Joseph Trotta

Senior Lecturer

Department of Languages and
Visiting address
Renströmsgatan 6
41256 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 200
40530 Göteborg

About Joseph Trotta

  • Phone/office hour: By agreement via e-mail

I am an expatriate American who has been living in Sweden since 1986. I started my studies in English at Gothenburg University in 1989 and received my PhD in English Linguistics in 1998. My PhD dissertation, ‘Wh-clauses in English: Aspects of Theory and Description’ was well-received and subsequently published by an international publisher (Rodopi BV). I have held posts at Halmstad University College (senior lecturer, 1998-2002), The City University of New York, Graduate Center (visiting fellow, 2004), returning to Gothenburg University in 2005 where I am now senior lecturer in English Language.

I am a linguist with a strong footing in both empirical and theoretical approaches to language. Much of my work so far has focused on ‘descriptive-oriented theory’ in tackling specific questions about English grammar and syntax. Research of this type attempts to incorporate generative theory and modern descriptive grammar into a theoretically-unaligned approach, using theory-oriented ideas to justify description and vice versa, i.e. using empirical corpus data to support or refute theoretical claims.

Though my work has primarily concerned syntax, I am a scholar with many interests and eclectic tastes, which include, among other things, semantics, sociolinguistics, urban dialectology, semiotics and computer-mediated conversation. At present, I am especially interested in Popular Culture and the use of English in popular media such as film, TV, the internet, music, magazines, tabloids, ads, online games, etc. Several projects in this exciting field are in progress and I have also developed an elective course on this subject which is regularly offered to C-level students in Gothenburg.

I have roughly 20 years’ experience teaching university students in Sweden. At both Gothenburg University and Halmstad University I have taught a wide range of different undergraduate and graduate courses, chiefly on English language and linguistics. I believe in and practice many of the newest methods based on student-centered learning and dialogic teaching strategies. Group processes are essential in this approach and my goal is to advance students’ critical thinking by challenging them to reach to the best of their ability, while at the same time offering a supportive learning environment. In all my teaching, I set clear, high-level course objectives and develop assignments which measure these objectives. Though I am firmly convinced of the need of the individual to learn independently, I am not an ‘absolutist’ in my beliefs on student-centered learning. In my view, the most valuable lesson students can learn about the learning process is that knowledge is not ever just the transmission of information but instead involves a number of factors, one of which being an effective and open dialog between the learner and the teacher.