Seth Mehl

Research Fellow and Teaching Fellow, Survey of English Usage

Research Interests

• pedagogical approaches to English studies
• corpus linguistics and corpus methodologies, including experimental design and statistics
• lexical semantics, lexicology and lexicography
• World Englishes
• Cognitive Linguistics


I teach undergraduate Modern English Language and postgraduate English grammar, corpus linguistics, and research methods at UCL. I also teach CPD courses in English grammar for school teachers at the UCL Institute of Education. Previously, I have taught the history of the English language at the University of Winchester. I was an ESOL teacher in the People's Republic of China, the Republic of Cyprus, and the USA.

I am actively committed to outreach and widening participation programmes for young people from backgrounds that are under-represented in higher education. Since 2010, I have coordinated summer schools and provided lectures and seminars in English language and literature at UCL for secondary school students from under-represented backgrounds.

Research Projects

As a research fellow at University College London (UCL), I work within the Teaching English Grammar in Schools project, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. This project addresses the UK National Curriculum for English, for primary through secondary school, by creating online resources for teachers and students based on UCL’s unique language corpora. The project reflects my commitment to improving English curricula generally, and my experience critically addressing norms in English language teaching.

In my previous post as a research assistant at UCL, I worked with the support of a university Teaching Innovation Grant to develop two new, free apps for iOS and Android, aimed at helping undergraduates improve their academic writing and their spelling and punctuation, respectively. Both apps are based on corpus linguistic research. The academic writing app explores academic writing as an expression of critical and creative thinking skills, and then presents specific rhetorical techniques as tools that serve those thinking skills. That app has been downloaded by thousands of users worldwide, and had been used as the primary resource in EAP courses in both North America.

I am a member of the Keywords Project, which is built upon the work of Raymond Williams and supported by Cambridge University and the University of Pittsburgh.

My doctoral research takes an onomasiological approach to lexical semantic variation in the International Corpus of English, specifically analyzing meaning and use of common, highly polysemic English verbs in Singapore, Hong Kong and Great Britain.


I was born in the United States, and completed a first degree in English (major) and music (minor) at the University of Kansas, followed by an MA in English Linguistics at UCL. I am now a PhD candidate at UCL, with expected completion in May, 2015.

Selected Publications

Mehl, Seth and Kathryn Allan. 2014. ‘English language: Lexicography, lexicology and lexical semantics’. In William Baker and Kenneth Womack (eds), The year’s work in English studies, volume 93. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mehl, Seth, Bas Aarts and Sean Wallis. 2014. English Spelling and Punctuation (ESP). Android and iOS app. London: Survey of English Usage.

Mehl, Seth, Bas Aarts and Sean Wallis. 2013. Academic Writing in English (AWE). Android and iOS app. London: Survey of English Usage.

Aarts, Bas, Sean Wallis, Jill Bowie, Dan Clayton and Seth Mehl. 2013. Englicious. London: Survey of English Usage.

Mehl, Seth. 2013. Contours of English and English language studies (book review). English Language and Linguistics 17(3): 571-6.

Mehl, Seth. 2013. ‘Capital’. The Keywords Project. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh.

This page last modified 24 March, 2015 by Survey Web Administrator.