Skip to content

Faculty of Education and Language Studies > People Profiles > Lynne Cameron

Lynne Cameron

Professor (Applied Linguistics)

The Open University Faculty of Education and Language Studies Centre for Language and Communication


As an applied linguist, I work with language in use. My research investigates how people use metaphor in discourse activity.

Research Interests

From 2009-2012 an ESRC Global Uncertainties Research Fellow, with a project entitled "Living with Uncertainty: Metaphor and the dynamics of empathy".

Research projects:

I began researching metaphor in classroom discourse and then examined post-conflict reconciliation meetings. From these empirical studies, a methodology for metaphor analysis has been developed, funded through the ESRC’S National Centre for Research Methods and contributed to by active researchers in the field. The Metaphor Analysis website listed above offers students and scholars an illustrated procedure for working with metaphor in talk or text.

Metaphor analysis was employed in the ESRC project "Perception and Communication of Terrorist Risk" (2005-07). Funded under the New Security Challenges programme, and based at University of Leeds, this project investigated how people think about terrorist risk and its impact on their lives.

Current project

A dynamic model of empathy is being developed through investigation into how people speak of 'the Other'. Metaphor analysis is being further developed as a tool for social science research that can reveal something of people's ideas, attitudes and values. With collaborators in Brazil, USA and the UK, I am finding out how living with the uncertainties created by urban violence, terrorism, and increased migration can affect social empathy.


Authored Book
Cameron, Lynne (2011). Metaphor and Reconciliation: The Discourse Dynamics of Empathy in Post-Conflict Conversations. Routledge Studies in Linguistics. New York, USA: Routledge.
Larsen-Freeman, Diane and Cameron, Lynne (2008). Complex Systems and Applied Linguistics. Oxford Applied Linguistics. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Cameron, Lynne (2003). Metaphor in educational discourse. Advances in Applied Linguistics. London, UK: Continuum.
Cameron, Lynne (2001). Teaching languages to young learners. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Book Chapter
Cameron, Lynne (2011). Metaphor in spoken discourse. In: Gee, James Paul and Handford, Michael eds. The Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis. London: Routledge, pp. 342–355.
Cameron, Lynne (2011). Metaphor in prosaic and poetic creativity. In: Swann, Joan; Pope, Robert and Carter, Ronald eds. Creativity in Language and Literature: The State of the Art. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 68–82.
Cameron, Lynne (2010). Metaphor in physical-and-speech action expressions. In: Low, Graham; Todd, Zazie; Deignan, Alice and Cameron, Lynne eds. Researching and Applying Metaphor in the Real World. Human Cognitive Processing (26). Amsterdam, Netherlands: John Benjamin, pp. 333–356.
Cameron, Lynne (2008). Metaphor and talk. In: Gibbs, Raymond ed. The Cambridge Handbook of Metaphor and Thought. Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 197–211.
Cameron, Lynne (2008). Metaphor shifting in the dynamics of talk. In: Zanotto, Mara Sophia; Cameron, Lynne and Cavalcanti, Marilda C. eds. Confronting metaphor in use: An applied linguistic approach. Pragmatics & Beyond. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 45–62.
Cameron, Lynne (2008). A discourse approach to metaphor: explaining systematic metaphors for literacy processes in a school discourse community. In: Tyler, Andrea; Yiyoung, Kim and Takada, Mari eds. Language in the Context of Use: Usage-based Approaches to Language and Language Learning. Cognitive Linguistics Research (37). New York, USA: De Gruyter Mouton, pp. 321–339.
Cameron, Lynne (2008). Metaphor in the construction of a learning environment. In: Berendt, Eric ed. Metaphors for Learning. Human Cognitive Processing (22). Amsterdam: John Benjamin, pp. 159–176.
Journal Article
Cameron, Lynne ; Pelosi, Ana and Moraes Felta, Heloisa Pedroso de (2014). Metaphorizing violence in the UK and Brazil: a contrastive discourse dynamics study. Metaphor and Symbol, 29(1), pp. 23–43.
Seu, Irene Bruna and Cameron, Lynne (2013). Empathic mutual positioning in conflict transformation and reconciliation. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 19(3), pp. 266–280.
Cameron, Lynne ; Maslen, Robert and Todd, Zazie (2013). The dialogic construction of self and other in response to terrorism. Peace and Conflict, 19(1), pp. 3–22.
Cameron, Lynne and Seu, Irene Bruna (2012). Landscapes of empathy: spatial scenarios, metaphors and metonymies in responses to distant suffering. Text & Talk, 32(3), pp. 281–305.
Cameron, Lynne ; Maslen, Robert; Todd, Zazie; Maule, John; Stratton, Peter and Stanley, Neil (2009). The discourse dynamics approach to metaphor and metaphor-led discourse analysis. Metaphor and Symbol, 24(2), pp. 63–89.
Gibbs, Raymond W. and Cameron, Lynne (2008). The social cognitive dynamics of metaphor performance. Cognitive Systems Research, 9(1-2), pp. 64–75.
Larsen-Freeman, Diane and Cameron, Lynne (2008). Research methodology on language development from a complex systems perspective. Modern Language Journal, 92(2), pp. 200–213.
Cameron, Lynne and Larsen-Freeman, Diane (2007). Complex systems and applied linguistics. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 17(2), pp. 226–239.
Cameron, Lynne J. (2007). Patterns of metaphor use in reconciliation talk. Discourse and Society, 18(2), pp. 197–222.
Cameron, Lynne (2007). Confrontation or complementarity?: Metaphor in language use and cognitive metaphor theory. Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics, 5(1), pp. 107–135.
Stelma, Juurd H. and Cameron, Lynne J. (2007). Intonation units in spoken interaction: Developing transcription skills. Text and Talk, 27(3), pp. 361–393.
Crisp, Peter; Gibbs, Raymond; Deignan, Alice; Low, Graham; Steen, Gerard; Cameron, Lynne ; Semino, Elena; Grady, Joe; Cienki, Alan; Kφvecses, Zoltan and The Pragglejaz Group (2007). MIP: A method for identifying metaphorically used words in discourse. Metaphor and Symbol, 22(1), pp. 1–39.
Cameron, Lynne and Deignan, Alice (2006). The emergence of metaphor in discourse. Applied Linguistics, 27(4), pp. 671–690.
Cameron, Lynne and Low, Graham (2004). Figurative variation in episodes of educational talk and text. European Journal of English Studies, 8(3), pp. 355–373.
Cameron, Lynne and Stelma, Juup (2004). Metaphor clusters in discourse. Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(2), pp. 107–136.
Cameron, Lynne and Deignan, Alice (2003). Combining large and small corpora to investigate tuning devices around metaphor in spoken discourse. Metaphor and Symbol, 18(3), pp. 149–160.
Cameron, Lynne (2002). Metaphors in the learning of science: A discourse focus. British Educational Research Journal, 28(5), pp. 673–688.
Cameron, Lynne (2002). Measuring vocabulary size in English as an additional language. Language Teaching Research, 6(2), pp. 145–173.
Low, Graham and Cameron, Lynne (2002). Metaphor identification: an applied linguistics perspective. Language and Literature, 11(1), pp. 84–90.
Cameron, Lynne and Besser, Sharon (2004). Writing in English as an Additional Language at Key Stage 2. DfES Publications, Nottingham, UK.