University of Warsaw, MA, PhD

I am a cognitive linguist, interested in the applications of conceptual metaphor theory, blending, and construction grammar to a variety of meaning-related phenomena in grammar and discourse. Much of my work is focused on cognitive poetics, especially fictional narratives and drama. I also work on the applications of cognitive theories of meaning to various discourse types, including multimodal artifacts in digital and creative contexts.

I completed my MA and PhD at the Institute of English Studies, University of Warsaw. Before taking up a position in the Department of English at UBC, I was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, and worked at the University of Warsaw and Simon Fraser University. I am the recipient of a Killam Research Prize. In 2002, I was a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. In 2015, I was a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study at Durham University, UK.

My primary focus in teaching is the Department’s Language Program. I am particularly interested in the study of linguistic meaning, which is reflected in the way I teach descriptive courses, such as ENGL 330A or ENGL 331. My specific approach to meaning is from the perspective of cognitive linguistics, rather than formal theories in semantics. The course that best represents my approach to the study of language is ENGL 328 (Metaphor, Language, and Thought), which looks at the role of figurative thought in the use of colloquial expressions and in discourse in general.

I welcome graduate students interested in cognitive poetics, especially cognitive approaches to language, narratives, and multimodal artifacts.

Authored books

2014 Figurative Language. Co-authored with Eve Sweetser. Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics. Cambridge University Press.

2012 The Language of Stories: A Cognitive Approach. Cambridge University Press.

2005 Mental spaces in Grammar: Conditional Constructions. Co-authored with Eve Sweetser. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

1998 Conditionals and Prediction: Time, Knowledge and Causation in Conditional Constructions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 87)


Edited collections

2016 Viewpoint and the Fabric of Meaning. Co-edited with Wei-lun Lu and Arie Verhagen. Cognitive Linguistics Research 55. De Gruyter-Mouton.

2014 Language and the Creative Mind. Co-edited with Mike Borkent and Jennifer Hinnell. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.

2012 Viewpoint in Language: A Multimodal Perspective. Co-edited with Eve Sweetser. Cambridge University Press.

2012 Textual Choices in Discourse: A view from Cognitve Linguistics. Co-edited with José Sanders and Lieven Vandelanotte. John Benjamins Publishing Company.

I have published over forty scholarly articles, on linguistic phenomena such as conditionals, negation, and proper names; on the concept of viewpoint in various communicative contexts; and on literary discourse. I am currently editing The Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics.

A full list of my publications is available at

I am interested in the cognitive underpinnings of language and other communicative forms. I have worked on the cognitive linguistic study of conditionals (two of my monographs are devoted to the question). I have a strong interest in cognitive poetics; I have worked most broadly on the theory of fictional narratives, but have also published on poetry and on drama. My recent work focuses on the theoretical foundations of the concept of viewpoint, in literary texts, in grammatical constructions, but also in visual artifacts (street art, posters, ads, etc.) and multimodal contexts (digital discourse).

Current Research: I am currently working on a SSHRC-funded project on “Understanding multimodal communication”, which investigates artifacts combining language, image, and materiality, form the cognitive linguistics and cognitive poetics perspective. I am working on a monograph on the subject (with Lieven Vandelanotte) and co-editing two journal special issues showcasing current on work on multimodal discourse.

I am also editing The Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics, to appear in 2017.

Research Networks and Collaborations:

Cognition and Poetics Research Cluster, Osnabrück University, Germany

The Research Cluster on Cognition and Poetics at Osnabrück University brings together scholars from various disciplines in humanities, the fine arts and the cognitive sciences to create a unique, innovative and interdisciplinary research and training program in Cognition and Poetics.