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Dr Olivia Knapton

Lecturer in Linguistics
Programme Director, BA English Language and Linguistics 

Olivia Knapton

Centre for Language, Discourse and Communication

Contact information:

Tel: +44(0)20 7848 7987


About me

I am a Lecturer in Linguistics who specialises in qualitative discourse analysis within the field of health. I currently teach on a range of linguistics and discourse modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.


PhD Language, Discourse and Communication, King’s College London

MA Special Applications of Linguistics, University of Birmingham

BA English and French Studies, University of Nottingham

CELTA, Oxford House College


I joined the School of Education, Communication and Society as a Lecturer in Linguistics in September 2016. Prior to that, I was a lecturer at the University of Birmingham (2014-2016). I have previously worked at King’s College London as a Research Assistant (2008-2010).


I currently teach on the following programmes:

  • BA English Language and Linguistics
  • MA ELT & Applied Linguistics

I am Programme Director of the BA English Language and Linguistics.

Postgraduate supervision

I am always looking for new PhD projects to supervise.  I like to combine different methods and different forms of data (both spoken and written).  I am particularly interested in the following areas:

  • Discourse analysis that includes approaches from Cognitive Linguistics
  • Discourse analysis in the field of health (e.g. illness narratives, media analysis, public health communication)
  • Critical Discourse Analysis


My research falls in to two areas of health and discourse.  Firstly, I research the relationship between discourse structures found in health advice and public compliance to that advice, public perceptions of health threats, and public use of the media for health information. A large part of this research investigates how the discourses of disease in the media relate to the discourses used by local communities.  Secondly, I research how people with mental health problems structure their experiences through various cognitive conceptualisations. For example, I have used discourse analysis to investigate the ways in which subjective experiences of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anorexia are structured by image schematic and metaphorical patterns.  Cutting across my research are discourses of anxiety about health, illness and contamination that continually overlap with issues of gender and women’s experiences of their bodies. 

In terms of approach, I explore ways in which to combine meaning from stable, cognitive conceptualisations with meaning from contextually-situated discourse production.


Please see my research portal staff page for my publications:

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