Terry McDonough

An encounter with language is meaningful. The experience leaves an indelible imprint. Thought is given form. The universe of the mind is disclosed to us. It grants us the power to build new worlds, to share powerful ideas… and to destroy both. I am interested in how this happens and how it came to be this way. 

I advocate an interdisciplinary approach to the study of discourse and cognition. Bringing together (Critical) Discourse Analysis, Cognitive Linguistics, and Cognitive Neuroscience, I explore the question of what it means to make meaning. I believe developing this understanding is fundamental to accounting for the human experience. Only by fully understanding ourselves, can we fully understand the challenges in our future. 

I propose two interdependent research programmes. The first is the development of a framework to assess the phenomenon of discourse coherence, or how texts and discourses appear to ‘make sense’. With the second, I aim to develop a systematic method for the analysis of text and discourse which identifies correlations between the conceptual properties of language and the underpinning neural substrate. What does our brain do when we encounter text, talk, and discourse? How does it happen? Why is the experience meaningful? 

I studied English Language and Linguistics at Lancaster University. I later returned to Lancaster to work towards my PhD in Linguistics (Research Only) under the guidance of Professor Chris Hart, one of the first advocates of a Cognitive Linguistic Approach to (Critical) Discourse Analysis. Here I am a member of the Discourse and Text (DisTex), and the Language, Ideology and Power (LIP) research groups. I am a full member of the UK Cognitive Linguistics Association (UK-CLA) and the Cultural Difference and Social Solidarity Network (CDSS). I am also Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of the journal PRISM.  

Teaching is a great privilege. Starting at Liverpool Hope University as an Associate Lecturer in Linguistics, I later moved to the University Centre at Blackburn College (UCBC) where I am a Lecturer in English Language. I am a module convener on both the BA (Hons) English Language and the BSc (Hons) Applied Psychology undergraduate degree programmes, both of which are validated and awarded by Lancaster University. I also actively support and supervise student-led research.  

Scholars have a duty to the communities they serve. I believe passionately that knowledge and learning ought to be accessible to all. For this reason, I co-founded the Ragged Alliance in association with the Ragged University. Delivering free talks in the local community, the Ragged Alliance is an initiative designed to promote open access and public debate. I also deliver a free and open public course in critical language awareness each year.


Book Chapters:

McDonough, T.D. and Reynolds, P. (2018). Institutional Discourses and Social Change. In Reynolds, P. et al (Eds.). Criticality from the Inside. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.

Reynolds, P. and McDonough, T.D. (2018). Exploring Traditional and Critical Pedagogies. In Reynolds, P. et al (Eds.). Criticality from the Inside. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.

McDonough, T.D. and Reynolds, P. (2018). The Context to Contemporary Further and Higher Education: Neo-Liberalism. In Reynolds, P. et al (Eds.). Criticality from the Inside. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.

McDonough, T.D. (2014). Language. In Dobbs, S. (Ed.). English Language, Literature and Creative Writing: A Practical Guide for Students. London: Anthem Press. pp.3-20.
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Journal Articles:

McDonough, T.D. (2018). Examining the ‘Neural Turn’: An Experimental Approach to Critical-Cognitive Discourse Analysis. CADAAD (TBC).

McDonough, T.D. (2018). Review of Richardson (2017) British Fascism: A Discourse-Historical Analysis. Discourse and Society 30(1). London: Sage.

McDonough, T.D. (2017). Review of Charteris-Black (2016) Fire Metaphors: Discourses of Awe and Authority. Discourse and Communication 11(6). London: Sage.
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McDonough, T.D. (2017). Editorial: Creating a Third Space. PRISM I (1). pp. 8-20.
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McDonough, T.D. (2008). The New American Empire and the Electronic Revolution. East Lancashire Research Journal 1(2).

Conference Papers:

McDonough, T.D. (2018). Simulating Meaning in the Brain. Linguistics and English Language Annual Conference. Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK. 12th July 2018.

McDonough, T.D. (2018). Seasons, Cycles, and Journeys: How We Think About Change. Ageing, Generational Change and Social Solidarity: Managing Diversity in Ageing Societies. University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Wroclaw, Poland. 9th to 10th July 2018.

McDonough, T.D. (2018). The Coherence of Incoherence: The Case of Schrödinger’s Immigrant. CADAAD 2018. Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark. 5th to 7th July 2018.

McDonough, T.D. (2018). Metaphors of the Market. Discourse Net 20. Karoli Gaspar University, Budapest, Hungary. 17th to 19th May 2018.

McDonough, T.D. (2017). Imagining the Market: Simulation and Grounded Cognition. A Neoliberal Nightmare: Beyond the Populist Insurgence? A CDSS Network Seminar. University Centre at Blackburn College. 10th to 12th May 2017.

McDonough, T.D. (2016). Fields of Conceptual Coherence: Or How Making Sense “Makes Sense”. 6th UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference. Bangor University, Bangor, Gwynedd. 19th to 22nd July 2016.

McDonough, T.D. (2016). Cognitive Economies: The Entrenchment of the Market in the Discourse of Pedagogic Life. Critical Pedagogies, Power & Possibilities: Strategies for Difference and Solidarity in Contemporary Societies. A Cultural Difference and Social Solidarity Network Workshop. University Centre at Blackburn College, Blackburn. 18th to 20th May 2016.

McDonough, T.D. (2015). The ‘General Peculiarity’ of Temporal Particularity. Time, Substance and Things. University of Paris VIII, Paris. 21st to 22nd May 2015.

McDonough, T.D. (2010). Nurturing Nature: Teaching Language as a Social Practice. Liverpool College Annual Research Conference. May 2010.  


Editorial Positions:

PRISM Journal Editor-in-Chief | Chair of the Editorial Board | Co-Founder

Event Organiser:

The Future is Now: Utopia, Dystopia, and the Crises of Tomorrow. A CDSS Network Seminar. University Centre at Blackburn College. 23rd to 25th May 2018.

A Neoliberal Nightmare: Beyond the Populist Insurgence? A CDSS Network Seminar. University Centre at Blackburn College. 10th to 12th May 2017.

Grants and Impact Projects:

Enhancing Employability Through Community Challenge. Higher Education Academy (HEA) Teaching Development Grant, 2012-2013.

Professional Memberships:

Research and Scholarship Committee (UCBC)

Cultural Difference and Social Solidarity Network
Higher Education Academy
UK Cognitive Linguistics Association

Research Groups
Critical Pedagogies, CERES, Liverpool John Moores University
Discourse and Text (DisTex), Lancaster University
Language, Ideology and Power (LIP), Lancaster University
Preston Linguistics Circle (PLC), UCLan

Public Engagement:

The Ragged Alliance (Co-Founder) Free and open public lectures in community spaces.

Public Talks:

A Polar Bear’s Nose and a Flying Pig: Your Brain on Language. UCBC Humanities and Social Science Lecture Series. UCBC. 21st February 2018.

Cognitive Dynamite: Child Language Acquisition and the Developing Brain. Early Childhood Studies Symposium. UCBC. 24th November 2016