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Dr Zsofia Demjen
Room 640
20 Bedford Way
  • Senior Lecturer
  • IOE - Culture, Communication & Media
  • UCL Institute of Education
Research Themes
Research Summary

I work at the intersections of language, mind and health(care), exploring mental/physical illness. Examining the language of patients, carers, healthcare professionals, journalists, poets, writers, etc. I focus on how they say what they say to understand what it means to be unwell today. 

My approach is broadly discourse analytic, focusing on any aspect of language that stands out in a given context. I've worked specifically with metaphor, personal pronouns, negation, narratives and humour, investigating, among others, how:
  • the ideologies of the UK hospice movement influence what health professionals consider a ‘good death’;
  • the phenomenology of hallucinations differs from the straight-forwardly auditory perception of voices that others can also hear;
  • humour can help people cope with cancer;
  • the experience of depression is often characterized by physical pain and a split-self, along with emptiness and lethargy 
I often use corpus methods, which allow me to examine large quantities of language data quickly and systematically and to support findings quantitatively. Whenever possible, I focus on the potential practical applications of any findings for the diagnosis and treatment of specific conditions and the quality of healthcare services and communication. 

PhD Supervision: 
I am interested in supervising students in the following areas:
  • Applied linguistic approaches to experiences of illness, health and wellbeing
  • Linguistic approaches to non/fictional illness narratives
  • Interactions in healthcare contexts (online or offline)
  • Metaphor in discourses of health (and other professional contexts)
  • Professional and institutional communication

Details on how to apply can be found here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioe/courses/graduate-research/culture-communication-media-mphil-phd and here: http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/cde/prospective-students/
Teaching Summary
I am programme leader for the MA in Applied Linguistics.
I convene the Language at Work module.
Please report any queries concerning the data shown on this page to https://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/helpdesk/helpdesk_web_form.php
University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT Tel:+44 (0)20 7679 2000

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