The Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University is one of the largest and most diverse centres for cognitive linguistics research in the UK. Our research addresses a broad range of topics in cognitive linguistics, including metaphor and figurativity, construction grammar, and usage-based approaches to language acquisition and language change.

Much of our research is concerned with the language-cognition interface.  Under the auspices of the Perception and Learning Lab, our research investigates the embodied and neurological bases of language, the influence of language on memory and perception, and the cognitive consequences of bilingualism.

Our research also takes a more applied form where we have particular strengths in cognitive linguistic approaches to text and discourse analysis, including in stylistics and critical discourse analysis.  Researchers in the Discourse and Text Research Group investigate the forms and functions of metaphor across a range of fields and genres, including literature, health communication, business communication, science communication, political discourse and advertising.  Our research in this area also explores other aspects of meaning construction in discourse from the perspectives of cognitive grammar and discourse space theory.

View our publications and projects.


Research Methods

Our research in cognitive linguistics makes use of a broad range of methods, often in combination.  This includes introspection and qualitative approaches to data analysis.  However, we are also committed to empirical methods in cognitive linguistics.  Our research makes use of corpus linguistic tools to investigate attested patterns of language usage.  We also conduct experimental research that makes use of psycholinguistic methods including eye-tracking, reaction-time measurements and electroencephalography (EEG), as well as offline judgement and perception tasks.


Media and Impact

We are committed to sharing our research with the public and other stakeholders.  Our research regularly features in the media.  Our researchers have written articles for The Conversation, given TED talks, and featured in television and radio programmes about language.  We are frequently interviewed in media contexts when a linguistic issue becomes a news item. We are also committed to working with non-academic partners to ensure our research has real-world relevance.  Our researchers have worked with various organisations in the public and third sectors, including the National Health Service, charities and campaign groups.



We have hosted major events relating to cognitive linguistics research, including the 5th UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference and the 5th Implicit Learning Seminar.  Our research group is made up of faculty, PhD students and visiting researchers (see People).