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About Dr Paul Flanagan

I grew up in Southport, Merseyside, and went to school in Crosby, where I not only learnt Latin, French, German and Spanish, but also noticed that some people from Southport would modify their accents when in school to sound more Scouse. This observation, along with a passion for my modern language studies was the fuel for my lifelong obsession with languages and linguistics.

My teaching tends to focus on linguistic typology and the language of pop culture, which are my core research interests, but I also teach/have taught modules on the history of English, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, regional variation, descriptive grammar, the nature of language, teaching English as an additional language, and bilingualism. I have supervised dissertations on linguistic topics relating to such diverse areas as Tom Hardy’s performed accents, Stoke English, lesbian pornography, grime music, death (gravestones and epitaphs), and attitudes to non-gendered pronoun usage.

In the Department of English, I lead the Schools Liaison Working Group (SLWG), and coordinate our careers provision, including managing partnerships with local businesses, running the Big Picture seminar series, and convening our work-based learning module English at Work. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


I am currently teaching:

  • EN4302 Language and Text
  • EN4304 The Nature of Language
  • EN5315 Language, Identity and Popular Culture
  • EN5316 Advances in English
  • EN5318 English at Work
  • EN6310 English Language Dissertation
  • EN6313 Beyond English
  • EN7404 Research Methods in English Language and Linguistics
  • EN7405 Dissertation
  • EN7407 Contemporary Issues in English Language and Linguistics
  • EN7408 Language and Identity
  • EN7415 Descriptive Grammar


My research interests range from linguistic typology to the language of pop culture. I completed my PhD in 2014 at Edge Hill University, looking at adjective order (the big brown cow vs the brown big cow) in English and five other languages (Welsh, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Tagalog and Northern Sotho). In 2017, I hosted a successful one-day symposium on the syntax of complex nominals, in conjunction with Edge Hill University. I have worked on the language of popular music, including the Arctic Monkeys, Pulp and Manic Street Preachers, and given a range of invited talks on this topic at various different institutions. 

Current research includes a multimodal tele-cinematic study of HBO’s Game of Thrones, a funded project to develop an online translation and learning tool called Learn Old English, and an ongoing book project on animal-based idioms.

Published Work

Flanagan, P.J. (2023, forthcoming). Review of Stylistic approaches to pop culture by Schubert, C. & Werner, V. (eds.). Style 57(2).

Flanagan, P.J. (2022, May). Pop culture linguistics: Analysing performed language in films and television shows. English and Media Centre: E Magazine. 14-17.

Flanagan, P.J. (2020). Bungalows and red potatoes: The journey to linguaphilia. In: Hamilton, C. (ed.). Multilingualism is normal. CH Publishing, 81-83. 

Flanagan, P.J. (2019). ‘A Certain Romance’: Style shifting in the language of Alex Turner in Arctic Monkeys songs 2006-2018. Language and Literature 28(1) 82–98.

Flanagan, P. J. (2016, February 1). Northern Sotho. Babel, 14, 15-17.

Flanagan, P. J. (2014). A cross-linguistic analysis of the ordering of attributive adjectives. PhD Thesis: Edge Hill University, UK.

Flanagan, P.J. (2014, January 11). Arcade Fire, Super Furry Animals, Jennifer Lopez and the art of codeswitching. Liverpool Echo. Available at:

Flanagan, P. J. (2013). Adjective stacking and classification in Northern Sotho, a Bantu language of South Africa. Papers from the LAEL Conference, 8, 4-40.


BA English 
PGCert Research
PhD Linguistics

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Qualified first aider and mental health first aider