Language Change: Places, Names and Politeness research strand at the Bristol Centre for Linguistics (BCL)

Family Names

Professor Richard Coates led a large team of researchers working out of the Bristol Centre for Linguistics on the Family Names of the UK project. The project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council between 2010 and 2016 and allowed the team to collect detailed information on the etymology, geographical and linguistic origins and distribution of some 46,000 surnames. The research was published in a four-volume dictionary Family Names of Britain and Ireland and the team continue to explore the etymology and social and geographical characteristics of the names in the research database. 

Place Names

Professor Richard Coates has worked extensively on place-names, especially on English place-names created before 1500 AD. He has written popular books on the place-names of Bristol and is President of the English Place Names Society. His work on proper names has influenced his thinking on linguistic theory and he continues to develop his Pragmatic Theory of Properhood.

Rock/Pop Band Names

Professor Richard Coates has recently begun a project, with the participation of student interns, to explore the development of rock/pop band names, to test an aspect of his theoretical thinking.

Historical Pragmatics

Dr Kate Beeching has carried out significant work into the origins and development of discourse markers, such as like, you know and I mean (as well as similar words in French). She is interested to explore what functions such words have and what they can tell us about the nature of social interaction. In addition, Beeching has thought about how the meanings of words change over time and how that can be influenced by considerations of politeness.

Bristol Centre for Linguistics

The Bristol Centre for Linguistics creates a platform for knowledge exchange on linguistics as well as highlights the relevance of language research to the public.


Research centres and groups at UWE Bristol

Find out more about research in each college and school at UWE Bristol.

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