Alison Rotha Moore

Course Topic Schedule & Readings: readings and resources

Website for Health Semiotics

Welcome to my personal website, the website for my Health Semiotics Lab and the website for the SFL Research Student Masterclass in Health Semiotics.

My Work

About me

I’m a functional linguist based at the University of Wollongong with additional training and experience in general linguistics and also public health. I currently teach functional and social linguistics and have three main research areas – register theory, health discourses, and the representation of animals in ethical and ecological discourses.

Health Semiotics

I have published widely on clinical communication across a range of contexts and modes including HIV treatment consultations, cancer trials, genetic counselling, palliative care, psychotherapy and surgery, looking at language and other modes of communication (including body alignment and images). Currently I’m working on clinical consultation in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I’ve also worked on how our health is driven by discourses outside the health sector. The unified study of these domains is called Health Semiotics.

This site

Currently this site is primarily for research students in functional linguistics to use as part of the Friday 2pm Masterclass. The site will make available reading lists, readings, activities, and assignment information. In time it will also house a portfolio of various health semiotics and related projects I have worked on over the years. Subscribe to my site to get updated when I add new stuff!

Course Readings: readings and resources

Short bio

I started out studying Arts/Law and came to linguistics via the tiny bit of language structure we were taught in English literature, within the ‘Arts’ part. I dropped the Law component and completed Honours in linguistics, with a thesis on phonological disorders in children which showed that kids who made phonological errors but used consistent sound substitutes were in more trouble than those whose approximations of adult English were varied and apparently more chaotic. Along the way I tutored a little and worked as a Research Assistant on the Australian Corpus of English project led by Pam Peters, a synthesised speech recognition project led by John Clark, and on Yallop and Clark’s Introduction to Phonology.

I then switched tacks, sort of, to work and study in Public Health and Community Medicine, noticing that there were a lot of important things about language that were being ignored in our research on what influences health outcomes in Australia. After helping set up a multisectoral project on food and nutrition in Penrith in the 1990s that is still active today, I went back to do a PhD that would help me bring linguistic and health priorities together in what I hoped was a productive way.

My PhD mapped out how shared decision-making in HIV medicine was made manifest in language, arguing that dominant models in health communication research were missing a lot of shared decision that was already happening because they didn’t have an adequate theory of context. I was then awarded an ARC postdoctoral fellowship to work on interaction within surgical teams and its relation to clinical safety, with David Butt and John Cartmill.

Across these and other projects one question I’ve been particularly concerned with is how agency is enacted and represented, both linguistically and across modes including images and body movement. Halliday’s approach to register has been invaluable to me in pursuing these issues.

Some key publications

Ogie, R., James, S., Moore, A., Dilworth, T., Amirghasemi, M., Whittaker, J. (2022) Social media use in disaster recovery: A systematic literature review. Int Journal Disaster Risk Reduction 70: Article 102783.

Karimi, Moore, A.R., Lukin A., Kanazaki, R., Williams, A-J. and Connor, S. (2021) Clinical communication in inflammatory bowel disease: A systematic literature review. BMJ Open 10:e039503.

Butt, D., Moore, A., Wu, C., Cartmill, J. (2021) The pragmatism of drawing context networks: social hierarchy and social distance as dimensions of tenor. Functions of Language 28(3). Special Issue on Context edited by Tom Bartlett (U Glasgow) and Wendy Bowcher (Sun Yat-sen U).

Moore, A. (2020) Progress and tension in modelling register. Language Context Text 2(1): 22-58.

Karimi, N., Moore, A.R., Lukin, A. (2020) Ways of meaning: A case study of two oncologists’ answers to questions asked by advanced cancer patients and their companions. Language Context Text: The Social Semiotic Forum 2(1): 145-170.

Moore, A. (2019) Language and medicine. In Thompson, G., Bowcher, W., Fontaine, L. and David Schönthal (Eds), Cambridge Handbook of Systemic Functional Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 651-688.

Karimi, N., Lukin, A., Moore, A., Walczak, A. and Butow, P. (2018) Advanced cancer patients’ construction of self during oncology consultations: a transitivity concordance analysis. Functional Linguistics 5:6-29

Karimi, N., Moore, A., Lukin A., Walczak, A. and Butow, P. (2018) Life and death: consultations between oncologists and patients with advanced, incurable cancer. In Baklouti, A. and Fontaine, L. (Eds), Perspectives from Systemic Functional Linguistics. London: Routledge, pp. 317-339.

Ogie, R., Castilla Rho, J., Clarke, R. and Moore, A. (2018) Disaster Risk Communication in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities: The Role of Technology Proceedings 2(19), 1256; Published: 26 October 2018.

Moore, A. (2017) Register analysis in systemic functional linguistics. In Bartlett, T. and O’Grady, G. (Eds). Routledge Handbook of Systemic Functional Linguistics. London: Routledge, pp. 418-437.

Moore, A. (2016) Lovers, wrestlers, surgeons: a contextually sensitive approach to modelling body alignment and interpersonal engagement in surgical teams. In White, S. and Cartmill, J. (Eds), Communication in Surgical Practice. London: Equinox, pp. 257-285.

Butt, D., Moore, A., Cartmill, J. (2016) Transactions between Matter and Meaning: Surgical contexts and symbolic action. In White, S. and Cartmill, J. (Eds). Communication in Surgical Practice. London: Equinox, pp. 181-205.

Moore, A. (2015) Can semantic networks capture intra- and inter-registerial variation? Palliative care discourse interrogates Hasan’s message semantics. In W. Bowcher and J. Yameng Liang (Eds), Society in Language, Language in Society: Essays in Honour of Ruqaiya Hasan, London: Palgrave, pp. 83-114.

Butt, D., Moore, A and Henderson-Brooks, C. (2012) Discourse Correlates of the Therapeutic Method and Patient Progress. In Russell Meares, N. Bendit, J. Haliburn, A. Korner, D. Mears and D. Butt (eds) Borderline Personality Disorder & The Conversational Model – A Clinician’s Manual, New York: Norton, pp. 267-290.

Lukin, A., Moore, A., Herke, M., Wegener, R. and Wu, C. (2011) Halliday’s model of register revisited and explored. Linguistics and the Human Sciences 4.2: 187-243.

Clayton, J., Hancock, K., Butow, P., Tattersall, M., Currow, D. … Moore, A. et al. (2007) Clinical practice guidelines for communicating prognosis and end-of-life issues with adults in the advanced stages of a life-limiting illness, and their caregivers. MJA 186: S76-S108.

Lobb, E., Butow, P., Moore, A., Barratt, A., Tucker, K., Gaff, C, Kirk, J., Dudding, T., Butt, D. (2006) Development of a communication aid to facilitate risk communication in consultations with women from high risk breast cancer families: a pilot study. Journal of Genetic Counselling 15: 393-405.

Moore, A. (2005) Modelling agency in HIV decision-making. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics. Special Edition S19: 103-122.

Brown, R., Butow, P., Butt, D.G., Moore, A.R., and Tattersall, M.H. (2004) Developing ethical strategies to assist oncologists in seeking informed consent to cancer clinical trials. Social Science & Medicine 58: 379-390.

For the Health Semiotics course readings go to: readings and resources


University of Wollongong
Northfields Ave
Gwynneville, NSW Australia 2522
t @AlisonRotha

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