Dr Csaba Szabo

Lecturer in Language Education


Dr Csaba Z Szabo joined the Institute for Language Education at Moray House, University of Edinburgh in October 2023. He specialises in TESOL, Language Education, and Applied Linguistics with specific interest in vocabulary learning, teaching and assessment in bi- and multilingual contexts, emotion vocabulary testing, language assessment, academic achievement in EMI contexts, and cross-linguistic influences at the level of lexis. He is a keen advocate of promoting research with a practical impact and has a commitment to social justice and evidence-informed teaching for high-quality student experience.

Previously, he worked as an assistant professor of TESOL at the University of Nottingham Malaysia, where he served as the Director for Research and Knowledge Exchange and Postgraduate Research in the School of Education. He was also founding and organising chair of the Alternative Research Lounge, a bi-weekly research forum for students and faculty. As such, he has significantly contributed to developing quantitative literacy skills in Education and Language students, both in Malaysia and the UK. Within this role, he has been nominated for the Lord Dearing Award (2021, 2022), Tri-Campus Award (2023), and Vice-Chancellor’s Medal (2023). He holds an MA in Teaching English as Foreign Language from Swansea University, Wales and PhD in Second Language Acquisition from The Open University, UK. He became Fellow of Higher Education Academy (Advanced HE, UK) in 2020.

He has published and regularly reviews articles for leading journals in the area of Language Education (e.g., System, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Language Testing Journal, Applied Linguistics Review, AsiaTEFL). He presents regularly at international conferences (e.g., BAAL, AAAL, and EuroSLA). He collaborates with experts across disciplines and beyond borders. For example, he is member of the Applied Linguistics, Language, and Literacy Lab at the University of Macau and the Mind and NeuroDevelopment Research Group at the University of Nottingham, Malaysia.


BA - Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in English Language and Literature with Media and Communication, Partium Christian University, Oradea, Romania

MA - Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (with Distinction), Swansea University, Wales, UK

PhD - Doctor of Philosophy, Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET), The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

FHEA - Fellow (D2) of Advanced Higher Education Academy claim through Nottingham Recognition Scheme, University of Nottingham (PR188511)

Responsibilities & affiliations

Course organiser for Online Language Learning - part of MSc in Language Education and MSc in TESOL programmes

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

@The University of Nottingham Malaysia

  1. Developing a Flipped Classroom Model for Teaching English-Vietnamese Translation in HE (completed, co-supervisor)
  2. Developing and Evaluating a Cognate List for English and Malaysian Bahasa, Mandarin, and Tamil (principal supervisor)
  3. A validation of the Pearson PTE-A for University Entry: a dual site study (principal supervisor)
  4. Teachers’ Emotional Intelligence and Students’ Academic Achievement (principal supervisor)

Research summary

My research aims to bridge second and third language acquisition through the lens of vocabulary studies. With a specific focus on vocabulary learning and language testing, I investigate cognate recognition and production, emotion vocabulary knowledge, game-based language learning, and academic achievement in English-medium instruction settings.

My PhD thesis investigated how Romanian as a second language and a Romance language influences the acquisition of English in the case of Hungarian native-speakers. I have obtained local and international grants as PI (see below) to expand on this line of research. For example, in collaboration with my PhD students and colleagues we have developed a cognate list for English and Mandarin, Malaysian Bahasa, and Tamil to advance learning and testing English as a second language in Malaysian classrooms. We have also compiled a comprehensive list of English emotion words and are in the process of validating a Productive Emotion Vocabulary Test.

I have also collaborated on a funded Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion project that aims to establish factors that affect learning and participation of students with protected characteristics (e.g., age, gender, race, sexual orientation, and language proficiency in English) at the University of Nottingham Malaysia.

Areas of interest:

  • Vocabulary learning, teaching and testing
  • Emotion vocabulary and Emotional Intelligence
  • Multilingualism
  • Language testing and assessments
  • Evidence-based language education
  • and related areas.

Current research interests

Dr Csaba Z Szabo welcomes doctoral research proposals in any of the following and related areas:

  • Emotion vocabulary knowledge
  • Vocabulary acquisition and testing
  • Lexical knowledge and development in multilingual contexts
  • Teaching and learning (English) vocabulary
  • Cross-linguistic influences and translanguaging in the classroom
  • Integrated language skills and vocabulary
  • Educational attainment and vocabulary
  • Teaching, learning, and assessment in TESOL/TEFL and multilingual contexts

For publications, please see my OrchID link:

Dr Csaba Szabo's publications on OrchID

Past project grants

2020 – Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Hub, University of Nottingham - £2945 – co-PI (45%; PI: Dr Tze Peng Wong, 55%)
Title: Factors Affecting University Participation and Inclusion Among Students From Protected Groups

2020 – Fundamental Research Grant, MoE, Malaysia – £20,000, PI: awarded November, 2020; co-PI: Dr Jessica Price, School of Psychology, University of Nottingham Malaysia.
Title: Developing and Testing a Cognate List between English and Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, and Tamil to Support Teaching through the Medium of English

2020 – Pearson PTE, Pearson Research Grant – £20,000, PI: awarded November, 2020; co-PI: Dr Barry Lee Reynolds, University of Macau.
Title: Exploring the Predictive and Concurrent Validity of PTE-A for Academic Achievement in Pre-Sessional and Undergraduate Programmes