I work at the intersections of language, mind and health(care), exploring mental/physical illness. Examining the language of patients, carers, healthcare professionals, journalists, poets, writers, etc. I focus on how they say what they say to understand what it means to be unwell.
My approach is data-driven and broadly discourse analytic, focusing on any aspect of language that becomes relevant in a given context. I've worked specifically with metaphor, personal pronouns, negation, narratives, impoliteness, and humour, investigating, among others, how:
the ideologies of the UK hospice movement influence what health professionals consider a ‘good death’;
specific linguistic aspects of so-called auditory verbal hallucinations contribute to the distress of people who hear voices that others cannot hear;
humour helps people cope with cancer, build communities and regain a sense of empowerment;
the experience of depression is often characterized by physical pain and a split-self, along with emptiness and lethargy
I often use corpus methods (alongside qualitative tools), which allow me to examine large quantities of language data quickly and systematically and to support qualitative findings quantitatively. Whenever possible, I focus on the potential practical applications of any findings for the diagnosis and treatment of specific conditions and for the quality/effectiveness of healthcare services and communication.
I am interested in supervising students in the following areas:
Applied linguistic approaches to experiences of illness, health and wellbeing
Linguistic approaches to non/fictional illness narratives
Interactions in healthcare contexts (online or offline)
Metaphor in discourses of health (and other professional contexts)
Details on how to apply can be found here.