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April 13, 2017

For some, joking about cancer is completely out of bounds. Cancer, after all, is no laughing matter. The problem is that, sometimes, it has to be. Now, during Cancer Awareness Month, is a good time to talk about why.

At the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (both in 2015 and 2016) comedians like Beth Vyse and Alastair Barrie w...

March 4, 2016

I was recently chatting to a Vice.com  editor who asked why it feels wrong when people use mental health terms in a casual, perhaps exaggerated way:


‘I totally had a panic attack yesterday!’

‘He’s gone schizo on us’

‘She’s so bi-polar!’


Is this offensive to people who actually have the mental health problems that t...

August 27, 2015

This post is to celebrate the publication of my first book...


People who experience mental disorders like depression are the foremost experts in what that feels like for them, which can determine what ways are most effective at alleviating their distress. Yet, this immensely valuable expertise often remains untapped....

March 13, 2015

How people talk or write about something can tell us as much about what they think and feel as the content of what they're actually saying. This is especially true in contexts where experiences are complex, emotional, subjective and potentially taboo, such as health and illness. When it comes to such experiences, the...

February 19, 2015

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet”
(Shakespeare - Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II)


Juliet famously pondered this question on her balcony one evening suggesting (or hoping?) that Romeo is not any less worthy of her love for being called Montague. Yet just as in Shake...

September 18, 2014

 Generally, when you think about the types of people involved in branding, copy writing or marketing, you probably don’t think of linguists. Instead you, like me, probably think of ‘creative types’ – whatever that may mean. But actually, linguistics, and in particular corpus analysis, can play a valuable role in decis...

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February 19, 2015

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Can we joke about cancer?*

April 13, 2017

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