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Almut Köster was born in Heidelberg, Germany and grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, where she attended primary and secondary school. She received a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Wesleyan University (Connecticut, USA) in 1980 and an M.A. in Applied English Linguistics from the University of Birmingham (UK) in 1989. In 2001 she was awarded a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Nottingham (UK), after completing a dissertation on naturally-occurring workplace conversations in British and American businesses and organisations. Prior to her appointment to a chair in English Business Communication at the WU in September 2014, she was Senior Lecturer in English Language at the University of Birmingham in England, where she taught English Language and Applied Linguistics and supervised dissertations at all levels. She also has a Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults, which she was awarded in 1983, and has extensive practical experience working as an English language teacher, teacher trainer, and director of studies in Germany, France and the USA.
Almut Köster’s research focuses on spoken workplace discourse, and she has investigated key areas of business communication, such as decision-making and negotiating. She is particularly interested in the ways in which linguistic features such as idioms, metaphor or vague language are deployed in workplace talk in pursuing both transactional and relational goals. Her interest in interpersonal features of language has also led her to examine conflictual interactions and the use of small talk at work. Her methodological approach to analysing workplace interactions is situated within the field of discourse analysis, drawing both on conversation analysis and genre analysis, and combining these approaches with corpus linguistics. She also has a keen interest in applying her research to the field of Teaching English for Business Communication: she has co-authored a Business English textbook and frequently speaks at conferences and events for language teachers.
Professor Köster supervises PhD and doctoral students investigating various aspects of workplace and business discourse.
A list of Almut Köster's publications and presentations can be found here.
Koester, A. 2017. Conflict Talk. In B. Vine (ed), The Routledge Handbook of Language in the Workplace. New York: Routledge.
Koester, Almut. 2017. Spoken Workplace Discourse. In G. Mautner & F. Rainer (eds), Business Communication: Linguistic Approaches. Berlin: De Gruyter.
Koester, A. 2014. “We’d be prepared to do something, like if you say.” Hypothetical reported speech in business negotiations. English for Specific Purposes 36: 35-46.
Koester, A. 2012. Corpora and workplace discourse. In K. Hyland, M. H. Chau, & M. Handford (eds), Corpus Applications in Applied Linguistics: current approaches and future directions. London: Continuum.
Koester, A. 2010. Workplace Discourse. London: Continuum.
Handford, M. and Koester, A. 2010. “It’s not Rocket Science”: Metaphors and Idioms in Conflictual Business Meetings. Text & Talk 30 (1): 27-51.
Koester, A. 2007. “About Twelve Thousand or so”: Vagueness in North American and UK Offices. In J. Cutting (ed), Vague Language Explored. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 40-61.
Koester, A. 2006. Investigating Workplace Discourse. London: Routledge.
Koester, A. 2004. The Language of Work. London: Routledge.
Koester, A. 2004. Relational sequences in workplace genres. Journal of Pragmatics 36: 1405-1428.