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Dr Laura Paterson

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Professional biography

Laura L. Paterson Senior Lecturer in English Language and Applied Linguistics

BA (Hons) English and Linguistics, University of Leeds 2007; MA Linguistics, University of Leeds 2008; PhD, Loughborough University 2011; FHEA, University of Leeds 2013

I am a corpus-based sociolinguist and critical discourse analyst interested in how language is used to encode and normalise social structures. My first book, British Pronoun Use, Prescription and Processing (Palgrave 2014), focused on the use of epicene (gender-neutral) pronouns in written British English and included a new theory which aims to account for why the formally-plural pronoun they can be processed as a singular form in the brain. Most recently I have published the book Representations of Poverty and Place: Using Geographical Text Analysis to Understand Discourse (co-authored with Gregory, Palgrave 2019). I have also collaborated on four multi-institution research projects including an analysis of the associations of language and class on the Channel 4 programme Benefits Street (Paterson et al. 2016, 2017, van der Bom et al. 2018), an investigation of media representations of the Occupy movement (Gregoriou and Paterson 2017), and a study of (non)dominant readings of the lyrics and music video of the song Blurred Lines (Handforth et al. 2017). As a core member of the Discourses of Marriage Research Group I have also analysed same-sex marriage debates in the UK (van der Bom et al. 2015, Jones et al. 2017, Turner et al. 2018, Paterson & Coffey-Glover 2018) and organised a two-day seminar on this topic in 2017 joint funded by the British Association of Applied Linguists and Cambridge University Press. I am also editor of the Journal of Language and Discrimination.

Research interests

Selected Publications

Paterson, L.L. In press. Mapping austerity: Geographical Text Analysis of UK place-names in the Guardian and the Telegraph. In T. Greibel, S. Evert, and P. Heinrich (eds). Texts and Images of Austerity in Britain. Corpus-Assisted Analyses. London: Routledge.

Paterson, L.L. 2020. Non-sexist language policy and the rise (and fall?) of combined pronouns in British and American written English. Journal of English Linguistics (special issue) 48(3): 258-281.

Paterson, L.L. 2020. Electronic supplement analysis of multiple texts: Exploring discourses of UK poverty in below the line comments. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 25(1): 62-88.

van der Bom, I. & L.L. Paterson. 2020. Revisiting the Welfare State Through the Decades: An Examination of the Welfare State in The Times newspaper from 1940-2009. In E.M. Gomez-Jimenez & M. Toolan (eds). The Discursive Construction of Inequality in the British Media: CADS Approaches. London: Bloomsbury. pp 49–68.

Gregory, I. & L.L. Paterson. 2020. English Language and Spatial Humanities: Representations of poverty in Historical Newspapers. In S. Adolphs and D. Knight (eds). The Routledge Handbook of English Language and Digital Humanities. London: Routledge. pp 418-439.

Paterson, L.L. & G. Turner. 2020. Introduction: Approaches to Discourses of Marriage. Critical Discourse Studies (special issue) 17(2): 133-137.

Paterson, L.L. & I. Gregory. 2019. Represenations of Poverty and Place: Using Geographical Text Analysis to understand Discourse. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Paterson, L.L. & L. Coffey-Glover. 2018. Discourses of marriage across same-sex marriage debates in the UK press 2011-2014. Journal of Language and Sexuality 7(2): 175-204.

Paterson, L.L. 2018. “You can just give those documents to myself’: Untriggered reflexive pronouns in 21st century spoken British English. In V. Brezina, R. Love & K. Aijmer. 2018. Sociolinguistic Variation in Contemporary British English: Exploration of the Spoken BNC2014. New York: Routledge. pp 235-255.

van der Bom, I., L.L. Paterson, K. Grainger & D. Peplow. 2018. ‘It’s not the fact that they claim benefits but their useless, lazy, drug taking lifestyles we despise’: Analysing audience responses to #BenefitsStreet using live tweets. Discourse, Context & Media 21: 36-45.

Turner, G., S. Mills, I. van der Bom, L. Coffey-Glover, L.L. Paterson & L. Jones. 2017. Opposition as victimhood in media debates about same-sex marriage. Discourse & Society 29(2): 180-197.

Paterson, L.L., D. Peplow & K. Grainger. 2017. Does money talk equal class talk? Audience responses to poverty porn in relation to money and debt. In A. Mooney & E. Sifaki (eds). The Language of Money and Debt: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Basingstoke: Palgrave. pp 205-232.

Gregoriou, C. & L.L. Paterson. 2017. “Reservoir of rage swamps Wall St”: The linguistic construction and evaluation of Occupy in international print media. Journal of Language, Aggression and Conflict 5(1): 57-80.

Jones, L., S. Mills, L.L. Paterson, G. Turner & L. Coffey-Glover. 2017. Identity and naming practices in marriage and civil partnerships. Gender & Language.

Handforth, R., L.L. Paterson, L. Coffey-Glover & S. Mills. 2017. Reading between Blurred Lines: The complexity of interpretation. Discourse, Context & Media 20: 103-115.

Paterson, L.L., L. Coffey-Glover & D. Peplow. 2016. Negotiating stance within discourses of class: Reactions to Benefits Street. Discourse & Society 27(2): 195-214.

van der Bom, I., L. Coffey-Glover, L. Jones, S. Mills & L.L. Paterson. 2015. Implicit homophobic argument structure: Equal marriage discourse in the Moral Maze. Journal of Language and Sexuality 4(1): 102-137.

Paterson, L.L. 2014. British Pronoun Use, Prescription, and Processing: Linguistic and Social Influences Affecting he and they. London: Palgrave.

Paterson, L.L. 2011. Book Review: The Bishop’s Grammar: Robert Lowth and the Rise of Prescriptivism. Linguist list [linguistlist.org/issues/22/22-2940.html].

Paterson, L.L. 2011. Epicene pronouns in UK national newspapers: A diachronic study. ICAME 36: 171-186.

Paterson, L.L. 2010. Grammar and the English National Curriculum. Language and Education 24(6): 473-484.

Teaching interests

I currently teach on the MA Applied Linguistics pathway and am Module Team Chair of EE817 (Applied Linguistics and English Language) and EE818 (Language, Literacy and Learning). 

I would be interested in supervising postgraduate students in the following areas:

  • Corpus Linguistics
  • Critical Discourse Analysis
  • Representations of marginalised groups
  • UK poverty
  • Language, Gender, and Identity
  • Linguistic discrimination

Impact and engagement

Discourse and the media. 2018. Presented at the public seminar series Critical discourse and resistance: How language promotes inequality, Serenity Café, Edinburgh, 18 May 2018.

Paterson, L.L. & G. Turner. 2018. BAAL/Cambridge University Press Seminar: Discourses of Marriage. BAAL News 112: 18-19.

Jones, L. & L.L. Paterson. 2016. Surname strategies: The results! Discourses of Marriage Blog. Available at: http://discoursesofmarriage.blogspot.com/2016/02/surname-strategies-results.html. 

Paterson, LL. 2015. Implied sexism in UK Deed Pool procedures. Discourses of Marriage Blog. Available at: http://discoursesofmarriage.blogspot.com/2015/04/implied-sexism-in-uk-deed-poll.html.

Newcastle Noir Festival. 2015. Presented workshops on stylistics and crime fiction for budding crime authors alongside C. Gregoriou.

Paterson, L.L. 2015. Does it matter what pronoun you use? ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) blog. Available at: http://cass.lancs.ac.uk/does-it-matter-what-pronoun-you-use/.

Harding, E. 2015. To boldly use ‘they’ instead of ‘he’ with a singular antecedent. TCANZ Blog. Online. Available at: http://blog.tcanz.org.nz/to-boldly-use-they-instead-of-he-with-a-singular-antecedent/. 

Saner, E. 2014. RBS: The bank that likes to say Mx. Guardian 17 November 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2014/nov/17/rbs-bank-that-likes-to-say-mx. Quoted as expert on gender-neutral pronouns. 

 

Publications

Approaches to discourses of marriage (2020)
Paterson, Laura L. and Turner, Georgina
Critical Discourse Studies, 17(2) (pp. 133-137)


Non-sexist Language Policy and the Rise (and Fall?) of Combined Pronouns in British and American Written English (2020)
Paterson, Laura L.
Journal of English Linguistics ((Early access))


[Book Review] Feeling Academic in the Neoliberal University: Feminist Flights, Fights, and Failures edited by Yvette Taylor and Kinneret Lahad (2018) Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 368pp (2019)
Paterson, Laura L
Gender and Language, 13(3) (pp. 1-6)


Electronic supplement analysis of multiple texts: Exploring discourses of UK poverty in Below the Line comments (2019)
Paterson, Laura L.
International Journal of Corpus Linguistics ((In Press))


Discourses of marriage in same-sex marriage debates in the UK press 2011-2014 (2018-10-31)
Paterson, Laura L. and Coffey-Glover, Laura
Journal of Language and Sexuality, 7(2) (pp. 175-204)


‘It’s not the fact they claim benefits but their useless, lazy, drug taking lifestyles we despise’: Analysing audience responses to Benefits Street using live tweets (2018-03-31)
van der Bom, Isabelle; Paterson, Laura L; Peplow, David and Grainger, Karen
Discourse, Context & Media, 21 (pp. 36-45)


Opposition as victimhood in newspaper debates about same-sex marriage (2018-03-01)
Turner, Georgina; Mills, Sara; van der Bom, Isabelle; Coffey-Glover, Laura; Paterson, Laura L and Jones, Lucy
Discourse and Society, 29(2) (pp. 180-197)


Reading between Blurred Lines: The complexity of interpretation (2017-12)
Handforth, Rachel; Paterson, Laura L.; Coffey-Glover, Laura and Mills, Sara
Discourse, Context & Media, 20 (pp. 103-115)


“Reservoir of rage swamps Wall St” The linguistic construction and evaluation of Occupy in international print media (2017-08)
Gregoriou, Christiana and Paterson, Laura L.
Journal of Language, Aggression and Conflict, 5(1) (pp. 57-80)


Identity and naming practices in British marriage and civil partnerships (2017)
Jones, Lucy; Mills, Sara; Paterson, Laura L.; Turner, Georgina and Coffey-Glover, Laura
Gender and Language, 11(3) (pp. 309-335)


Negotiating stance within discourses of class: Reactions to Benefits Street (2016-03-01)
Paterson, Laura L.; Coffey-Glover, Laura and Peplow, David
Discourse & Society, 27(2) (pp. 195-214)


Implicit homophobic argument structure: Equal-marriage discourse in The Moral Maze (2015-01-31)
van der Bom, Isabelle; Coffey-Glover, Laura; Jones, Lucy; Mills, Sara and Paterson, Laura L.
Journal of Language and Sexuality, 4(1) (pp. 102-137)


Representations of Poverty and Place: Using Geographical Text Analysis to Understand Discourse. (2018-11-26)
Paterson, Laura L. and Gregory, Ian N.
ISBN : 978-3-319-93503-4 | Publisher : Palgrave | Published : Basingstoke


British Pronoun Use, Prescription, and Processing: Linguistic and Social Influences Affecting 'They' and 'He' (2014-07-25)
Paterson, Laura L
ISBN : 9781137332738 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan


Revisiting the Welfare State Through the Decades: An Examination of the Welfare State in The Times newspaper from 1940-2009. (2020-07-23)
van der Bom, Isabelle and Paterson, Laura L
In: Gomez-Jimenez, Eva M. and Toolan, Michael eds. The Discursive Construction of Inequality in the British Media: CADS Approaches. (pp. 49-68)
Publisher : Bloomsbury


Mapping Austerity: Geographical Text Analysis of UK Place-Names in The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph (2020)
Paterson, Laura L.
In: Greibel, T.; Evert, S. and Heinrich, P. eds. Texts and Images of Austerity in Britain. Corpus-Assisted Analyses. ((In Press))
Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon


English Language and History: Geographical Representations of Poverty in Historical Newspapers. (2019-07)
Gregory, Ian N and Paterson, Laura L
In: Adolphs, Svenja and Knight, Dawn eds. The Routledge Handbook of English Language and Digital Humanities.. Routledge Handbook in English Language Studies ((In press))
ISBN : 9781138901766 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London


“You can just give those documents to myself’: Untriggered reflexive pronouns in 21st century spoken British English (2018-05-01)
Paterson, Laura
In: Brezina, Vaclav; Love, Robbie and Aijmer, Karin eds. Corpus Approaches to Contemporary British Speech. Sociolinguistic Studies of the Spoken (BNC2014)
ISBN : 9781138287273 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon


Does Money Talk Equate to Class Talk? Audience Responses to Poverty Porn in Relation to Money and Debt (2017-07-01)
Paterson, Laura L.; Peplow, David and Grainger, Karen
In: Mooney, Annabelle and Sifaki, Evi eds. The Language of Money and Debt: A Multidisciplinary Approach (pp. 205-231)
ISBN : 978-3-319-57568-1 | Publisher : Palgrave