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Seminar series

The Bristol Centre for Linguistics (BCL) runs a series of research seminars throughout the year. All seminars are held on online via Zoom on Wednesdays 13:00-14:00 and are free to join.

Our Autumn schedule for the 2024/25 academic year will be available in the new term, along with links to register for each talk. To join the BCL mailing list for updates about future talks and other events organised by the BCL, please sign up.
For any questions, please contact  Dr Minna Kirjavainen-Morgan (, Director of BCL.

Past seminars

Seminar series 2023-24

Historical and contemporary perspectives of disinformation
Date: 8 November 2023
Speaker: Dr William Dance (Lancaster University)

New life of the Inari Sámi language: Methods, results, and ideologies of the revitalization
Date: 29 November 2023
Speaker: Professor Annika Pasanen (Sámi University of Applied Sciences)

Analysing ideological stance through social actor representations in extremists' discourses of sexual violence
Date: 6 December 2023
Speaker: Dr Kate Barber (Cardiff University)

Functional characterization of the language network of polyglots and hyperpolyglots
Date: 13 December 2023
Speaker: Saima Malik-Moraleda (Harvard University)

Ontogenetic emergence of human communication
Date: 28 February 2024
Speaker: Professor Ulf Liszkowski (University of Hamburg)

Examining emancipatory discourses as translational research: Why we need advocacy and activism in our scholarship
Date: 27 March 2024
Speaker: Dr Mark Nartey (UWE Bristol)

Seminar series 2022-23

Interactive alignment through resonance in face-to-face conversation: What is it and why do we do it?
Date: 19 October 2022
Speaker: Professor Carita Paradis (Lund University, Sweden)

Discourse markers, filled pauses and other disfluencies: How disfluent are they?
Date: 2 November 2022
Speaker: Dr Ludivine Crible (Ghent University, Belgium)

“Where’s your light?”: Constructing control of the setting and interactional space during police first response call-outs to domestic abuse incidents
Date: 30 November 2022
Speaker: Dr Kate Steel (UWE Bristol)

To what extent do children's expressions of time actually refer to time? 
Date: 14 December 2022
Speaker: Dr Maija Surakka (Tampere University, Finland)

Living on the edge of chaos…Lessons learned as a hostage negotiator
Date: 8 March 2023
Speaker: Nigel Taberner (Level2 Communications)

Investigating emancipatory discourses: Why we need an interventionist approach and an activist-scholar posture
Date: 15 March 2023
Speaker: Dr Mark Nartey (UWE Bristol)

The securitisation of language border regimes and social inequalities
Date: 29 March 2023
Speaker: Dr Kamran Khan (University of Birmingham)

Syntactic representations in young bilinguals: Evidence from structural priming with Polish-English speakers
Date: 19 April 2023
Speaker: Professor Ludovica Serratrice (University of Reading, UiT The Arctic University of Norway)

Power, vulnerability and police-victim communication at the scene of domestic abuse first response call-outs
Date: 26 April 2023
Speaker: Dr Kate Steel (UWE Bristol)

Seminar series 2021-22

For the record: Exploring variability in interpretations of police investigative interviews
Date: 24 November 2021
Speaker: Dr Felicity Deamer (UWE Bristol)

The connection between language and smell
Date: 8 December 2021
Speaker: Dr Laura Speed (Radboud University)

Effects of age and education on language and cognition
Date: 15 December 2021
Speaker: Dr Alexandre Nikolaev (University of Eastern Finland)

Designing obstacles to progressivity: Pedagogical orientations in second language role-play interaction
Date: 9 February 2022
Speaker: Professor Tim Greer (Kobe University)

Multilingualism and sexuality: Checkpoints of desire
Date: 2 March 2022
Speaker: Professor Tomasso Milani (University of Gothenburg)

Children's conversational skills
Date: 9 March 2022
Speaker: Dr Kirsten Abbot-Smith (University of Kent)

What does ‘please’ mean?
Date: 16 March 2022
Speaker: Professor Lynne Murphy (University of Sussex)

Ethnonyms as proper names or not: Does their status depend on your politics?
Date: 6 April 2022
Speaker: Emeritus Professor Richard Coates (UWE Bristol)

Seminar series 2020-21

The fear of the slipper slope: Conscious suppression of modality in family language policy.
Date: 11 November 2020
Speakers: Dr Annelies Kusters and Professor Jemina Napier (Heriot-Watt University)

Football, sexuality, and /s/: A sociophonetic study of /s/ realisations and the intersection of gender, sexuality, and sport.
Date: 18 November 2020
Speaker: Dr Salina Cuddy (University of Sheffield)

Teenagers say the darnedest things: Social class and linguistic discrimination in Dublin secondary schools.
Date: 25 November 2020
Speaker: Dr Stephen Lucek

Decolonizing sociolinguistics – project and/or provocation?
Date: 13 January 2021
Speaker: Professor Ana Deumert (University of Cape Town)

Seminar series 2019-20

Why everything you thought you knew about language is wrong
Date: 25 March 2020
Speaker: Ben Ambridge (University of Liverpool)

Applying linguistics to sport: Putting language use in professional rugby teams under the microscope
Date: 4 March 2020
Speaker: Kieran File (University of Warwick)

The multilingual origins of Standard English
Date: 12 February 2020
Speaker: Laura Wright (University of Cambridge)

Paragogic consonants: A phonological puzzle in Norman French
Date: 29 January 2020
Speaker: Richard Coates (UWE Bristol)

Language learning practices with Learning by Developing and OIL in Higher Education in Finland
Date: 22 January 2020
Speaker: Kristina Henriksson (Laurea University, Finland)

Modality, iconicity and the evolution of language
Date: 16 October 2019
Speaker: Hannah Little (UWE Bristol)

Present day sound change in the dialects of Worcestershire and Herefordshire
Date: 30 October 2019
Speaker: Esther Asprey (Open University)

Ethnolinguistic identity construction and Gaelic language revitalisation in Nova Scotia, Canada
Date: 6 November 2019
Speaker: Stuart Dunmore (Edinburgh University)

Gender, language and parliamentary participation
Date: 20 November 2019
Speaker: Sylvia Shaw (Westminster University)

Teenagers say the darnedest things: Social class and linguistic discrimination in Dublin secondary schools
Date: 4 December 2019
Speaker: Stephen Lucek

Seminar series 2018-19

Features of the English spoken on the Isle of Man
Date: 7 November 2018
Speaker: Andrew Booth

Code-switching: Cognitive perspectives
Date: 21 November 2018
Speaker: Jeanine Treffers-Daller (University of Reading)

Mock (im)politeness
Date: 5 December 2018
Speaker: Charlotte Taylor (University of Sussex)

Connecting our worlds to our words: Influence of gender nonconformity on pronoun comprehension
Date: 12 December 2018
Speaker: Lauren Ackerman (Newcastle University)

Naming Shirehampton and the name Shirehampton
Date: 6 February 2019
Speaker: Richard Coates (UWE Bristol)

Ethics, morals and principles in language and gender research: Working with toxic communities in online spaces
Date: 20 February 2019
Speaker: Rob Lawson (Birmingham City University)

Language and neoliberalism in higher education
Date: 20 March 2019
Speaker: Helen Sauntson (York St John University)

Sentence production in Australian free word order languages
Date: 3 April 2019
Speaker: Evan Kidd (Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen)

Seminar series 2017-18

Subverting otherness and challenging ignorance: The interactive construction of discursive identity in a transgender youth group
Date: 18 October 2017
Speaker: Lucy Jones (University of Nottingham)

Developing understanding of different perspectives in language and false-belief tasks: Evidence from German, English and Mandarin
Date: 1 November 2017
Speaker: Silke Brandt (University of Lancaster)

Extended uses of names: From paragons to analogies
Date: 22 November 2017
Speaker: Anu Koskela (De Montfort University)

'Forgiveness' as an unforgiving act: Exploring the interplay of image and text
Date: 6 December 2017
Speaker: Laura Kilby (Sheffield Hallam University)

Public discourses on multilingualism in the UK: Benefits of using a mixed method approach to study discourse
Date: 7 February 2018
Speaker: Sylvia Jaworska (University of Reading)
Location: Room 2S611

Technical language and semantic shift in Middle English
Date: 21 February 2018
Speaker: Harry Parkin (University of Westminster)
Location: Room 2S611

The Gersum Project: Classification and analysis of Norse-derived terms in Middle English
Date 7 March 2018
Speaker: Sara Pons-Sanz (University of Cardiff)

I want hold Postman Pat – An investigation into the source(s) of grammatical errors in children’s language
Date: 11 April 2018
Speaker: Minna Kirjavainen-Morgan (UWE Bristol)

Seminar series 2016-17

Morphosyntactic features in South American languages
Date: 12 October 2016
Speaker: Joshua Birchall

Social salience discriminates learnability of contextual cues in an artificial language
Date: 19 October 2016
Speaker: Peter Racz (University of Bristol)

Phonological awareness and word reading acquisition in Acehnese-Indonesian bilingual context
Date: 26 October 2016
Speaker: Septhia Irnanda (UWE Bristol)

Performing a Welsh accent on Twitter: How, but also, why?
Date: 2 November 2016
Speaker: Mercedes Durham (Cardiff University)

Impersonal morphology and verb classes
Date: 23 November 2016
Speaker: Laura Arman (University of Manchester)

The interference of orthography in the pronunciation and phonological awareness of Italian learners of English
Date: 8 February 2017
Speaker: Paulo Mariano (University of Warwick)

Phonetic transfer during language contact: The mid-vowels of Occitan-French bilinguals
Date: 22 February 2017
Speaker: Damien Mooney (University of Bristol)

Seminar series 2015-16

“Sounds Bristolian”: Generational shifts and geographical diffusion
Date: 21 October 2015
Speaker: Kate Beeching/Emily Robinson/James Murphy/Richard Coates (UWE Bristol)

Refusals to apologise and using apologies to refuse
Date: 28 October 2015
Speaker: James Murphy (UWE Bristol)

Contact in Papapana
Date: 11 November 2015
Speaker: Ellen Smith (University College London)

William Gladstone as Linguist
Date: 18 November 2015
Speaker: Geoffrey Sampson (University of Sussex)

Seminar series 2014-15

Geography, Literature, Onomastics: The rural and suburban history of Sunnyside
Date: 15 October 2014
Speaker: Laura Wright (University of Cambridge)

West Midlands English dialect revealed by tax returns
Date: 22 October 2014
Speaker: Harry Parkin (UWE Bristol)

Variation in lower-class writing: 19th century patient letters from southern Germany
Date: 5 November 2014
Speaker: Markus Schiegg (University of Bristol)

Some more aspects of the Pragmatic Theory of Properhood
Date: 12 November 2014
Speaker: Richard Coates (UWE Bristol)

Analysing the accounts of people affected by dementia
Date: 28 January 2015
Speaker: Rik Cheston (UWE Bristol)

Political apologies in non-monologic settings
Date: 4 February 2015
Speaker: James Murphy (UWE Bristol)

Speech therapy and child language development
Date: 11 February 2015
Speaker: Sue Roulstone (UWE Bristol)

Patterns of thanking in UK service calls
Date: 25 February 2015
Speaker: Maj-Britt Mosegaard-Hansen (University of Manchester)

Formulaic language, language processing and interpersonal communication
Date: 4 March 2015
Speaker: Alison Wray (University of Cardiff)

Grammar checking in English and Spanish
Date: 11 March 2015
Speaker: Rubén Chacón-Beltrán (University of Madrid)

The Spoken British National Corpus 2014 Project
Date: 25 March 2015
Speaker: Tony McEnery (Lancaster University)

Seminar series 2013-14

European language policy: A legal perspective
Date: 16 October 2013
Speaker: Vit Dovalil (Prague and Freiburg)

Metaphor in psychotherapy: Implications for utterance interpretation
Date: 13 November 2013
Speaker: Isabelle Needham-Didsbury (University College London)

Caveats for contact linguistics from Cappadocian Greek
Date: 4 December 2013
Speaker: Petros Karatsareas (UWE Bristol)

'Making sculptures out of smoke': Using narrative and creative writing to develop students' reflexivity
Date: 11 December 2013
Speaker: Catherine Rosenberg (UWE Bristol)

The role of Anglo-Norman in the history of English: shift-induced contact influence?
Date: 5 February 2014
Speaker: Richard Ingham (Birmingham City)

Where are the limits of the name? Some remaining issues with The Pragmatic Theory of Properhood
Date: 5 March 2014
Speaker: Richard Coates (UWE Bristol)

Creole in local newspapers
Date: 19 March 2014
Speaker: Julie Blake (University of Bristol)

Metaphor, agency and chronic pain
Date: 26 March 2014
Speaker: Jonathan Charteris-Black (UWE Bristol) – Abstract (PDF)

Past conferences

iMean7 (2024)

Organised by the Bristol Centre for Linguistics (BCL), iMean7 took place over three days from 19 June to 21 June 2024 at UWE Bristol with its original broad theme of ‘Meaning in social interaction’ with a particular focus on Language and Inclusion. The invited plenary speakers were:

iMean 6 (2019)

The iMean 6 conference was held at Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) between 15 to 17 April 2019. View the iMean 6 brochure (PDF) to find out more about the 'weaving' theme, speakers, activities, timeline, and venue. Read about the 2019 iMean 6 conference.

iMean 5 (2017)

The iMean 5 conference was held from 6 to 8 April 2017 at UWE Bristol's Exhibition and Conference Centre (ECC). This conference maintained its traditional focus on meaning in social interaction, with a thematic orientation to language and change.

Invited plenary speakers were:

  • Gisle Andersen, NHH Norwegian School of Economics
  • Christine Béal, Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3
  • Jenny Cheshire, Queen Mary, University of London
  • Michael Haugh, University of Queensland
  • Barbara Johnstone, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Zuraidah Mohd Don, University of Malaya

We considered changes at the linguistic level but also how changes at a societal level affect linguistic usage and our conceptions and analysis of it. Our increasingly interconnected and fast-moving world has led to an upsurge in mobility and to the possibility of greater variation and change in language use. The linguistically diverse nature of contemporary societies has implications for social justice, with potentially differential access to the public sphere.

Different contexts of use and new media may also bring new styles and manners of expression. As society changes, so must our conceptual and epistemological models and old questions and concepts require new approaches and angles.

i-Mean 4 (2015)

i-Mean 4 was held at the University of Warwick between 9 April - 11 April 2015. The conference addressed the relationship between 'Language and Impact'. Further details can be found via the University of Warwick conference page.

i-Mean 3

The conference aimed to explore whether and to what extent bringing together different methodological and theoretical approaches can:

  • Enhance understanding of identity attribution in interaction.
  • Lead to theoretically robust methodological innovation.

Exploring how speakers use language to claim an identity has been explored but also challenged in the various traditions (ranging from mainstream sociolinguistic theory to linguistic anthropology). In the broadly defined field of sociolinguistics, there are many conceptualisations of 'identity'. Through language, we actively construct and negotiate our self and social identities. It is through language that we index, directly and indirectly, who we are, how we wish to be perceived and where we (want to) belong. We see identity as (not exclusively but to a large extent) a linguistic phenomenon, dynamic and constantly evolving.

i-Mean 2 (2011)

The conference addressed the relationship between context and meaning, how context may be defined, how meaning is interpreted in context, how speakers create and negotiate context in interaction, and how context is dealt with in different research traditions. We seek to explore ways in which researchers can fruitfully work across methodological and disciplinary boundaries. Particularly in the (broadly defined) field of discourse analysis, there are widely recognised approaches which are often associated with specific methodological tools.

The conference aimed to explore whether and to what extent bringing together different methodological and theoretical approaches can:

  • Enhance understanding of meaning in interaction.
  • Capture the contextual information which speakers draw upon dynamically in interaction.
  • Lead to theoretically robust methodological innovation.

Papers were invited from researchers working across different linguistic fields and traditions, focusing on any aspect of meaning and context.

i-Mean 1 (2009)

The conference aimed to disseminate cutting edge, multi-disciplinary research in the area of meaning in interaction. It was unique in bringing together scholars working on meaning in interaction and others working on the impact of interaction on language structure. The two constituencies share an interest in the manner in which meaning is co-constructed and negotiated between interactants, thus leading to a form/function reconfiguration. The complexities of the interpretation of meaning can be more acute in intercultural encounters.

The conference thus extended its scope to include the relatively new sub-discipline of intercultural pragmatics. It was timely in reflecting a rising interest across a number of fields in issues in interpreting meaning. The conference hosted two colloquia on Workplace Discourse and Meaning in Diachrony.

Download and view the conference proceedings (PDF).

Keynote speakers:

  • Professor Janet Holmes (Victoria University of Wellington, NZ)
  • Professor Elizabeth Traugott (Stanford University, USA)
  • Dr Helen Spencer-Oatey (University of Warwick)
  • Dr Véronique Traverso (Université de Lyon)

i-Mean 1 was supported by:

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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