James Richard LAMBERT

Assistant Professor

English Language & Literature (ELL)

Office Location
NIE 3-03-102


Office Telephone Number

Research Interests
Corpus linguistics, Dictionary use in Schools, Disciplinary literacy, Flora and fauna in dictionaries, Lexicography and World Englishes, Slang lexicography, The history of Singapore English

  • I began my career as a professional lexicographer in Australia writing dictionaries for the Macquarie Dictionary company, but left that career to travel the world teaching English in such wide-ranging countries as Japan, Turkey, and Hong Kong, before moving to Singapore to take up my assistant professorship at NIE.

    My research interests fall within a dual focus on lexicography and World Englishes. In particular, I am concerned with expanding the dictionary coverage of the so-called ‘new’ varieties of English, i.e. varieties where English is historically a second or foreign language. I am especially interested in the early history of these varieties, including the early history of Singapore English. I have recently compiled the 16 million word Corpus of Early Singapore English (CESE), which I am currently investigating to identify Singaporeanisms and create a timeline for when these vocabulary items entered the language. A detailed history of Singapore English is currently lacking, but it is high time work on this goal was begun.

    My undergraduate course on lexicology and lexicography is popular with students and through their work we have contributed over 150 dictionary entries of Singapore English words to Wiktionary, the dictionary companion of Wikipedia, including such terms as ah pui, bo liao, buay tank, chut pattern, koyok, mampus, ninja van, paktorlogy, sarpork, and zero fighter.

    At NIE I also teach postgraduate courses in sociolinguistics and second language phonology. Another quiver to my academic bow is corpus linguistics and I am currently working with Dr Green to investigate disciplinary literacy through a purpose-built corpus of secondary school textbooks.

    My research has appeared in international journals such as the English World-Wide (Benjamins), World Englishes (Wiley), the International Journal of Lexicography (Oxford), and the British Journal of Educational Technology (Wiley).

    • Lexicography and World Englishes
    • The history of Singapore English
    • Slang lexicography
    • Dictionary use in Schools
    • Flora and fauna in dictionaries
    • Corpus linguistics
    • Disciplinary literacy

    • Lexicology and Lexicography
    • Sociolinguistic Perspectives on the Classroom
    • Second Language Phonology

  • I am currently supervising an investigation of ‘Chinese cyber pidgin’, an emerging, and as yet unstudied, linguistic phenomenon in which English lexis is creatively adapted and adopted into Chinese languages, and a corpus-based project on representations of Muslims in Western travel writing.