Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

Professor Alice Deignan

Professor of Applied Linguistics

I have worked as a teacher of English and on Teacher Education courses in Spain, Turkey, Eastern Europe, South America, Hong Kong and Britain. I have also worked as a lexicographer and author for Collins COBUILD.

I am a researcher and teacher in applied linguistics, with particular interests in lexical approaches to language analysis and teaching, and applications of corpus linguistics to the study of metaphor, metonymy and pragmatics.

I am on the editorial boards of the journals 'Metaphor and Symbol', 'Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics' and 'Empirical Language Research'. I am associate editor of 'Metaphor and the Social World'.

Research Interests

My research interests are in lexis, metaphor and pragmatics. I use large-scale corpora to investigate issues in these areas, using analytical techniques developed from corpus lexicography. I am also concerned with the applications of this research for language teaching, and for TESOL reference materials.



I teach modules on language description and language skills at undergraduate and Masters level

PhD Supervision

I supervise postgraduate research in language description and language skills. I also supervise visiting scholars with a particular interest in metaphor.

Key Publications


  • Deignan AH, Littlemore J, Semino E, Figurative language, genre and register, Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013)

  • Researching and applying metaphor in the real world, ed. by Low G and others (John Benjamins, 2010)

Journal Articles

  • Deignan A, ‘MIP, the corpus and dictionaries: What makes for the best metaphor analysis?’, Metaphor and the Social World, 5.1 (2015), 145-154
    DOI: 10.1075/msw.5.1.09dei, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/83351/

  • Semino E, Deignan A, Littlemore J, ‘Metaphor, genre and recontextualisation’, Metaphor and Symbol, 28.1 (2013), 41-59

  • Deignan AH, Cameron L, ‘A re-examination of UNDERSTANDING IS SEEING’, Journal of Cognitive Semiotics, 5.1-2 (2013)

  • Cameron L, Cienki A, Crisp P, Deignan A, Gibbs R, Grady J, Kovecses Z, Low G, Semino E, Steen G, ‘MIP: A method for identifying metaphorically used words in discourse’, Metaphor and Symbol, 22/1 (2007), 1-40

  • Cameron LJ, Deignan AH, ‘The emergence of metaphor in discourse’, Applied Linguistics, 27.4 (2006), 671-690
    DOI: 10.1093/applin/aml032


  • Deignan AH, ‘Mappings and narrative in figurative communication’, in Metaphor: Embodied Cognition and Discourse, ed. by Hampe B (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017)
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/100624/

  • Deignan A, ‘From linguistic to conceptual metaphors’, in The Routledge Handbook of Metaphor and Language ([n.pub.], 2016), 102-116
    DOI: 10.4324/9781315672953, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/106815/

  • Deignan A, ‘Payback and punishment: Metaphors in Scottish penal policy’, in Metaphor in Specialist Discourse, ed. by Berenike Herrmann J and Berber Sardinha T (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2015), 79-100
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/83352/

  • Deignan AH, ‘Figurative language in discourse’, in Cognitive Pragmatics (Mouton de Gruyter, 2012)

  • Deignan A, Semino E, ‘Corpus techniques for metaphor analysis’, in Metaphor Analysis: Research Practice in Applied Linguistics, Social Sciences and the Humanities (Equinox, 2010)

  • Deignan A, ‘The evaluative properties of metaphors’, in Researching and applying metaphor in the real world, ed. by Low G and others (John Benjamins, 2010), 357-374

  • Deignan A, ‘Searching for metaphorical patterns in corpora’, in Contemporary Corpus Linguistics, ed. by Baker P (Continuum, 2009), 9-31

  • Deignan A, ‘Image' metaphors and connotation in everyday language’, in Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics volume 5, ed. by Ruiz de Mendoza F (John Benjamins, 2007)

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