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Dr Susan Mandala

Home / About / Academic staff profiles / Teacher Training and Education / Susan Mandala

Associate Professor (Research)

I am Associate Professor of Research in Pragmatic Stylistics for the TESOL team at the University of Sunderland. My main area of research is the representation of sociolinguistic and pragmatic phenomena in diverse kinds of written texts, including popular fiction and drama, english language teaching textbooks, and workplace writing.

Teaching and supervision

I teach on undergraduate and MA modules in stylistics, TESOL, applied linguistics, and research methods. I also supervise a range of BA and MA dissertations, and am module leader for Writing Works, a second year undergraduate option in the critical stylistic analysis of workplace writing, and English in the North East, a final year undergraduate option on language, dialect and regional fiction. Also a contributor to the University's Integrated Foundation Year, I am module leader for the Foundation Project Module.

Research interests for potential research students

As a member of the University of Sunderland Professional Doctorate team, I work with our professional doctoral students on practice-based research and the development of advanced critical synthesis skills. In addition, I  develop and run a range of workshops for the University's PhD students on writing literature reviews.  

A Director of Studies and PhD supervisor, I welcome PhD students in the following areas:

  • The pragmatics and sociolinguistics of fiction (particularly science fiction, fantasy and modern drama)
  • Workplace Writing
  • Pragmatics and TESOL (particularly the analysis of textbooks and materials)


My main area of research is the representation of sociolinguistic and pragmatic phenomena in diverse kinds of written texts, including popular fiction and drama, English language teaching textbooks, and workplace writing. My PhD (University of Cambridge, 2002) compared discourse and politeness norms in advice-giving interchanges in natural talk and textbook dialogues and I have since gone on to investigate politeness phenomena and sociolinguistic diversity in science fiction, fantasy, crime fiction and modern drama, forging new pathways to the interpretation of character and social relationships in these texts.

My most recent publications in this area are 'Listening' to the Neanderthals in William Golding's The Inheritors: A Sociopragmatic Approach to Fictional Dialogue (2018, Discourse, Context and Media 23: 62-69, Special Issue: Sociolinguistics of Fiction, edited by Anastasia Stamou) and Dramatic Dialogue: Re-Assessing Gus’s Role in Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter, published in Dialogue Across Media (2017, edited by Jarmila Mildorf and Bronwen Thomas).

My current work includes a critical study of the literature review as perceived by those who read, write and teach them, and an article on the representation of English language learners in fiction and popular culture.  With my colleagues in TESOL, I am also working on TESOL in the 21st Century: Directions and Challenges for Research and Practice, a research project investigating the changing nature of TESOL in response to advances in critical theory.


Number of items: 9.


Mandala, Susan (2018) 'Listening to the Neanderthals in William Golding’s The Inheritors: A Sociopragmatic Approach to Fictional Dialogue'. Discourse, Context and Media, 23. pp. 62-69. ISSN 2211-6958

Mandala, Susan (2012) Crime Fiction as Regional Fiction: An Analysis of Dialect and Point of View in Sheila Quigley's Bad Moon Rising. Style: A Quarterly Journal of Aesthetics, Poetics, Stylistics, and Literary Criticism, 46 (2). pp. 177-200. ISSN 0039-4238

Book Section

Mandala, Susan (2017) Pragmatic Stylistics and Dramatic Dialogue: Reassessing Gus’s Role in Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter. In: Dialogue Across Media. John Benjamins, pp. 19-36. ISBN 9789027210456

Mandala, Susan (2011) Star Trek: Voyager's Seven of Nine: A Case Study of Language and Character in a Televisual Text. In: Telecinematic Discourse: Approaches to the Language of Films and Television Series. Pragmatics & Beyond New Series (211). John Benjamins, Amsterdam ; Philadelphia, pp. 205-223. ISBN 9789027256157

Mandala, Susan (2008) Representing the Future: Chinese and Codeswitching in 'Firefly'. In: Investigating Firefly and Serenity: science fiction on the frontier. I.B. Tauris, London, pp. 31-40. ISBN 9781845116545


Mandala, Susan (2010) The Question of Style: Language in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Continuum, London. ISBN 9781847063014


Mandala, Susan (2011) Review: The Construction of a Period Dialect: The Language of Arthur Miller's The Crucible and its Sources, by Adrian Pablé. Sage Publications.

Mandala, Susan (2011) Review: Storytelling and Drama: Exploring Narrative Episodes in Plays, by Hugo Bowles. University of Toronto Press.

Mandala, Susan 'Roberta Piazza, The Discourse of Italian Cinema and Beyond: Let Cinema Speak'. Review. SAGE Publications.

This list was generated on Sat Jul 2 00:19:34 2022 BST.
  • Pragmatic stylistics
  • The representation of pragmatic and sociolinguistic phenomena in written texts
  • The language of science fiction, fantasy, and drama
  • Workplace writing

University Memberships
  • Faculty of Education and Society, School of Education
  • Faculty of Education and Society Research Institute
  • Centre for Education, Applied Social Science and Pedagogy Research

External Memberships
  • British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL)
  • Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA)

Last updated 10 February 2022