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Cambridge Language Sciences

Interdisciplinary Research Centre


My expertise is in using corpus linguistics and other methods to analyse language in use, particularly issues of politeness and impoliteness (including speech acts such as insults, threats, and thanking), and how speakers conceptualise notions of politeness, impoliteness, and social behaviour more generally. I'm especially interested in how talk about behaviour can be used to control behaviour, and how talk about language can be used to control language use.

My academic interests have crossed the domains of (im)politeness, (meta)pragmatics, corpus linguistics, discourse studies, metaphor analysis, interjections, historical linguistics, stylistics, and - more recently - second language acquisition, language testing, and pedagogy in the context of TESOL.


Key publications: 

Oliver, S.J. (2022). A corpus-based approach to (im)politeness metalanguage: A case study on Shakespeare's plays. Journal of Pragmatics, 199: 6-20.

Culpeper, J., Oliver, S.J., Tantucci, V. (2022). Politeness reciprocity in Shakespeare’s dialogue: the case of thanks. Journal of Historical Pragmatics, 22(2): 202-224.

Culpeper, J. & Oliver, S.J. (2020). Pragmatic noise in Shakespeare's plays. In: E. Jonsson & T. Larsson (eds.), Voices past and present - Studies of involved, speech-related and spoken texts: 12-29. Amsterdam : John Benjamins Publishing Company.

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What we do

Cambridge Language Sciences is an Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. Our virtual network connects researchers from five schools across the university as well as other world-leading research institutions. Our aim is to strengthen research collaborations and knowledge transfer across disciplines in order to address large-scale multi-disciplinary research challenges relating to language research.