Dr Cathleen Waters

Personal details | Publications | Research | Teaching | Supervision

Lecturer in English Language

Undergraduate Brochure

Department: English

Telephone: +44 (0)116 223 1286

Email: cathleen.waters@le.ac.uk

Office: Room 1509, Attenborough Tower

Address: School of Arts, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH

Personal details


I am a lecturer in English Language and an HEA Fellow. I earned my PhD in Linguistics from the University of Toronto, specialising in sociolinguistics. Before becoming a linguist, I worked internationally in the finance industry, a context which further contributed to my interest in language(s) in the world. My earlier academic training included French language and literature, mathematics, and a CELTA.


  • PhD University of Toronto
  • Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy


  • With N. Smith, 'Variation and change in a specialized register: A comparison of random and sociolinguistic sampling outcomes in Desert Island Discs', International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 24.2 (2019): 169-201
  • With N. Smith, 'From broadcast archive to language corpus: Designing and investigating a sociohistorical corpus from Desert Island Discs', Journal of the International Computer Archive of Modern and Medieval English (ICAME), 42.1 (2018): 167-190.
  • With S.A. Tagliamonte, 'Is one innovation enough? Leaders, covariation, and language change', American Speech, 92.1 (2017): 23-40
  • 'Practical strategies for elucidating discourse-pragmatic variation', in H. Pichler (ed.) Discourse-Pragmatic Variation and Change in English: New Methods and Insights (Cambridge University Press, 2016)
  • 'Transatlantic variation in English adverb placement', Language Variation and Change, 25 (2) (2013): 179–200, which is available here.


I examine variation and change in English (lexical, morphosyntactic and discourse-pragmatic), often with a focus on transatlantic variation. My research frequently combines areas of linguistics, and the diverse approaches therein, to answer questions more effectively. My current and previous work draws on the concepts and methodologies of variationist sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, corpus linguistics, language attitudes, syntax, and discourse analysis. I also participate in DiPVaC, the discourse-pragmatic variation and change research network.



I am involved in teaching students at all levels of the undergraduate programme including:


I'm a past convenor of the MA in English Language and Linguistics and I continue to teach on a variety of modules on the ELL MA.


I welcome postgraduate students (MA and PhD) interested in:

  • Language variation and change (lexical, morphosyntactic and discourse-pragmatic)
  • Quantitative sociolinguistics
  • English varieties and variation in English around the world

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