I have lectured in the areas of linguistics, sociolinguistics and discourse analysis at Sheffield Hallam University since 1990. I research language use and interaction in institutional, intercultural and electronic contexts. I have published in the area of health care, the negotiation of meaning in intercultural settings and the debate around 'deprived' children's language skills. I am Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Politeness Research and have recently published a book on indirectness (with Sara Mills).
In my teaching career, I have been Course Leader for several degrees: BA Communication Studies (2008-11), BA Women's (BA Women's Studies (1996-7), and MA Communication and Media (2003-8). I was instrumental in revalidating the MA Communication and MA Media degrees so that they became one course and more efficiently delivered. I also took a lead in developing BA English Language which has been a very successful initiative, currently recruiting over 50 students a year. I have taught a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules, many of which are informed by my research specialisms. I was nominated for the Sheffield Hallam University Inspirational Teacher Award in 2013/14. I have received excellent student feedback for my modules, particularly Multicultural Britain, Communication at Work and Language in Social Context. I was Programme Leader for the English degrees at Sheffield Hallam University between 2012 and 2015. I then became the departmental lead on student experience matters.
In terms of research, I have an international reputation in politeness theory due to editorship of theJournal of Politeness Research and the publication of a number of research articles and conference papers which develop theory in the field.
I have also made significant contributions to the field of interactional sociolinguistics in terms of methods of data analysis and data collection, particularly in the areas of institutional talk (nurses and elderly patients) and intercultural communication.
Recent forays into Educational sociolinguistics have helped to re-ignite a debate about non- standard language use that raises the profile of Sociolinguistics and its relevance to real-life issues.
I have successfully supervised a number of PhDs and am happy to continue to supervise projects in the areas of politeness, interactional sociolinguistics and educational sociolinguistics.
Politeness Theory; institutional interaction; interactional sociolinguistics; educational sociolinguistics; intercultural communication.
Department of Humanities
Development and Society
The pragmatics of Zimbabwean English; the discourse of elderly care; indirectness across cultures; language deficit revisited; the pathologisation of non-standard language.
BA English Language; MA by Research
Language in Social Context; Multicultural and Intercultural Communication; Politeness; Dissertation
- Humanities Research Centre
The discourse of language deficit.
Language and social class: Benefits Street. Courtroom politeness: the Penelope Soto case.
'Language, Education and Disadvantage: a response to the deficit model of children's language competence' Report of the BAAL/CUP Seminar, April 2011.
Linguistic Politeness Research Group
VAN DER BOM, Isabelle, GRAINGER, Karen, PATERSON, Laura and PEPLOW, David (2018). ‘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. Discourse, Context, & Media, 21, 36-45.
GRAINGER, Karen (2018). “We’re not in a club now”: a neo-Brown and Levinson approach to analyzing courtroom data. Journal of Politeness Research, 14 (1), 19-38.
PATERSON, Laura, GRAINGER, Karen and PEPLOW, David (2017). Does money talk equate to class talk? Audience responses to poverty porn in relation to money and debt. In: MOONEY, Annabelle and SIFAKI, Evi, (eds.) The Language of Money and Debt : a Multidisciplinary Approach. Palgrave Macmillan, 205-231.
GRAINGER, Karen (2013). Of babies and bath water: Is there any place for Austin and Grice in interpersonal pragmatics? Journal of Pragmatics, 58, 27-38.
GRAINGER, Karen (2013). "The daily grunt": middle class bias and vested interests in the 'Getting in Early' and 'Why Can't They Read?' reports. Language and Education, 27 (2), 99-109.
GRAINGER, Karen (2011). 'First order' and 'second order' politeness: institutional and intercultural contexts. In: Discursive approaches to politeness. Mouton Series in Pragmatics (8). Berlin, De Gruyter Moulton, 167-188.
BATES, Christopher, DOHERTY, Kathy and GRAINGER, Karen (2011). Understanding Programmers Through Discourse Analysis. In: RAISE 2011, University Central Lanacashire, Preston, UK, June 9th 2011.
GRAINGER, Karen (2011). "The Daily Grunt":The resurgence of the deficit model of language competence in children. In: Language, Education and Disadvantage, Sheffield Hallam University, 19th-20th April 2011. (Unpublished)
BATES, Christopher, DOHERTY, Kathy and GRAINGER, Karen (2011). Facework in a pair-programming session. In: Psychology of Programming Interest Group Work in Progress, Sheffield Hallam University, April 18-19, 2011. (Unpublished)
MCSEVENY, Kerry, GRAINGER, Karen and DOHERTY, Kathy (2010). I'm sooooo chuffed : face management in reports of success on an online weight loss message board. In: Fifth International Symposium on Politeness, University of Basel, 30 June-2 July 2010. (Unpublished)
GRAINGER, K. (2010). Indirectness in Zimbabwean English : a study of intercultural communication in the UK. In: BARGIELA-CHIAPPINI, F. and KADAR, D. Z., (eds.) Politeness across cultures. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 171-193.
MCSEVENY, Kerry, DOHERTY, Kathy and GRAINGER, Karen (2009). "I was in the same boat" : advicegiving and solidarity in an online weight loss community. In: 1st Autumn Conference of Interpersonal Communication and Social Interaction Section of ECREA, Tampere, Finland, 21-23 October, 2009. (Unpublished)
MCSEVENY, Kerry, DOHERTY, Kathy and GRAINGER, Karen (2009). Laugh out loud : humour, confession and identity management in an online weight loss support group. In: Laughter and Humour in Interaction Conference, University of Huddersfield, 24-25 June, 2009. (Unpublished)
GRAINGER, Karen, MILLS, Sara and SIBANDA, Mandla (2008). The Southern African concept of ‘face’ and its relevance to intercultural interaction. In: 4th International Symposium on Politeness, Budapest, 2-4 July, 2008. (Unpublished)
GRAINGER, Karen, JENNINGS, M. and MASTERSON, S. (2005). ‘Things aren't the same, are they?’: the management of bad news delivery in the discourse of stroke care. Communication and medicine, 2 (1), 35-44.
GRAINGER, Karen (2004). Verbal play on the hospital ward: solidarity or power? Multilingua: journal of cross-cultural and interlanguage communication, 23 (1-2), 39-59.
MAKONI, S. and GRAINGER, Karen (2002). Comparative gerontolinguistics: characterizing discourses in caring institutions in South Africa and United Kingdom. Journal of social issues, 58.
Grainger, K. and Harris, S. (2007) Introduction: Special Issue on Apologies, Journal of Politeness Research, 3, 1.
Grainger, K. (2002) 'Politeness or impoliteness: Verbal play on the hospital ward'
Working Papers on the Web, Sheffield Hallam University.
Grainger, K. (1998) 'Reality orientation in institutions for the elderly: the perspective from Interactional Sociolinguistics'. Journal of Aging Studies, 12, 1, 39-56.
Grainger, K. (1993) ‘“That’s a lovely bath dear”: Reality construction in the discourse of elderly care’. Journal of Aging Studies, 7, 3, 247-62.
Grainger, K. (1990) 'Care and control: Interaction management in nursing the elderly', in Selected Proceedings of the BAAL Annual Meeting, 1989, London: CILT
Coupland J., Coupland N. and Grainger K. (1991), 'Intergenerational discourse: Contextual 'versions' of ageing and elderliness' in Ageing and Society, Grainger, K (2004) 'Communication and the institutionalised elderly'. In J Nussbaum and J Coupland (eds) Handbook of Communication and Aging Research (second edition). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Grainger, K. (1995) 'Communication and the institutionalised elderly'. In J. Nussbaum and J. Coupland (eds) Handbook of Communication and Aging Research. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Grainger K., Atkinson K. and Coupland N. (1990) 'Responding to the elderly: Troubles talk in the caring context', in H Giles, N Coupland and J Wiemann, Communication, Health and the Elderly, Fullbright Papers 8, Manchester University Press, Manchester. 11, 189-208.
Editor-in-chief Journal of Politeness Research
Member of editorial board for Discourse, Context and Media
External Examiner, Loughborough University English Programme
'Offers and refusals of hospitality in Libyan Arabic'
Student Writing' (1998)
'Interaction on a Weight Loss Message Board' (2010) 'CMC on Japanese Message Boards' (2008)
'How Software Engineers Use Talk' (2014) 'Indirectness in Libyan Arabic speakers'.2015
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