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Hah Sixian

My PhD research project was supervised by Prof. Johannes Angermuller and Dr. Stephanie Schnurr and was funded by the European Research Council (ERC) and Centre for Applied Linguistics (CAL), at the University of Warwick.


I am a member of the ERC-funded DISCONEX research project, which studies how researchers do research in the social sciences and humanities. My PhD course is funded by the DISCONEX project and CAL, University of Warwick. I am a member of the Discourse Analysis network of researchers from various countries. Before coming to Warwick, I was teaching Cambridge GCE A-level subjects General Paper and English Linguistics at pre-university level in Singapore. I have a keen interest in studies about social interaction and how people communicate in different social settings. In my spare time, I enjoy reading about social psychology.

Current Research

I study how academic researchers construct their identities and valuate discourses in higher education. I'm interested in applying ideas from discourse analysis and conversation analysis. I also continue to be intrigued by research on disciplinary cultures, communities and interdisciplinary research which I had a brief glimpse into when doing my MA dissertation.

Previous Research

In my Masters research, I studied the ways in which researchers from various scientific disciplines communicate and construct their understanding in an interdisciplinary research meeting. I explored how this negotiation of understanding was influenced by leadership and how gender could influence the enactment of leadership in these meetings. I discovered epistemic rifts or conflicts amongst team members caused by their different disciplinary backgrounds and observed how they sought to create common ground in various ways, as seen from a linguistic perspective, amongst other findings. My approach of analysis in this study was guided by applied Conversation Analysis.

Educational Background

PhD in Applied Linguistics, CAL, University of Warwick (2015- 2018)

MA in English Language Teaching specialising in English for Specific Purposes (Distinction), Centre for Applied Linguistics (CAL), University of Warwick (2010-2011)

BA in Education (Hons), specialising in English and Literature, National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore (2002-2006)

Minor in Chinese, Division of Chinese, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore (concurrent with BA)


(Paper presentation) "Why did you become a linguist? Nobody reads your work!" --Voicing and humour in interviews with academic researchers. Paper presented at 16th International Pragmatics Conference, Jun 2019, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

(Paper presentation) “That’s what’s moved me to tears! – A study of academic struggles and positioning practices in the UK Higher education”, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Jun 2018, Paris, France.

(Paper presentation) “What use is your research?”– Academic researchers’ discursive struggles in positioning one’s research”. 7th International Conference on New Discourses in Contemporary China (NDCC), Nov 2017, East China Jiaotong University, Nanchang, China.

(Paper presentation) 'Positioning practices of academic researchers in research interviews'. 2nd DiscourseNet Congress, Sep 2017, University of Warwick

(Paper presentation) 'The self and others as seen in academics' positioning practices'. 15th International Pragmatics Conference, July 2017, Belfast

(Paper presentation) 'The self and others as seen in academics' positioning practices'. 20th PG Conference in Applied Linguistics, June 2017, University of Warwick

(Paper presentation) "Positioning as seen through hedging in academic researchers’ spoken discourse". Metadiscourse across genres, Mar 2017, Middle East Technical University, North Cyprus.

(Paper presentation) "To belong or not to belong to a discipline? - Academics’ disciplinary identities as seen through positioning in interviews". Applied Linguistics & Professional Practice (ALAPP) Conference, Nov 2016, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

(Paper presentation) "Negotiation of positions in interviews with academic researchers". 19th PG Conference in Applied Linguistics, Jun 2016, University of Warwick, UK.

(Paper Presentation) "Reflections from qualitative research interviews in academic researchers’ discourse". DiscourseNet 17 Conference, Mar 2016, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.

(Paper Presentation) "Epistemic positioning in academic discourse". First DiscourseNet Congress, Sep 2015, University of Bremen, Germany.

(Poster Presentation) "Hedging in written and spoken academic discourse and how it reflects academics’ discursive attempts to position themselves". 18th PG Conference 2015, University of Warwick


Hah, S. (2019). Disciplinary positioning struggles: Perspectives from early career academics. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 12(2), 144-165.

Hah, S. (2017). Vincent Remillard & Karen Williams , Human communication across cultures: A cross-cultural introduction to pragmatics and sociolinguistics. Sheffield: Equinox, 2016. Pp. 208. Language in Society, 46(5), 753-754. doi:10.1017/S004740451700077X [Booknote]

Schnurr, S., Wharton, S., Alansari, S., Angouri, J., Chimbwete Phiri, R., Chiriatti, T., Debray, C., Efthymiadou, C., Hah, S., Harrison, T. & Kedveš, A. (2016). “Not so ‘innocent’ after all? Exploring corporate identity construction online”. Discourse and Communication.

Nakayama, Asami, Joanne Hah Sixian, and Steve Mann. (2013) “Short courses, impact, and follow up: A case study of a group of Japanese students visiting the UK." Language Teacher 37: 4.

Service & teaching

Chair of Organizing Committee for the 19th Warwick International Postgraduate Conference in Applied Linguistics (2016)

Organizing Committee Member for DiscourseNet Congress 1 (Bremen, 2015) and 2 (Warwick, 2017)

Main teaching topics: Conversation Analysis, Discourse Analysis, Qualitative Coding, English for Academic Purposes



Research Interests

~ social interactions

~ applied conversation analysis

~discourse analysis

~interactional linguistics

~identity construction

~higher education studies