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Dr Stephen J Disney

Senior Lecturer

School of Sport, Health and Wellbeing

01752 636700 Ext:4220

Steve Disney

Role Summary

I am the programme leader for the BSc English Language & Communication and the BSc Speech & Language Sciences degrees, ALT for BA International Professional English degree in Hanoi, Vietnam. I also have oversight of our on campus English Language courses.  I am a member of the International Cognitive Linguistics Association and the British Applied Linguistics Association. I am an academic representative on the University Board of Studies and am actively researching in the field of English Language pronunciation and interaction. 


  • BA English Language and Linguistics (1), Lancaster University
  • MA Modern English Language, UCL
  • PhD Linguistics, UCL
  • Senior Fellow HEA



My current teaching areas are broad and I teach across the spectrum of sound, structure and language in use. I teach Phonetics and Phonology on the Speech & Language Therapy degree and Linguistic Analysis, Pragmatics and History of English and Language Change.


Prior to my academic career, I taught English in Poland, Japan and Qatar for several years, which gave me a good grounding in some complex issues in intercultural communication. As a result, I am now focussing my research interests on learners of English, with a particular interest in language and communication in migrants’ access to healthcare. I am currently researching interaction in healthcare using real-life language data. For example, I am studying the representation of pain in dialogues in an online forum and collecting data from sports therapy clinics. I am also leading a project with our partners in the School of Foreign Languages at the University of Science & Technology in Hanoi, Vietnam, looking at the learning of English amongst Vietnamese English students. 


Journal articles:

2016 Another Visit to BE supposed to from a Diachronic Constructionist Perspective. English Studies 97(8), pp. 892–916.

2013 “The reputed sense of BE meant to: a case of gradual change by analogy”. In Giacalone Ramat, Anna, Caterina Mauri and Piera Molinelli. Synchrony and Diachrony: A dynamic interface. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 105-124.


Conference presentations:

2017 Describing and coping with pain: figurative language and people with limited English. iMean 5. UWE.

2016 Migrants and healthcare: figurative language in describing and coping with pain. IALIC 2016 Barcelona.

2014 Blended Constructions and Emerging Modals: UK-CLC5 Lancaster University.

2014 Generalisation and constructional smoothing: the case of the Predictive Passive Construction: The 8th International Conference on Construction Grammar Osnabruck University, Germany.

2013 Another visit to BE supposed to. SLE 2013. 46th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea. University of Split, Croatia.

2012 Analogy in language change: the case of BE going to revisited again UK-CLC, Kings College London.

2012 The effect of error in the OED on grammaticalisation research: the case of going to: NRG-4 New Reflections on Grammaticalisation. Edinburgh University.

2012 The World English Model: variation in register. Proceedings from the 6th International IDEA Conference, Istanbul.

2011 Variation in the form BE Meant to: what it is and where it comes from: Workshop on Gradualness in change and its relation to synchronic variation and use. University of Pavia.

2011 The World English Model: variation in register IDEA-11 English Language and Research Association of Turkey. Istanbul.

2009 The World English Model revised: Definite article use in ICE-GB and ICE-HK: 4th Lancaster University International Postgraduate Conference in Linguistics and Language Teaching. Lancaster University.

2008 The Grammaticalisation of BE going to. The 3rd Newcastle Postgraduate Conference in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics. Newcastle University.

2008 A domain matrix view of the uses and development of BE going to + infinitive. 3rd Lancaster University International Postgraduate Conference in Linguistics and Language Teaching. Lancaster University.

Expert Membership of professional bodies


Roles on external bodies


Other Interests

I have recently completed the first version of the Database of English Grammar Exercises, a 2000 activity open access store of exercises to supplement the textbooks and course materials on our Linguistics and Language Therapy modules. This was created in collaboration with our undergraduate students. 

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