Under the spotlight Professor Nigel Fabb, Professor of Literary Linguistics

We spoke with Professor Nigel Fabb, who is a Professor of Literary Linguistics within the School of Humanities and Department of English. Professor Fabb also teaches on a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate classes.

Tell us a little bit about your career so far...
I joined Strathclyde in 1984, after completing a PhD in linguistics at MIT.  My twelfth book is coming out this year.  I have been head of the department, and a vice-dean in charge of research. I edited the Journal of Linguistics for seventeen years.  I have taught many different kinds of class over the past (almost) forty years.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career to date?
I was lucky to be awarded a Leverhulme fellowship in 2014 which gave me three years completely free from the ordinary job, for reading very widely and developing new ideas, and resulted in a book on epiphanies and the sublime. 

What is your role within the School?
I teach undergraduate and postgraduate classes, I produce research, and I have had various administrative roles.

What inspired you to enter your field/profession?
Intellectual curiosity.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your field?
Read as widely as possible, not just in your own discipline or area of focus.

What initially attracted you to the University of Strathclyde?
The possibility of inventing a new discipline, literary linguistics, encouraged by one of my teachers from Cambridge, who had recently moved to Strathclyde.

What are your biggest professional challenges?
Transforming students’ experience.

What current trends do you see influencing your field?
My field is literature and linguistics, and I find the most interesting trend to be an increased knowledge of brain science, and cognitive science more generally.

Tell us about any research you are currently involved in..
I am now working on how language and music work together in songs (and I teach a popular class on this).

Do you have any words of wisdom or encouragement for any prospective students?
Treat being a student like having the kind of job where you keep regular (and reasonable) working hours.

Any special thanks or shout-outs you'd like to give to colleagues who have helped or inspired you throughout your career here?
I was lucky to have written a book with one of my old MIT professors, Morris Halle, and learnt an enormous amount from him.

If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?
I like my current job.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

What is your guilty pleasure?
There are no guilty pleasures.

In one word, describe what Strathclyde mean to you?

You can view some of Nigel's publications below:

Published date: May 30, 2022