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Dr Laura Paterson

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Lectureship English Language and Applied Linguistics
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies
  • School of Languages and Applied Linguistics
  • English Language and Applied Linguistics
  • laura.paterson

Professional biography

Laura L. Paterson 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 interested in how language is used to encode and normalise social structures. My first book, British Pronoun Use, Prescription, and Processing (Palgrave in 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. 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) and a study of dominant/non-dominant readings of the lyrics and music video of the song Blurred Lines. My other projects involve analysing discussions of same-sex marriage in the UK media, as part of The Discourses of Marriage Research Group, (van der Bom et al. 2015, Jones et al. 2017) and collaborative work on the Occupy movement (Gregoriou and Paterson 2017). Most recently, I have been preparing the co-authored monograph Poverty and Place: Geographical Text Analysis and CDA (coauthored with Gregory), which was part of the Discourses of Distressed Communities project in the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (Grant: ES/K002155/1). I am also editor and book reviews editor of the new Journal of Language and Discrimination

Research interests

Selected Publications

Paterson, L.L. & I. Gregory. Forthcoming. Poverty and Place: Geographical Text Analysis and CDA. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Turner, G., S. Mills, I. van der Bom, L. Coffey-Glover, L.L. Paterson & L. Jones. Accepted. Opposition as victimhood in media debates about same-sex marriage. Discourse & Society.

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.

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.

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

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 [].

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. 

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

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


Discourses of marriage in same-sex marriage debates in the UK press 2011-2014 (2018-10)
Paterson, Laura L. and Coffey-Glover, Laura
Journal of Language and Sexuality, 7(2) (pp. 175-204)
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)
‘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)
van der Bom, Isabelle; Paterson, Laura L.; Peplow, David and Grainger, Karen
Discourse, Context & Media, 21 (pp. 36-45)
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)
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
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