Mohammad Alenezi

Thesis working title: English in Kuwait: a corpus-driven perspective

Primary supervisor: Professor Bettina Migge

Co-supervisor: Dr Sandrine Peraldi

Summary of the project:

The aim of my project is to investigate the role and nature of English in Kuwait. The interplay of the people in a community using a foreign language plays a significant role in the rise of a new variety. Historically, English arrived in Kuwait in 1899 with a protection treaty signed with the British upon the request of Kuwait’s emir to save Kuwait from the cupidity of the Ottoman Empire and Iraq. Ever since then, English has been gaining importance not only at the educational level but also at the societal level. I am examining the situation in Kuwait from a linguistic and sociolinguistic perspective. The data will come from ethnographic observations, sociolinguistic interviews and existing data from a range of media and the data will be analysed using applied corpus linguistics, discourse and sociolinguistic methods.

Biography (journey as a student):

I am currently a PhD candidate (Applied Corpus Linguistics). Prior to that, I obtained my BA from the English Language and Literature Department at the College of Arts, Kuwait University, majoring in Linguistics. Afterwards, I received a postgraduate diploma in Linguistics from the University of Leeds. Then I worked as an English teacher at the Ministry of Education in Kuwait for approximately three years and decided to pursue my MA in Ireland. UCD, one of Europe’s leading research-intensive universities and ranked within the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide, is a highly reputable university, which led me to choose it. After completing my MA at UCD, I was immediately appointed as an English language instructor for three years at Kuwait University. The same year of my appointment, I single-handedly organised the first English-language symposium in Kuwait, where many educational institutions from the USA, the UK, and the UAE participated, as well as both the British and American embassies. After two years, I was the fastest person in the history of Kuwait University to become the head of the English language unit. Then, I published a first-of-its-kind book that documents the two tribal dialects in Kuwait using corpus linguistic methods. Given my successful endeavours, I was chosen by the U.S. State Department to represent Kuwait in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP 2018). In 2019, I returned to UCD for a PhD in applied corpus linguistics and sociolinguistics under the supervision of Prof. Bettina Migge, and Prof. Sandrine Peraldi.

My research interest is in examining the varieties of English and how they are distinct from one another, (i.e., the study of linguistics, through corpus linguistics). I am also highly interested in pragmatics, collocations, neologisms, and their effects on any given variety. My greatest interest is in how to exploit corpus resources and methodologies in social research.