Sumin Zhao


  • Linguistics and English Language
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences

Contact details



Room 2.03, Dugald Stewart Building

3 Charles Street, Edinburgh
Post code


I received my academic training as a text linguist in the Hallidayan tradition at the University of Sydney. My areas of expertise include Discourse Analysis (multimodal & critical), Social Semiotics, and Systemic Functional Grammar.

Prior to joining Edinburgh, I held the Carlsberg Distinguished Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Southern Denmark (2016-2018) and the Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Technology Sydney (2013-2016). I was a visiting research associate at UCL Institute of Education in 2015 and 2016. 

I am a speaker of Mandarin Chinese and Shanghainese. 


Undergraduate teaching

I teach DA-related topics in the following courses in the 2020-21 academic year. 


LEL 1A (pre-honours): Discourse Analysis 

Pragmatics (honors/MSc): Applying coherence theory in clinical settings 

Language Variation and Change (honors/MSc): Lexical change and social media 


I lead the seminar on Multimodality in Guided Research in LEL (Honors/MSc). 


I am the course organizer for Discourse Analysis (Honors & MSc) and teach the following topics

Introduction to discourse analysis, Computer-mediated discourse analysis, social media & narrative analysis, corpus-assisted discourse analysis. 



Postgraduate teaching

Please refer to UG teaching information above.

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

Apart from the topics directly related to my research, I am willing to consider thesis topics in the following three broad areas:

  • Multimodality: I am particularly interested in projects using video-data
  • Linguistic Ethnography in the context of early childhood (3-8): carer-child interaction, peer interaction, & joint-reading practices
  • Text linguistics: English & Chinese



Current PhD students supervised

Research summary

  • Digital literacies and multimodal practices of young children: the design and use of mobile applications in the early childhood context, digital literacy practices of immigrant families with young children, picture books and transnational text flows
  • Multimodality and social media discourses: selfies and digital genres, the discourses of childhood & motherhood, technology-mediated multimodal interaction

You can find a list of my publications here,


Knowledge exchange

  • I am the book review editor for Discourse & Communication (Sage).
  • I serve on the committee for BAAL SIG Language & New Media as the event organiser.
  • I am a member of the International Collective of Research and Design in Children's Digital Books.
  • I am a member of the FOCUS Visual & Experimental Methods Network (@FOCUSnet_work).
  • I participate in the COST DigiLiTEY action ( and acted as the Danish representative in 2017 and 2018.

Research activities

View all 37 activities on Research Explorer