I read English at Kings College, Cambridge, graduating in 1987, and then moved to Glasgow, where I studied for a Masters degree in Literary Linguistics and then a PhD in Linguistics at Strathclyde University, graduating in 1994. I joined Loughborough University as a lecturer the same year.
I am currently Director of Undergraduate Studies for the School of the Arts, English & Drama.
EAB113 Introduction to Linguistics
EAB016 Language in Society
I also supervise dissertations on language and linguistics
My research focuses mainly on the pragmatic generation of meaning. I am particularly interested in the ways in which our ability to communicate relates to the cultural and situational knowledges that we, as language users, draw on when we interact. My work in this field has focused mainly on pragmatic approaches to gender and language-use and on the development and application of Relevance Theory across a range of contexts.
My work has also focused on the development and application of pragmatic theories of linguistic politeness. I am a founder member of the Linguistic Politeness Research Group, which was established in 1998, and since that date I have, in collaboration with the group, been involved in the organisation of a number of international conferences and other activities that promote scholarship in linguistic politeness across cultures and languages. I am on the editorial board of The Journal of Politeness Research, which was launched by the LPRG in 2005, and for which I was editor-in-chief from 2005 to 2010. I have also edited special issues of journals that have focussed on politeness research.
My research has addressed many different cultural discourse types including television programmes, newspaper articles, films, literary texts and parliamentary debate. Recent publications have addressed the pragmatics of film interpretation and the ways in which interlocutors index and make inferences about aspects of social identity through the use of taboo language. A forthcoming (2017) journal article addresses the interpretation of courtroom discourse. I have also contributed two chapters (one on indexicality and (im)politeness and another on gender and (im)politeness) to The Palgrave Handbook of Linguistic (Im)politenessto be published in 2017.
I am currently working on a book entitled Language and Meaning in Literature to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2017 and on a paper on relevance theory and literature for an edited collection due to be published by John Benjamin in 2018.
I have supervised successful PhD theses on the following topics:
- Power and Politeness in Cross-Cultural Supervision Management;
- The Pragmatics of Corrections in the Process of First Language Acquisition;
- The Critical Analysis of Discourses in Communities of Practice;
- Relevance Theory, Culture and Communication: Interpretations of Broadcast Talk by Native Speakers of Mandarin Chinese and British English;
- Analysing the relationship between the use and prescription of epicene pronouns: A corpus-based approach to generic he and singular they in British English;
- Politeness in Contemporary Chinese: A postmodern analysis of generational variation in the use of compliments and compliment responses;
- Instant messaging in work-based virtual teams;
- Power and language: a cross-cultural study.
- Currently an External Examiner (UG and PG) at Nottingham University and The American College of Greece.
- Have acted as External Examiner for PhD theses at Birmingham University, Leicester University, Nottingham University, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Kwazulu-Natal.
- On Editorial Board of Journal of Politeness Research
- Founder member, and current member of the management group of the Linguistic Politeness Research Group
- Presentations at international conferences: Ankara, Budapest, Helsinki, Huddersfield, Leeds, Limerick, Manchester, Pune, Sheffield, Warwick.
- Presentation of Research Papers: Leicester University, Nottingham University, Sheffield Hallam University, York St Johns.
- Academic Referee for journals including: Journal of Pragmatics; Discourse and Society; Intercultural Pragmatics, The Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict Language and Gender; The Nordic Journal of African Studies.
- Academic Referee for publishers including:Cambridge University Press, De Gruyter, Palgrave, Routledge.
- Academic Referee for grant applications to the ESRC
- Member of Validation for degrees: Open University; University of Glamorgan