Dr. Valerie Hobbs


Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA


I joined the School of English on a permanent post in 2008. My educational background includes a BA in English Literature at Covenant College, an MA in Applied Linguistics/TESOL from Georgia State University, and a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Sheffield. I also spent a summer studying in the Summer Institute of Linguistics at the University of North Dakota.

My academic work experience includes several years teaching English for Academic Purposes in USA and UK universities and as an undergraduate adjunct professor on a TESOL Teaching Certificate course in the USA.

I am a member of the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL), the Association for the Sociology of Religion (ASR), and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR). 


My research focuses on religious language, and I am currently writing a monograph on religious language in contemporary contexts, to be published by Bloomsbury. My work involves investigating religious language in a wide variety of contexts, from language used in prayer and sermons to language around food, sport, advertising, politics and funerals. My two most recent articles focus on religious language in divorce sermons and in the context of employment discrimination, and I am currently working on the religious functions of the phrase ‘a life well lived.’ My research tends to be corpus-based, and I have built several of my own corpora.

Other areas of expertise include disciplinary discourse and English for Specific Purposes, and projects in these areas have involved examining the concept of clarity in a self-built corpus of philosophy texts. One such study makes explicit the ‘great divide’ between analytic and continental philosophy by examining how the importance of clarity in analytic philosophy, largely connected to its alignment with scientific inquiry, influences use of certain linguistic features and distinguishes analytic from continental journal articles.

I publish in a diverse range of publications, both within and outside my discipline, both for academia and for a popular audience. I have also recently begun making video abstracts for my publications and projects, which can be found here.


I teach primarily on the MA in Applied Linguistics course on such modules as:

  • English Grammar and Discourse
  • Teaching English for Specific Purposes
  • Theory and Practice of Language Teaching
  • Research Methods

At the undergraduate level, I convene a third-year module on Theolinguistics.


  • (2019, forthcoming). The discourse of divorce in conservative Christian sermons. Critical Discourse Studies, Special Issue on Discourses of Marriage
  • (2018). Disability, the ‘good family’ and discrimination in the dismissal of a Presbyterian seminary professor. Journal of Language and Discrimination, 2(2): 133-161.
  • Hobbs, V. (2018). Rape Culture in Sermons on Divorce. In Rape Culture, Gender Violence, and Religion (pp. 87-110). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • (2016). Hobbs, V. Characterizations of feminism in Reformed Christian online media. Journal of Media and Religion
  • (2015). Looking again at clarity in philosophy: Writing as a shaper and sharpener of thought. Philosophy, 90(1), 135-142
  • (2014). Accounting for the great divide: Features of clarity in analytic philosophy journal articles. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 15, 27-36
  • (2013). ‘A basic starter pack’: the TESOL Certificate as a course in survival. ELT Journal, 67(2), 163-174
  • (2011). The importance of teachers’ thoughts and beliefs. In S. House (Ed.), Theory and Practice in English Language Teaching. Barcelona: Grao (pp. 147-149)
  • (2011). Assessment of ourselves as teachers. In S. House (Ed.), Teacher Development. Barcelona: Grao (pp. 29-42)
  • With Matsuo, A. & Payne, M. (2010). Code-switching in Japanese language classrooms: An exploratory investigation of native vs. non-native speaker teacher practice. Linguistics and Education, 21(1), 44-59
  • With Kubanyiova, M. (2008). The challenges of researching language teachers: What research manuals don't tell us. Language Teaching Research, 12(4), 495-513
  • (2007). Faking it or hating it: can reflective practice be forced?. Reflective practice, 8(3), 405-417
Reports and other publications