams of different research specialists working on a range of different projects. 

Your first degree was in English Studies. If you took another one now, what would that be?

I think English Studies was a good choice, all being told. However if I had the chance again I would probably do something more 'teckie'. I would like to know a little more about Computer Science and Programming - I feel I probably should given the areas I research in! So perhaps something along those lines would have been my choice.

What is the better place to live  - Newcastle or Nottingham?

Is this a trick question? Nottingham was a great place to live. I was there for over a decade (to my surprise) so I made a lot of friends and really fell in love with the place. Newcastle always seemed to be a little 'too far North', given that my true home is Devon. But now I am up here I am beginning to settle in and am starting to think that I may grow to love this place too. At the moment, therefore, I wouldn't really say that there is a 'better' place to live, but ask me again in a few months' time and we will see whether my opinion has changed.

What do you like to do in your free time apart from doing research?

I am bit of a fitness fanatic so when I am not working you will usually find me in the gym or on a sports field somewhere. I have always been keen on team sports and have played everything from Women's Rugby to Basketball and even Tug of War! I joined Whitley Bay and Tynemouth Hockey Club when I moved to Newcastle, so that is keeping me occupied at the moment. I am not ruling out playing Football again though (I played for Forest when I was in Nottingham), so watch this space......

published on: 1st December 2011