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Dr Rachele De Felice


Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and English Language. My main research and teaching interests are in the areas of corpus linguistics, pragmatics, workplace communication, and the intersections of these - such as corpus pragmatics. I joined the School of Languages & Applied Linguistics in 2022, after ten years as a senior teaching fellow and then lecturer at University College London. Previously I have held postdoctoral research positions at the University of Nottingham (Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow) and at ETS in Princeton, New Jersey.

I gained my DPhil (PhD) in Computational Linguistics  (Department of Computer Science) and MPhil in Linguistics at Oxford University. 

Research interests

In my research, I analyse large collections of naturally occurring language, called corpora, to understand how people use particular instances of language to achieve their communicative goals: expressing solidarity, making a request, avoiding a task, giving advice, and so on. In particular, I am currently working on the following areas:

  • how people communicate in workplace emails, using datasets such as the Enron Corpus and the Clinton Email Corpus
  • how people talk about probems in emails - how are problems described, who takes responsibility for them, how are solutions agreed on?
  • the nature of giving and receiving advice - both in spontaneous conversation (London-Lund Corpora) and in other settings such as teaching and other professional contexts

My Cambridge Element Advice in Conversation: Corpus Pragmatics meets Mixed Methods, co-authored with Nele Poldvere and Carita Paradis, is available now in Open Access.

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of corpus linguistics, politeness, pragmatics, workplace communication.


Teaching interests

I am currently a member of the module team for LB170 Communication Skills for Business and Management.

Impact and engagement

You can watch a talk about my research on the Clinton Emails here (aimed at a non-specialist audience): , and read a short piece about asking for things in business emails here on MinuteHack.

I am on the ICAME Executive Board, and was co-chair of the 43rd ICAME conference hosted in Cambridge.


Identifying speech acts in a corpus of historical migrant correspondence (2019)
De Felice, Rachele and Moreton, Emma
Studia Neophilologica, 91(2) (pp. 154-174)

Routine politeness in American and British English requests: use and non-use of please (2019)
Murphy, M. Lynne and De Felice, Rachele
Journal of Politeness Research, 15(1) (pp. 77-100)

Politeness at Work in the Clinton Email Corpus: A First Look at the Effects of Status and Gender (2018)
De Felice, Rachele and Garretson, Gregory
Corpus Pragmatics, 2(3) (pp. 221-242)

A classification scheme for annotating speech acts in a business email corpus (2013)
De Felice, Rachele; Darby, Jeannique; Fisher, Anthony and Peplow, David
ICAME Journal, 37 (pp. 71-105)

De Felice, Rachele and Deane, Paul
ETS Research Report Series, 2012(2) (i-62)

Automatic Detection of Preposition Errors in Learner Writing (2009)
De Felice, Rachele and Pulman, Stephen
CALICO Journal, 26(3) (pp. 512-528)

Advice in Conversation: Corpus Pragmatics Meets Mixed Methods (2022-10-21)
Põldvere, Nele; De Felice, Rachele and Paradis, Carita
Elements in Pragmatics
ISBN : 9781009053617 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge

A Corpus-Based Classification of Commitments in Business English (2013-05-23)
De Felice, Rachele
In: Romero-Trillo, Jesús ed. Yearbook of Corpus Linguistics and Pragmatics 2013: New Domains and Methodologies. Yearbook of Corpus Linguistics and Pragmatics (pp. 153-171)
Publisher : Springer | Published : Dordrecht