Ewch i’r prif gynnwys
Yr Athro Tom Bartlett

Yr Athro Tom Bartlett

Senior Lecturer

Ysgol Saesneg, Cyfathrebu ac Athroniaeth

3.64, John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cathays, Cardiff
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I am a member of the Centre for Language and Communication Research.


I have been at Cardiff since 2007 and specialise in teaching and researching discourse analysis and functional grammar. I am Course Director of the MA programme in Applied Linguistics and the Deputy Director of Studies with responsibility for Postgraduate and First Year Undergraduate affairs. 

I have worked variously as an English language teacher in Scotland, Spain, Costa Rica and the US; a freelance lexicographer in the UK; a consultant on Mayan language/Spanish dictionaries in Mexico; an advisor to the Media Monitoring Unit in Guyana; a translator for the UNHCR in Costa Rica; and as a lecturer and head of department in a small university in the US. 

I carried out my doctoral fieldwork in Guyana, where I was looking at discourse between local Amerindian communities and governmental and international bodies. 

My research brought together Systemic Functional Linguistics, discourse analysis, and social and ethnographic approaches to language study, all of which are well represented in the Centre for Language and Communication Research.













  • Bartlett, T. A. M. 2010. Functional motivations for "passive" constructions in Scottish Gaelic. Presented at: 36th International Systemic Functional Congress, Beijing, China, 14-18 July 2009 Presented at Yan, F. and Canzhong, W. eds.Challenges to Systemic Functional Linguistics: Theory and Practice. Proceedings of the 36th International Systemic Functional Congress. Beijing: 36th ISFC Organizing Committee pp. 388-395.
  • Bartlett, T. A. M. 2010. Towards an Interventionist CDA. In: Coffin, C., Lillis, T. and O'Halloran, K. eds. Applied Linguistic Methods: A Reader. Milton Keynes: Open University, pp. 150-165.






My disciplinary areas of expertise are: Critical Discourse Analysis; Positive Discourse Analysis; Linguistic Anthropology; Systemic Functional Linguistics; English Grammar; Gaelic Grammar; Genre Analysis; and Intercultural Genre Studies.  My research is centred on the relationship between contexts of discourse and the language used by different social and cultural groups, an approach which brings together ethnographic approaches to discourse analysis and detailed descriptions of grammatical features within a functional framework. At the social end of the scale, I am particularly interested in the workings of participatory democracy. My work focuses on negotiations between local populations and governmental and non-governmental organisations with the aim of developing strategies for more effective participation and collaboration.

I am on the Peer Review Group for the ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund.

My current research in this area is brought together in Sustainability on the Edge, an ongoing project into the discourses around social and environmental sustainability in Europe, with a particular focus on the Western Isles of Scotland. The project has received ESRC Impact Accelerator Funding. At present I am working with two post-doctoral students, Harriet Lloyd and Jaspal Singh, to complete an integrated set of papers on polycentricity, scales and the use of contrasting chronotopes (space/timeframes) by different social actors within the discourse of sustainability. The research relates these differences to sociomaterial differences and explores the potential for integrating this diversity into a collaborative framework of discourse.  This research extends the approach developed in Hybrid Voices and Collaborative Change: Situating Positive Discourse Analysis (Routledge 2012), my case study of discourse between local Amerindian communities in Guyana, South America, and governmental and non-governmental bodies.

As an extension of this area of research I have recently submitted, as PI, a bid for £2.5m Horizon 2020 funding within the area Cultural Heritage of Coastal and Maritime Regions.  The proposal brings together a consortium of researchers and SMEs from eight countries and sets out a method for integrating scientific, experiential and traditional indigenous knowledge to enhance participatory decision-making between coastal communities and policy-makers at different scales, as well as within and between the communities themselves.

In a separate project I am PI on a project bringing together a team of academics from the Centre for Language and Communication Research and researchers and healthcare professionals from the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB).  The project is investigating on-ward management and the bottom-up development of good practice within an enabling environment. Outputs from this project will provide input for training and policy within ABUHB. The project has received ESRC Impact Accelerator Funding.

From the perspective of linguistic theory, my work aims to integrate the theory and methods of Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) into broader currents in critical theory and social and ethnographic linguistics. As well as my own work in this field, I am a founding editor of a series with Equinox, Text and Social Context, which aims to publish work exploring the connections between context and language both theoretically and through case studies. I am currently working with my colleague Gerard O'Grady to extend the SFL description of information structure and text development both in scope and detail. We established an international round table on information structure across languages (Cardiff 2014, Namur 2016). The inaugural event in Cardiff obtained full funding from the journal Language Learning, and the proceedings were developed and published in English Text and Context 9(1). We are currently working on a two-volume theoretical work, The Language Dynamic, which aims to provide a unified and multiscalar account of the dynamics of language production and development from the grammar through text to discourse.   I am also working on functional descriptions of Scottish Gaelic Grammar, including information structure as well as the form and functions of 'passive' and 'existential' constructions.

I am one of the founders of the research network, LinC, which has run four Summer Schools in Systemic Functional Linguistics (2010, 2012, 2014, 2016) and organises extracurricular seminars during the academic year.

Research interests

  • Critical approaches to Discourse Analysis (with a particular interest in intercultural negotiation and participatory democracy);
  • text and social context;
  • Systemic Functional Linguistics;
  • functional descriptions of Scottish Gaelic grammar.

Funding obtained

Full funding (£6k) was obtained from the journal Language Learning for a multi-institution Round Table on Communicative Dynamism held in September 2014.

Two separate ESRC Impact Accelerator Accounts of £3k: Sustainability on the Edge and Multiple Roles and Goals in Nursing Handovers.

£72k over six years from Banco de Santander for research events and postgraduate support.


I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of::

  • Systemic Functional Linguistics
  • Critical Discoure Analysis and Discourse Theory
  • Discourses of Sustainability and Community Management
  • Functional Descriptions of Scottish Gaelic 

Goruchwyliaeth gyfredol

Najwa Alzahrani

Research student

Zayneb Al-Bundawi

Research student

Hossein Rezaine

Research student

Boitshwarelo Rantsudu

Research student

Essam Alfayyadh

Research student

Past projects


Ben Clarke SFL Description of Ellipsis awarded 2012

Jie Liu English Reading Strategies of Chinese MA Students awarded 2012

Sam Austen Conceptual Transfer in Italian Learners of English awarded 2016