Dr Bethan Davies

Dr Bethan Davies


I joined the University of Leeds in 1996 as a Lecturer in Linguistics. Previously I worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Edinburgh, whilst completing my PhD. I was nominally a student in the Linguistics Department (now part of Linguistics and English Language) but was based in the Human Communication Research Centre across the road. It was an exciting place to be. I was lucky enough to be part of the dialogue research group ther and my PhD was based on data from the HCRC Map Task Corpus. My doctoral research applied a combination of methods from discourse analysis, pragmatics and natural language processing to task-based talk and tried to understand what made some talk more successful in terms of task outcomes.

Before then, I was a student at Cardiff University where I was first introduced to English Language and Linguistics. I gained a particular interest in Systemic Functional Grammar and the role of linguistics in Artificial Intelligence. This led to an MSc in Computing, where I specialised in Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing.

While I have been at Leeds, my interests have returned to focus more on Linguistics, particularly (Critical) Discourse Analysis, Pragmatics and their interactions with Sociolinguistics. I would define myself primarily as a discourse analyst who applies those skills across a broad range of linguistic disciplines.



  • Exams Officer for Linguistics & Phonetics

Research interests

My current main focus is linguistic im/politeness. I am a founder member of the Linguistic Politeness Research Group (LPRG) and helped to found the Journal of Politeness Research in 2005. I am a member of the journal's editorial board and have been involved in organising the sequence of conferences on im/politeness associated with LPRG. Current interests within im/politeness focus around metadiscourse and developing more robust methods of using meta-evaluations in im/politeness evaluations, and also on the need develop theorisations of social class within the context of im/politeness.

I am also active within the field of Critical Discourse Analysis.I have an ongoing interest in media language and the representations of different social actors. One current project relates to the representations of violent crime against women in the press. In addition, a particular field of interest is the analysis of advisory texts. I am currently engaged in a project which is looking at the textual development of The Highway Code and how it shapes, and is shaped by, societal attitudes to different forms of transport and road users.

As someone who has lost access to a heritage language (Welsh), I also have an interest in minority languages, language policy, language ideology and how issues of language relate to issues of identity. At some point, I will get around to publishing on this!


<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Linguistics, University of Edinburgh
  • MSc Computing, Cardiff University
  • BA Modern English Studies, Cardiff University

Student education

My teaching interests  are in the areas of pragmatics, discourse analysis and sociolinguistics. In particular, I teach in areas related to langauge and power, language and identity, and language meaning and use.

Research groups and institutes

  • Multilingualism

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>