Professor Hilary Nesi

Professor in English Language, Coventry University


Hilary is Professor in English Language in the Department of English and Languages at Coventry University. She started her career as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language in Italy, and then taught English to international students at Aston University before moving to the Centre for English Language Teacher Education at Warwick University, where she worked for 20 years, teaching teachers from around the world about the uses of English. She now concentrates on research and research supervision, looking at the language and structure of spoken and written texts. Hilary has run workshops and presented papers in many countries, and has published more than 70 research papers on educational and linguistic topics. She was principal investigator for the projects to create the British Academic Spoken English corpus and the British Academic Written English corpus. These are large collections of texts (millions of words) which show the way that people speak and write in British universities. Her latest co-authored book, Genres across the Disciplines: Student Writing in Higher Education, discusses the different types of assessed writing that university students produce. Although the traditional argumentative essay is still common, students also write a whole range of other types of text, including business plans, proposals for new products they want to design, and leaflets and posters to inform the general public about their study topic. In all Hilary’s work she tries to identify the language features used in different contexts and for different purposes, with the aim of helping students communicate their thoughts and ideas effectively.