Room: E804


David Minugh is currently doing corpus-based research on idioms. The corpus approach involving multimillion-word and even billion-word corpora is a natural choice for studying this phenomenon, since idioms generally occur less than one time per million words—and yet we immediately recognize most idioms as special phrases: “snug as a bug in a rug”, “to break the ice”, It’s raining cats and dogs” (an idiom mainly found in textbooks, and rarely used elsewhere!).

He graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in English Literature in 1968, that year of changes. There followed by a year of graduate studies in Kiel, where he improved his shaky German, studied Germanistik (Old English, Middle High German, Old Norse), hitchhiked to Paris and became acquainted with Europe. After a year in Texas learning Vietnamese, he wound up in exile in Sweden, his home since 1970. In addition to further studies in English literature at Uppsala, he acquired a degree in historical Scandinavian linguistics (minors in German and Finnish), and worked as a professional language checker and translator of academic texts.

Starting in 1976, he began work at the English Department here in Stockholm as a foreign lecturer, primarily teaching proficiency and American literature, together with a number of applied ESP courses (he was in charge of the English courses at KTH for over a decade). From the late 70s until the early 90s, he frequently went to Connecticut to teach summer-session MA courses in the History of English and Sociolinguistics, thus helping his children become thoroughly bilingual. While teaching there in the early 90s, he discovered corpus linguistics and never looked back. It soon began to influence his contributions to bilingual dictionaries, and his teaching interests shifted to language change, American English and corpus linguistics. Meanwhile, back at the English Department, he served as Director of Studies from 1997 to 2006.

A sabbatical in 2006 enabled him to actively resume doctoral studies, specifically in corpus and idioms. He was the originator of the nationally-financed SEED project (2006-08), aiming to produce a national database of electronic resources for English learning and research in Sweden. He presented his PhD thesis in 2014.

His publications are primarily in the fields of corpus linguistics and idiom research, but also include work on a number of dictionaries. He currently uses corpus linguistics as a key component in such courses as American English, Language Change, and Norm & Variation. In an unusual twist of fate, he is also currently a volunteer teacher of Swedish to new immigrants via the Red Cross and Swedish Church “language cafés”.

Selected publications:

2015. “Commentators and Corpora: Evidence about Markers of Formality”. In From Clerks to Corpora: Essays on the English Language Yesterday and Today, eds. P. Shaw, B. Erman, G. Melchers & P. Sundkvist, 239–265. (Stockholm: Stockholm University Press.)

2014. Studies in Corpora and Idioms: Getting the cat out of the bag. (Stockholm: Stockholm University thesis.)

2007. “George Bush and the Last Crusade: The Fight for Truth, Justice and the American Way.” In Corpora in the Foreign Language Classroom, eds. E. Hidalgo, L. Quereda and J. Santana, 191-205. (Amsterdam: Rodopi)

2007. “The Filling in the Sandwich: Internal Expansion of Idiomatic Expressions”. In Corpus Linguistics 25 Years on, ed. R. Facchinetti, 205-24. (Amsterdam: Rodopi)

2006. “Can You Really Say That? — Interactive Contrastive Grammar Exercises with Corpus Support”. In Från vision till praktik: Språkutbildning och informationsteknik, ed. P. Svensson, 115-26. (Härnösand: NSHU)

2002. “‘Her COLTISH Energy Notwithstanding’: An Examination of The Adposition Notwithstanding.” In From the COLT’s Mouth…and others’: Language Corpora Studies In honour of Anna-Brita Stenström, eds. L.E. Breivik and A. Hasselgren, 213-29. (Amsterdam: Rodopi)

2002. “The Coll Corpus: Towards a corpus of web-based college student newspapers”. In New Frontiers of Corpus Research, eds. P. Peters, P. Collins and A. Smith, 71-90. (Amsterdam: Rodopi)

2001. “Vems globala engelska?”. In Språkbitar, ed. Jane Nystedt, 154-55. (Stockholm: Svenska förlaget)

2001. “Writing in the margins: corpus evidence for less-frequent linguistic choices”. In Corpora in the description and teaching of English, eds. G. Aston and L. Burnard, 53-69. (Forlì: Biblioteca della scuola Superiore di Lingue Moderne per Interpreti e Traduttori)

2001. “‘You believe that, and I’ll throw in the golden Gate for free’: using corpora in the search for the mother lode of idioms”, 243-56. In Studi italiani di linguistica teorica e applicata, XXX:2.

1999. “You People Use Such Weird Expressions: The frequency of idioms in newspaper CDs as corpora.” In Corpora Galore: Analyses and Techniques in Describing English, ed. J. Kirk, 57-71. (Amsterdam: Rodopi.)

1999. “And High Time, Too: A corpus-based study of one construction.” With Thomas Lavelle. In The Major Varieties of English, eds. H. Lindqvist, S. Klingborg, M. Levin and M. Estling, 213-26. (Växjö: Växjö University)

1999. “What Aileth Thee, To Print So Curiously? Archaic forms and contemporary newspaper language.” In Writing in Non-Standard English, eds. I. Taavitsainen, G. Melchers and P. Pahta, 47-54. (Amsterdam: John Benjamins)

1997. “All the Language That's Fit to Print: Using British and American newspaper CD-ROMs as corpora.” In Teaching and Language Corpora, eds. A. Wichmann, S. Fligelstone, T. McEnery and G. Knowles, 63-82. (Harlow: Longman)

1996. “Using newspaper CDs in research and teaching”. In Proceedings from the Sixth Nordic Conference for English Studies, eds. G. Bjørbovde and G. Rogne, 401-21. (Tromsø: University of Tromsø)

1996. Co-editor, Svensk-engelsk ordbok för utbildningsområdet, 2nd ed. (Stockholm: Högskoleverket)

1996. Main Editor, Norstedts amerikanska fickordbok. (Stockholm: Norstedts)

1991. On Pronounceable English, revised edition. (Stockholm: English Dept., Stockholm University)

1985. “As Old as the ‘ills: Variable Loss of h in Swedish Dialects”. In Nowele, Vol. 6, Sept. 1985, 23-43.