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Jonathan Culpeper

Chair professor in English Language and Linguistics, Lancaster University

Jonathan Culpeper is Professor and Head of the Department of English Language and Linguistics at Lancaster University, UK, where he has been based for more than 30 years.

Not content with just one academic hat, his research is split between the social sciences and the humanities. In the former, he focusses on the use of language in interaction (i.e. pragmatics), and especially the language of politeness and/or impoliteness. Notable books include Impoliteness: Using Language to Cause Offence (2011) and Pragmatics and the English Language (2014; with Michael Haugh). More recently, he produced The Palgrave Handbook of Linguistic (Im)politeness (2017; co-editor) and Second Language Pragmatics: From Theory to Research (2018; co-authored with Alison Mackey and Naoko Taguchi), a book which was a finalist for 2020’s AAAL Book Awards. In 2006, he was awarded a prestigious three-year ESRC UK Fellowship to study linguistic impoliteness. For five years was co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Pragmatics (2009-14), a leading journal in linguistics.

In the latter, he focuses on stylistics and the history of English, and especially the language of Shakespeare. Notable books include Language and Characterisation in Plays and Other Texts (2001) and Early Modern English Dialogues: Spoken Interaction as Writing (2010; co-authored with Merja Kytö). He is currently leading the £1 million AHRC-funded Encyclopaedia of Shakespeare's Language project, which will provide evidence-based and contextualised accounts of Shakespeare's language. A taste of what this project is doing can be found in the introductory MOOC course: Shakespeare's Language: Revealing Meanings and Exploring Myths.


  • –present
    Chair professor, Lancaster University