Dr Sophia Waters

Lecturer in Writing - Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education; School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Sophia Waters

Phone: +61 2 6773 3318

Email: swaters4@une.edu.au


Sophia Waters has an interdisciplinary background spanning linguistics, French and writing. She is the co-editor of the book Cultural keywords in discourse (2017). She teaches academic and creative writing and has taught a range of linguistics units in intercultural communication, semantics and second language acquisition.

Sophia’s research focuses on discourse studies, semantics and pragmatics using the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) approach. Her languages of specialisation are Australian English and French.


PhD (Linguistics), UNE
BA Hons (Class I, French), UNE

Teaching Areas

Writing (academic, creative and professional) across various WRIT-coded units

Research Interests

  • Semantics (lexical and cultural)
  • Pragmatics (ethnopragmatics)
  • Discourse studies
  • Humour studies
  • Intercultural communication

Research Supervision Experience

Abu-Rabi’e, Malek. ‘Jordanian-Australians’ perception and practice of compliments’. (Expected completion March 2019) Co-supervision with Assoc. Prof. Finex Ndhlovu

Master of Applied Linguistics (MAAL) with Honours
Sadow, Lauren 2014. ‘Cultural scripts in practice: an investigation into applying cultural scripts as a pedagogical tool in ESL classrooms’. Co-supervised with Assoc. Prof. Liz Ellis.

WORK300 ‘Work integrated learning – professional skills development'


Edited book

2017 (with Carsten Levisen) Cultural keywords in discourse, John Benjamins, Amsterdam.

Book chapters

2017 ‘Nice, a cultural keyword: the semantics behind Australian discourses of sociality’, in C Levisen & S Waters (eds), Cultural keywords in discourse, John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 25–54.

2017 (with Carsten Levisen) ‘How words do things with people’, in C Levisen & S Waters (eds), Cultural keywords in discourse, John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 1–23.

2017 (with Carsten Levisen) ‘An invitation to keyword studies: guidance for future research’, in C Levisen & S Waters (eds), Cultural keywords in discourse, John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 235–242.

Peer-reviewed articles

Forthcoming ‘The lexical semantics of blague and blaguer: French ways of bringing people together through persuasion, deception and laughter’, European Journal of Humour Research

2015 (with Carsten Levisen) ‘Lige, a Danish “magic word”?: an ethnopragmatic analysis’, International Journal of Language and Culture, (Special issue on Language and Cultural Values, edited by Bert Peeters) vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 244–268.

2012 ‘“It’s rude to VP”: the cultural semantics of rudeness’, Journal of Pragmatics (Special issue on (Im)politeness in English, edited by Michael Haugh & Klaus Schneider), vol. 44, pp. 1051–1062.

2010 ‘The semantics of French discourse particles quoi and ben’, in Y Tries & R De Busser (eds), Selected Papers from the 2009 Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne, pp. 1–25, www.als.asn.au/proceedings/als2009/waters.pdf.

Conference papers and presentations

2014 ‘The semantics of manners in Australian and Colonial English’, Semantics across Englishes and Creoles: Australian and Melanesian Perspectives, Aarhus University, Denmark, 15–17 October.

2014 ‘The cultural semantics of “sociality” terms in Australian English, with contrastive reference to French’, Linguistics Seminar Series, University of New England, Armidale, 11 September.

2013 ‘Nice and polite: Anglo cultural keywords for social interaction’, Panel on Cultural Keywords in Discourse. 13th International Pragmatics Association Conference (IPrA), Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, 9–13 September.

2013 (with Carsten Levisen) ‘Beyond politeness: Rude Australians and Pig-talking Danes’, Fredagsforelæsning [Friday Lecture Series], Aarhus University, Denmark, 1 February.

2011 ‘Nice, rude, polite: Anglo sociality terms’, Australian Linguistic Society (ALS) Conference, Australian National University, Canberra, 1–4 December.

2011 ‘The meaning of manners in Australian English’, Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) Seminar, Griffith University, Brisbane, 25 August.


2018 ‘How’s it going, Mal? Why Australians can get away with familiarity but French schoolboys can’t’, The Conversation (Arts + Culture), 21 June.

Consultancy Interests

Intercultural communication

Related Links

Media Interviews

ABC Radio with Myf Warhurst 28 June 2018: http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/myf-warhurst/myf-warhurst/9896608

ABC Radio Interview – Lingua Franca, Indecipherably rude