Dr Paul Cooper PhD

Lecturer in English Language English


Personal Statement

My research focuses on how regional dialect features are enregistered in English. Enregisterment is a process whereby a repertoire or set of language features becomes overtly linked with social values (see also Agha 2003, Johnstone et al. 2006). These social values can include class membership, regional origin, or personality traits such as ‘friendliness’.

Evidence for enregistered features can be seen in dialect writing (e.g. dialect poems, songs, or where dialect is represented in literature), as well as in metapragmatic discourse or ‘commentary’ on language in forums where language is discussed (newspapers, or online in social media posts on Twitter, for instance); or where dialect features are used on commodities such as dialect dictionaries or t-shirts. Further evidence of this kind can be gained from conducting interviews to elicit speakers’ knowledge of which language features are linked to what social values.

My current research looks at the enregisterment of Yorkshire dialect, both in historical contexts (via the study of nineteenth-century dialect writing) and today (via interviews with Yorkshire speakers, online surveys, and the study of modern dialect writing).

I am also interested in Liverpool English, a.k.a. Scouse, and the social values associated with this variety. Additionally, I am looking at how both of these varieties are evaluated and used as linguistic resources in educational contexts by younger speakers.

I am happy to supervise (and welcome applications from) postgraduate (MRes and PhD) students in the following areas: regional dialects of British English (particularly Yorkshire and/or Scouse), indexicality and enregisterment, dialect and links to social values, dialect represented in writing.