Neil Bermel, Ph.D. 1994


Dissertation: Context and the Lexicon in the Development of Russian Aspect.

Since 1996, I’ve been at the University of Sheffield, England, where I’m now Professor of Russian and Slavonic Studies.

Taking up this post at Sheffield pushed my research and teaching in the direction of Czech, since my brief was to build a Czech program as an adjunct to Russian (which is our “bread and butter”) on both the undergraduate and graduate levels. We now offer a range of courses in Czech, with a student exchange program and research links. I teach Slavic linguistics courses, mostly at undergraduate but also occasionally at MA level, and have had a steady trickle of PhD students in Russian, Czech, and linguistics.

My research interests have gradually shifted over the years, although the distribution of variation, its meaning and significance have remained at the heart of it. After rewriting my dissertation and publishing it, my next project was on the use of non-standard forms in Czech literary dialogue, which resulted in a short monograph. From there, I went on to look at spelling variation and its social significance. Since about 2005, I’ve been working on how we use the tools of the technological age – corpora, questionnaires and other experiments – to describe morphological variation and evaluate its significance.

Czech and Russian have also been rewarding areas for developing teaching materials. With a colleague in Prague, I co-authored an online intermediate language course for Czech with workbook, and with a colleague here at Sheffield, we undertake a variety of student-centered translation projects.

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