My main research interest within English linguistics has been semantics. I have studied the history of English vocabulary since the Late Middle Ages. I have especially studied words for emotions, but also other words, such as the vocabulary of politeness. I have specialised in corpus linguistics and cognitive linguistics, especially the study of metaphor.
In September 2017, Ulla Vanhatalo, Mari Siiroinen and I received money for a project from the University of Helsinki. The project is titled “Tunnistatko tunteen?” (“Can you identify an emotion?”) and it deals with the question how well native speakers of Finnish can identify words for emotions on the basis of explications written in the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) developed by Anna Wierzbicka and Cliff Goddard. The idea is mainly to see if NSM can be used to explain concepts to laypeople, but also to compare differences between words for emotions in English and Finnish, since most of the definitions were originally written in English, to describe English words.