Santiago-Centred International Milieu for Interactional, Typological and Acquisitional Research

SCIMITAR is a forum for international cooperation among researchers oriented to the study of the interface between grammar and discourse in present-day English.

The methods used are strongly contrastive. We work on the intralinguistic comparison of different varieties of English, and cross-linguistic comparison of English with other languages, notably Spanish.

The tools are primarily those of corpus and computational linguistics, linguistic technology, digital / learning analytics, and big data, among others. The approaches taken include (systemic) functional and/or (critical) discourse (analysis) / cognitive models, quantitative and qualitative investigations, multimodality, contrastive pragmatics / linguistics, as well as those involved in the production of technology-enhanced educational materials for e-learning and m-learning (including serious games).

There are regular opportunities for research positions in SCIMITAR as Research Assistant, for graduate or undergraduate students; and for graduate students to do their theses. If you are considering this possibility, or if you are interested in any of the research areas covered by the team, please get in touch with us.


  • 14-15/05/2021. In collaboration with the Department of Modern Languages of the University of Genoa (Italy), SCIMITAR will be involved in the organisation of the Ninth International Contrastive Linguistics Conference (ICLC9) to be held online at Villa Durazzo ( in Santa Margherita-Portofino (Italy). For more information visit:
  • 10-11/02/2021. Dr. Ulla Connor (Indiana University- Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)) will give a hands-on workshop on Contrastive Rhetoric and Academic Writing. Faculty of Philology. USC.
  • 03-04/02/2021, Dr. Ruth Breeze (University of Navarra) will give an online hands-on workshop on Researching political discourse: populism and new media. Faculty of Philology. USC.
    Researching political discourse: populism and new media



Newest Publications

  • Gómez González, M. Á. and A. Lago Ferreiro. Submitted. Can an online educational website contribute to developing English pronunciation and phonological awareness in speakers of Spanish?
  • Gómez González, M. Á. and P. Silvano. Submitted. A functional model for tag questions with invariable question tags in English and Portuguese.
  • Gómez González, M. Á. and P. Silvano. Submitted. Tag questions with invariable question tags in English and Portuguese. Developing a model of predicted associations.
  • Torrado-Cespón, M. Submitted. TIC/TAC y covid-19: uso y necesidades del profesorado de secundaria en Galicia. Campus Virtuales.
  • Castillo-Rodríguez, C. and M. Torrado-Cespón. Forthcoming. Follow the Path: a Learning Proposal for the EFL Flipped Classroom. Digital Humanities Journal, 2 (1).
  • Ehret, K. and M. Taboada. Forthcoming. The interplay of complexity and subjectivity in opinionated discourse Discourse Studies.
  • Gómez González, M. Á. and M. Taboada. Forthcoming. Concession strategies in online newspapers comments. Journal of Pragmatics.
  • Gonzálvez-García, F. Forthcoming. Maximizing the explanatory power of constructions in Cognitive Construction Grammar(s). Squibs in Construction Grammar. Special issue of Belgian Journal of Linguistics.
  • Jiménez-Zafra, S., N. Cruz-Díaz, M. Taboada and M. Martín-Valdivia. Forthcoming. Negation detection for sentiment analysis: A case study in Spanish. Natural Language Engineering.
  • Kolhatkar, V., N. Thain, J. Sorensen, L. Dixon and M. Taboada. Forthcoming. Classifying constructive comments. First Monday.
  • Torrado-Cespón, M. Forthcoming. El uso de los emoticonos como fuerza ilocutiva en hablantes de inglés como lengua extranjera. Estudio de corpus. En Alfabetizando digitalmente para la nueva docencia. Madrid: Pirámide
  • Viera, C. and M. Taboada. Forthcoming. Aplicación de la lingüística sistémico-funcional al análisis de conferencias académicas Revista Signos.
  • Castillo-Rodríguez, C. and M. Torrado-Cespón. 2020. Five Tools for Five Challenges: Designing a Vritual Breakout. En E. Colomo Magaña, E. Sánchez Rivas, J. Ruiz Palmero, J. Sánchez Rodríguez (coord.), La tecnología como eje del cambio metodológico Málaga: UMA. 70-75.
  • Chik, S. and M. Taboada. 2020. Generic structure and rhetorical relations of online book reviews in English, Japanese and Chinese. Contrastive Pragmatics 1(2): 143-179.
  • Ehret, K. and M. Taboada. 2020. Are online news comments like face-to-face conversation? A multi-dimensional analysis of an emerging register. Register Studies 2(1). 1-36.
  • Gómez González, M. Á. and N. Dehé. 2020.The pragmatics and prosody of variable tag questions in English: Uncovering function-to-form correlations. Journal of Pragmatics 158. 33-52
  • Gonzálvez-García, F. 2020. Metonymy meets coercion: The case of the intensification of nouns in attributive and predicative constructions in Spanish. In A. Baicchi (Ed.), Figurative Meaning Construction in Thought and Language (Figurative Thought and Language 9), 151-184. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  • Kolhatkar, V., H. Wu, L. Cavasso, E. Francis, K. Shukla and M. Taboada. 2020. The SFU Opinion and Comments Corpus: A corpus for the analysis of online news comments. Corpus Pragmatics 4: 155–190.
  • Torrado-Cespón, M. 2020. Proofreading, the Net and Foreign Language Anxiety in the Use of Apology Formulae in an Online Forum. A Learner Corpus Study. In M. L. Carrió Pastor (Ed.) Corpus Analysis in Academic Discourse Academic Discourse and Learner Corpora. Londres: Routledge. DOI: 10.4324/9780367815905-21
  • Torrado-Cespón, M. and C. Castillo-Rodríguez. 2020. Propuesta de vídeos instuctivos en el aula virtual para la mejora de las producciones escritas en inglés como lengua extranjera. En E. Colomo Magaña, E. Sánchez Rivas, J. Ruiz Palmero, J. Sánchez Rodríguez (coord.), La tecnología como eje del cambio metodológico. Málaga: UMA. 1867-1871.
  • Trnavac, R. and M. Taboada. 2020. Positive Appraisal in online news comments. In K. Mullan, B. Peeters and L. Sadow (eds.) Studies in Ethnopragmatics, Cultural Semantics and Intercultural Communication: Ethnopragmatics and Semantic Analysis. Berlin: Springer. 185-205.
Read more
  • Doval-Suárez, S. M. and E. González-Álvarez. 2018. The use of tag questions in the oral production of L2 English learners. In M. Á. Gómez González and J. L. Mackenzie (eds.). 145-170.
  • Gómez González, M. Á. 2018a. God that came out quick didn’t it eh»: Variable and invariable tag questions in British English. In M. Á. Gómez González and J. L. Mackenzie (eds.). 109-144.
  • Gómez González, M. Á. 2018b. Lexical cohesion revisited. A combined corpus and Systemic-Functional analysis . Quaderns de Filologia-Estudis lingüístics XXIII. Monographic volume on Referential devices in the interface grammar-discourse. Cohesion, coherence and cognition. 105-127. doi: 10.7203/qf.23.13.523
  • Gómez González, M. Á. and  L. Mackenzie (eds.). 2018. The Construction of Discourse as Verbal Interaction. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Gómez González, M. Á. and  L. Mackenzie. 2018. How is discourse constructed and evaluation achieved in verbal interaction? In M. Á. Gómez González and J. L. Mackenzie (eds.).1-25.
  • Alba-Juez, L. and J.L. Mackenzie, 2016. Pragmatics: Cognition, Context and Culture. Madrid: McGraw Hill.
  • Gómez González, M. Á. 2016. Canonical tag questions in English, Spanish and Portuguese: A discourse-functional study. In Marie-Aude Lefer & Svetlana Vogeleer (eds.), Genre- and Register-related Discourse Features in Contrast. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  • Gómez González, M. Á. and M. T. Sánchez Roura. 2016. English Pronunciation for Speakers of Spanish. From Theory to Practice. Boston/Berlin/Beijing: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Gómez González, M. Á., M. T. Sánchez Roura, M. Torrado Cespón, A. Rollings and M. D. Gómez Penas. 2016. EPSS Multimedia Lab. (Interactive Website Patent).
  • González Álvarez, E. and S. M. Doval Suárez. 2016. The use of extraposition in the written production of Spanish advanced learners of English. The Linguistics Journal.
  • Hengeveld, K. and Mackenzie, J.L., 2016. Reflections on the lexicon in Functional Discourse Grammar. Linguistics 54.5. 1135-1161.
  • Mackenzie, J.L., 2016. Dynamicity and dialogue: Perspectives from Functional Discourse Grammar. English Text Construction. 9.1. 56-76.
  • Mackenzie, J.L., 2016. A first history of Functional Grammar. In Carlos Assunção, Gonçalo Fernandes & Rolf Kemmler (eds), History of Linguistics 2014: Selected Papers from the 13th International Conference on the History of the Language Sciences (ICHoLS XIII), Vila Real, Portugal, 25 – 29 August 2014. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  • Mackenzie, J.L. 2016. Functional linguistics. In K. Allan (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Linguistics, London: Routledge. 470-484.
  • Taboada, M. 2016. Sentiment analysis: An overview from linguistics. Annual Review of Linguistics. 2: 325-347.
  • Trnavac, R. and M. Taboada. 2016. Cataphora, backgrounding and accessibility in discourse. Journal of Pragmatics. 93: 68-84.





  • 2022. We are pleased to announce the investiture of Professor J. Lachlan Mackenzie as Honorary PhD at the Spanish Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED).
  • 07/10/2020. Prof. Dr. Luis Iglesias Rábade (English Philology) obtained another PhD in Law (“cum laude mention”) with his PhD dissertation entitled Los delitos de falsedad y su punición en los Derechos español e inglés. Estudio histórico comparado. Faculty of Law. USC.
  • 28/03/2019. María de los Ángeles Gómez González was awarded the prestigious national XXII Rafael Monroy Research Prize for Experienced Researchers from the Spanish Society for Applied Linguistics (AESLA) for the book The Construction of Discourse as Verbal Interaction (co-edited with J. Lachlan Mackenzie).
Read more