Skip to main content
Dr Virpi Ylänne-Thomas

Dr Virpi Ylänne-Thomas


+44 (0)29 2087 5049
3.34, John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU


I am a member of the Centre for Language and Communication Research in the English Language and Linguistics section of the School of English, Communication and Philosophy (ENCAP). My specific areas of expertise are in Discourse Analysis, Interactional Sociolinguistics, and qualitative research methods. My research focuses on ageing and identity in talk, text and image (e.g. advertising), and institutional discourse.

My administrative role is Director of the Centre's MA programmes (PGT Programme Director). We have four MA programmes (Applied Linguistics; Forensic Linguistics; Language and Linguistics; Language and Communication Research), which are described on our web pages:

I'm a member of the ENCAP Research Ethics Committee.


I gained my BA Humanities (Linguistics) from Hatfield Polytechnic (now University of Hertfordshire), PGCE in TES/FL and MA in Applied Linguistics from University of Wales, Bangor, and PhD from University of Wales, Cardiff.

Recently my research projects have examined discourses of parenting at a later age, focusing on news media and personal narratives and I continue researching media representations of older adults, for example in advertising and news discourse. I have just edited a volume Ageing and the Media. International Perspectives for Policy Press (2022). In terms of institutional talk, I'm also a member of a research team that has investigated nurse handover interactions in hospital wards (see publications).

I am also currently collaborating on a BA/Leverhulme funded project on 'Minority ethnic older adults’ perception of COVID-19 public health campaigns', which involves an interview study with older adults from minority ethnic groups.

In the past, I have been involved in research projects such as

  • the 'Language and Tourism as a Global Cultural Industry' strand of the Centre's Leverhulme-funded Language and Global Communication project (2001-2006).
  • I co-directed (with Dr Angie Williams) a three year ESRC-funded project (2004-2007) on Images of Elders in UK Media: Perceptions and Representations (RES-000-23-0416) which focused on print media and TV advertising. An edited volume Representing Ageing: Images and Identities (2012, Palgrave Macmillan) followed up some of the themes from this research project.
  • I have also carried out and published collaborative research on community pharmacy interactions from a Discourse Analytic point of view.

    I have organised workshops and symposia at the Sociolinguistics Symposium (Amsterdam, 2008), the VII European Congress of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (Bologna, 2011), Cultural Gerontology conference (Galway, 2014), NordMedia conference (Tampere, 2017), and at British Society of Gerontology annual conference (2021).

Honours and awards

Research funding:

  • 2017 c.£60,000 'Under the radar dynamics of on-ward management and inter-team communication in a Welsh hospital' ESRC DTP Collaborative fund, to support doctoral research (1+3) in collaboration with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. Supervisors: T. Spilioti & V. Ylänne, with M. Aldridge & T. Bartlett (collaborated on the application).
  • 2016-17. £3029 ESRC Impact Initiator grant for project Care in Organisational Discourse with colleagues Tom Bartlett, Tereza Spilioti and Michelle Aldridge-Waddon.
  • Summer 2017. £1200 Cardiff Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (CUROP) funding for Research Assistant on a project ‘News reporting on EU referendum: Age and voting behaviour’.
  • Summer 2015. £1080 CUROP funding for Research Assistant on a project ‘Discourse, lifespan identity and representations of late reproduction’.
  • Summer 2014. £1020 CUROP funding for Research Assistant on a project ‘Discursive representations of parenting at an “older” age’.
  • 2011-2012. £1000 from CLCR, Cardiff University, for a post-doctoral Research Assistant on a project ‘UK newspaper coverage of older first-time parents, Corpus Analysis’.
  • 2004-2007. £162,033 (RES-000-23-0416) Co-applicant and co-director on a 3-year project ‘Images of elders in UK media advertisements: perceptions and representations’ (with A. Williams). Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
  • 2002-2003. £3125 The British Council, British-German Academic Research Collaboration Programme. Travel grant to myself, A. Williams and C. Thimm for project ‘Mass media images of older people’.

Professional memberships

Member of European Network in Aging Studies (ENAS) and North American Network in Aging Studies (NANAS).

Speaking engagements

In addition to regular conference presentations at international conferences, such as Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice and European Network in Ageing Studies, I have presented keynotes and invited contributions at:

  • Invited panel member of a 'Plenary Panel: Book Launch and Review of Four New Works in Age Studies' at ENAS conference, Bucharest, Romania, September 29th 2022. Also chairing a panel 'Media discourses about older adults'.
  • Invited keynote at Ages2020, Milan, Italy, October 30th 2020.
  • Invited keynote at Age Talks? Communicating Ages in the Communication Age, Corvinus University, Budapest, Hungary, May 9th 2019.
  • Invited speaker at COST Action IS1402 on Ageism, October 26th 2018, Brussels, Belgium.
  • Invited keynote at Ageing and Old Age in the Media and Elderly People’s Media Use symposium, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, May 4th 2017.
  • Invited speaker at 5th International Symposium in Communication and Consumption (COMUNICON 2016), ESPM, Sao Paulo, Brazil, October 13th 2016. Also gave a postgraduate workshop on Ageing in the Media (11.10.2016).

      Committees and reviewing

      Member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Ageing and Later Life (2020- ).

      Member of the scientific committee of Sociolinguistics Symposium 2021, Hong Kong.

      Head of the organising committee and member of the scientific committee of ALAPP (Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice) conference, Cardiff University, September 17th-19th 2018.

      I regularly peer review articles for journals such as Journal of Aging StudiesInternational Journal of Ageing and Later Life; Ageing and Society; Text & Talk, among others.

      I regularly review book proposals for e.g. Routledge and Palgrave Macmillan.











      • Ylanne, V. 2015. Representations of ageing in the media. In: Twigg, J. and Martin, W. eds. Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology. Routledge International Handbooks London: Routledge, pp. 369-376.










      I typically contribute to one of the Year 2 core modules, Discourse (SE1362), and convene the Year 2 module Language and Gender (SE1403). I also teach on Year 1 Understanding Communication (SE1116). At the MA level, I usually contribute to Qualitative Research Methods (SET012) and/or to Discourse and Social Interaction (SET005)I currently also coordinate all MA Dissertations in my section of the School and the various Research Experience projects in semester 2.

      Research interests

      My main research interests are in discourse and social interaction and discursive representations of age(ing) and lifespan identities.

      My research activities over the years have concentrated on media representations of older people and ageing; institutional discourse, and discourses of tourist identities.

      My recent research project has examined news coverage of older first time parents and personal narratives of parenting at middle age. I am also researching representations of ageing in the media, especially advertising, which critically examines (visual) ageism. My edited volume Ageing and the Media: International Perspectives was published by Policy Press in September 2022. This showcases international research on ageing and/in the media.

      I am currently collaborating on a British Academcy/Leverhulme funded project on 'Minority ethnic older adults’ perception of COVID-19 public health campaigns', which comprises 35 semi-structured interviews with minority ethnic older adults.

      I have recently collaborated on a project with a local Health Board and was a co-recipient of an ESRC Impact Initiator Award looking at hospital nurse handover sessions.


      Postgraduate supervision

      • Gifty Andoh Appiah (2022 - ) 'Communicating Forensic Sciences: Examining the language and communication of forensic evidence in Ghana’s criminal justice system', co-supervisor with Dr Chris Heffer.
      • Thomas Fitz-Hughes (2022 - ) 'Show Me the Patriarchy: Identifying the Influence of Hegemonic Norms by Examining
        Variation in the Linguistic Performance of Cisheterosexual Masculinity', co-supervisor with Prof Mercedes Durham.

      Past projects

      In the past I have supervised PhD students on topics such as

      • 'Mitigation in Prime Minister’s Questions of the British Parliament'  - Dr Areej Dawood, 2020.
      • 'A nexus analysis of domestic video chat: actions, practices, affordances, and mediational means'  - Dr Dorottya Csenge Cserzö, 2019.
      • 'Representations of contemporary feminist protest in Germany and the UK’  - Dr Sophie Payne at Reading University, 2018; co-supervised with Dr Melani Schroeter, AHRC DTP funded
      • 'Older workers' talk: Discursive representations of age, work and retirement identities' - Dr Sheila Gewolb, 2016.
      • 'Portraying older age in television advertisements: a comparative study between the UK and Taiwan' - Dr Chin-Hui Chen, 2011.
      • Functional semantic analysis of Yoruba death notices in English' - Dr Ayo Banji, 2003.

      I regularly supervise MA dissertations on Discourse Analytic topics ranging from media representations of gender to aspects of institutional talk, politeness, and informal talk among friends, for example.

      PhD external examining:

      • Hanna Varjakoski, University of Turku, Finland, March 2023.
      • Shazia Riaz Dar, Air Univeristy, Pakistan, May 2021.
      • Ishikawa Motoko, University of Helsinki, Finland, pre-defence evaluator of thesis, March 2020.
      • Helen Watts, University of West of England (UWE), Bristol, UK, July 2020.
      • Izian Idris, University of Liverpool, UK, Feb 2017.