Academic Staff

Picture of Cummings, Louise (Prof.)
Cummings, Louise (Prof.)

1995-2001 University of Ulster
Doctor of Philosophy

1989-1993 University of Ulster
BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy

Room No.AG407
Tel2766 7978

Research Overview

I conduct research in three main areas: Linguistics (pragmatics and clinical linguistics); Communication disorders (particularly pragmatic disorders); and Public health communication. The current focus of my research in pragmatic disorders is on the role that pragmatic features of language can play in the diagnosis of conditions such as dementia. More generally, I am interested in the interface between cognitive deficits and pragmatic language impairments. I have a special interest in pragmatic disorders in complex populations and populations that are currently underserved by clinical language services. My research in public health examines the reasoning strategies that experts and lay people use to assess health risks and inform decision-making. The emphasis of this work is on a group of arguments that are typically characterized as fallacies, but which can be shown to function as facilitative cognitive heuristics during reasoning. To date, I have examined the use of these arguments in an experimental investigation of public health reasoning in 879 members of the public, and by expert scientific committees charged with assessing the human health risks of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in British cattle.

Participants needed for new clinical study of language

Academic & Professional Experience

2001-2017 Nottingham Trent University, UK
Lecturer, Reader and Professor

1995-2001 Queen’s University Belfast, UK
Teaching Assistant

Teaching Areas

Communication Disorders
English Grammar
Clinical Linguistics

Research Interests

Communication Disorders
Pragmatic Disorders
Speech and Language Therapy
Clinical Linguistics
Public Health Reasoning

Selected Publications


  1. Cummings, Louise. (2018) Working with English Grammar: An Introduction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  2. Cummings, Louise. (2018) Speech and Language Therapy: A Primer, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  3. Cummings, Louise. (ed.) (2017) Research in Clinical Pragmatics, Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG.
  4. Cummings, Louise. (2016) Case Studies in Communication Disorders, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  5. Cummings, Louise. (2015) Reasoning and Public Health: New Ways of Coping with Uncertainty, Dordrecht: Springer.
  6. Cummings, Louise. (2015) Pragmatic and Discourse Disorders: A Workbook, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  7. Cummings, Louise. (ed.) (2014) Cambridge Handbook of Communication Disorders. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  8. Cummings, Louise. (2014) Pragmatic Disorders. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG.
  9. Cummings, Louise. (2014) Communication Disorders. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  10. Cummings, Louise. (2014) Communication Disorders Workbook, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  11. Cummings, Louise. (2010) Rethinking the BSE Crisis: A Study of Scientific Reasoning under Uncertainty. Dordrecht: Springer.
  12. Cummings, Louise. (ed.) (2010) The Routledge Pragmatics Encyclopedia. London and New York: Routledge.
  13. Cummings, Louise. (2009) Clinical Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  14. Cummings, Louise. (2008) Clinical Linguistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  15. Cummings, Louise. (2005) Pragmatics: A Multidisciplinary Perspective. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Book Chapters

  1. Cummings, Louise. (2017) ‘Cognitive aspects of pragmatic disorders’, in L. Cummings (ed), Research in Clinical Pragmatics, Series: Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology, Vol. 11, Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG, 587-616.
  2. Cummings, Louise. (2017) ‘Clinical pragmatics’, in G. Yueguo, A. Barron & G. Steen (eds), Routledge Handbook of Pragmatics, London and New York: Routledge, 419-432.
  3. Cummings, Louise. (2017) ‘Pragmatic disorders in forensic settings’, in F. Poggi and A. Capone (eds), Pragmatics and Law, Series: Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology, Vol. 10, Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG, 349-377.
  4. Cummings, Louise. (2016) ‘Clinical pragmatics’, in Y. Huang (ed) Oxford Handbook of Pragmatics, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 346-361.
  5. Cummings, Louise. (2016) ‘Reported speech: A clinical pragmatic perspective’, in A. Capone, F. Kiefer & F. Lo Piparo (eds), Indirect Reports, Series: Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology, Vol. 5, Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG, 31-55.
  6. Cummings, Louise. (2015) ‘Pragmatic disorders and social functioning: A lifespan perspective’, in A. Capone & J.L. Mey (eds), Interdisciplinary Studies in Pragmatics, Culture and Society, Series: Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology, Vol. 4, Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG, 179-208.
  7. Cummings, Louise. (2015) ‘Pragmatics’ in N. Braber, L. Cummings and L. Morrish (eds.), Exploring Language and Linguistics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 194-218.
  8. Cummings, Louise. (2015) ‘Clinical linguistics’, in N. Braber, L. Cummings and L. Morrish (eds.), Exploring Language and Linguistics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 353-378.
  9. Cummings, Louise. (2014) ‘Pragmatic disorders and theory of mind’, in L. Cummings (ed) Cambridge Handbook of Communication Disorders, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 559-577.
  10. Cummings, Louise. (2014) ‘Pragmatics’, in N. Whitworth & R.-A. Knight (eds), Methods in Teaching Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics, Guildford, Surrey: J&R Press, 167-191.
  11. Cummings, Louise. (2013) ‘Clinical pragmatics and theory of mind’, in A. Capone, F. Lo Piparo & M. Carapezza (eds), Perspectives on Linguistic Pragmatics, Series: Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology, Vol. 2, Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG, 23-56.
  12. Cummings, Louise. (2012) ‘Pragmatic disorders’, in H.-J. Schmid (ed.) Cognitive Pragmatics [Handbook of Pragmatics, Vol. 4], Berlin and Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 291-315.
  13. Cummings, Louise. (2012) ‘Theorising context: The case of clinical pragmatics’, in R. Finkbeiner, J. Meibauer & P. Schumacher (eds), What is a Context? Linguistic Approaches and Challenges, Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 55-80.

Journal Articles

  1. Cummings, Louise. (2018) ‘Describing the cookie theft picture: Sources of breakdown in Alzheimer’s dementia’, Pragmatics and Society.
  2. Cummings, Louise. (2018) ‘Public health reasoning: The contribution of pragmatics’, International Journal of Language Studies, 12 (1): 1-18.
  3. Cummings, Louise. (2015) ‘Theory of mind in utterance interpretation: The case from clinical pragmatics’, Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 1286.
  4. Cummings, Louise. (2015) ‘The use of ‘no evidence’ statements in public health’, Informal Logic, 35 (1): 32-65.
  5. Cummings, Louise. (2014) ‘Public health reasoning: A logical view of trust’, Cogency, 6 (1): 33-62.
  6. Cummings, Louise. (2014) ‘Informal fallacies as cognitive heuristics in public health reasoning’, Informal Logic, 34 (1): 1-37.
  7. Cummings, Louise. (2014) ‘The ‘trust’ heuristic: Arguments from authority in public health’, Health Communication, 29 (10): 1043-1056.
  8. Cummings, Louise. (2014) ‘Coping with uncertainty in public health: The use of heuristics’, Public Health, 128 (4): 391-394.
  9. Cummings, Louise. (2014) ‘Analogical reasoning in public health’, Journal of Argumentation in Context, 3 (2): 169-197.
  10. Cummings, Louise. (2014) ‘Circles and analogies in public health reasoning’, Inquiry, 29 (2): 35-59.
  11. Cummings, Louise. (2014) ‘Can there ever be a theory of utterance interpretation?’, Reti, Saperi, Linguaggi, 2: 199-222.
  12. Cummings, Louise. (2013) ‘Clinical linguistics: A primer’, International Journal of Language Studies, 7 (2): 1-30.
  13. Cummings, Louise. (2013) ‘Clinical linguistics: State of the art’, International Journal of Language Studies, 7 (3): 1-32.
  14. Cummings, Louise. (2013) ‘Public health reasoning: Much more than deduction’, Archives of Public Health, 71 (1): 25.
  15. Cummings, Louise. (2013) ‘Circular reasoning in public health’, Cogency, 5 (2): 35-76.
  16. Cummings, Louise. (2012) ‘Theorising in pragmatics: Commentary on Bara’s Cognitive Pragmatics: The Mental Processes of Communication (MIT Press, 2010)’, Intercultural Pragmatics, 9 (1): 113-120.
  17. Cummings, Louise. (2012) ‘The contribution of informal logic to public health’, Perspectives in Public Health, 132 (2): 66-67.
  18. Cummings, Louise. (2012) ‘Scaring the public: Fear appeal arguments in public health reasoning’, Informal Logic, 32 (1): 25-50.
  19. Cummings, Louise. (2012) ‘The public health scientist as informal logician’, International Journal of Public Health, 57 (3): 649-650.
  20. Cummings, Louise. (2012) ‘Establishing diagnostic criteria: The role of clinical pragmatics’, Lodz Papers in Pragmatics, 8 (1): 61-84.
  21. Cummings, Louise. (2011) ‘Considering risk assessment up close: The case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy’, Health, Risk & Society, 13 (3): 255-275.
  22. Cummings, Louise. (2011) ‘Pragmatic disorders and their social impact’, Pragmatics and Society, 2 (1): 17-36.
  23. Cummings, Louise. (2009) ‘Emerging infectious diseases: Coping with uncertainty’, Argumentation, 23 (2): 171-188.
  24. Cummings, Louise. (2007) ‘Introduction: Pragmatics and adult language disorders’, Seminars in Speech and Language, 28 (2): 95-97.
  25. Cummings, Louise. (2007) ‘Pragmatics and adult language disorders: Past achievements and future directions’, Seminars in Speech and Language, 28 (2): 98-112.
  26. Cummings, Louise. (2007) ‘Clinical pragmatics: A field in search of phenomena?’, Language & Communication, 27 (4): 396-432.
  27. Cummings, Louise. (2005) ‘Interpreting Putnam’s dialectical method in philosophy’, Metaphilosophy, 36 (4): 476-489.
  28. Cummings, Louise. (2005) ‘Giving science a bad name: Politically and commercially motivated fallacies in BSE inquiry’, Argumentation, 19 (2): 123-143.
  29. Cummings, Louise. (2004) ‘Rejecting the urge to theorise in fallacy inquiry’, Argumentation, 18 (1): 61-94.
  30. Cummings, Louise. (2004) ‘Argument as cognition: A Putnamian criticism of Dale Hample’s cognitive conception of argument’, Argumentation, 18 (3): 331-348.
  31. Cummings, Louise. (2004) ‘Analogical reasoning as a tool of epidemiological investigation’, Argumentation, 18 (4): 427-444.
  32. Cummings, Louise. (2003) ‘Formal dialectic in fallacy inquiry: An unintelligible circumscription of argumentative rationality?’, Argumentation, 17 (2): 161-183.
  33. Cummings, Louise. (2002) ‘Hilary Putnam’s dialectical thinking: An application to fallacy theory’, Argumentation, 16 (2): 197-229.
  34. Cummings, Louise. (2002) ‘Justifying practical reason: What Chaim Perelman’s new rhetoric can learn from Frege’s attack on psychologism’, Philosophy and Rhetoric, 35 (1): 50-76.
  35. Cummings, Louise. (2002) ‘Rejecting theorising in philosophy: The urgency of Putnamian dialectic’, Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 16 (2): 117-141.
  36. Cummings, Louise. (2002) ‘Evaluating fallacies: Putnam’s model-theoretic legacy’, Philosophica, 69: 61-84.
  37. Cummings, Louise. (2002) ‘Why we need to avoid theorising about rationality: A Putnamian criticism of Habermas’s epistemology’, Social Epistemology, 16 (2): 117-131.
  38. Cummings, Louise. (2002) ‘Reasoning under uncertainty: The role of two informal fallacies in an emerging scientific inquiry’, Informal Logic, 22 (2): 113-136.
  39. Cummings, Louise. (2000) ‘Petitio principii: The case for non-fallaciousness’, Informal Logic, 20 (1): 1-18.
  40. Cummings, Louise. (2000) ‘Mind and body, form and content: How not to do petitio principii analysis’, Philosophical Papers, 29 (2): 73-105.
  41. Cummings, Louise. (1998) ‘The scientific reductionism of relevance theory: The lesson from logical positivism’, Journal of Pragmatics, 29 (1): 1-12. 

Other Publications

  1. Cummings, Louise. (2018) ‘Pragmatic impairment’, in J.S. Damico and M.J. Ball (eds.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Human Communication Sciences, Thousand Oaks, CA.
  2. Cummings, Louise. (2018) ‘Infectious diseases and communication disorders’, in J.S. Damico and M.J. Ball (eds.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Human Communication Sciences, Thousand Oaks, CA.
  3. Cummings, Louise. (2017) ‘Clinical linguistics’, in M. Aronoff (ed), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press.
  4. Cummings, Louise. (2014) ‘Clinical linguistics’, in M. Aronoff (ed), Oxford Bibliographies in Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press.
  5. Cummings, Louise. (2013) ‘Pragmatic disorders’, in J.H. Stone & M. Blouin (eds), International Encyclopedia of Rehabilitation. Available online:

Awards, Scholarships and Fellowships

  1. Visiting Fellow, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), Cambridge University (2006)
  2. Visiting Fellow, Department of Philosophy, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University (1996-1997)
  3. Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award for The Routledge Pragmatics Encyclopedia (2010)
  4. Eila Campbell Memorial Scholarship, British Federation of Women Graduates (1999-2000)
  5. Eleanor Gildea Research Prize, University of Ulster (1993)

Academic Affiliations and Roles, and Professional Associations

  1. Visiting Professor, York St John University, UK (January 2016 to present)
  2. Honorary Research Associate, University of Antwerp (September 2016 to present)
  3. Member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, UK
  4. Member of the Health & Care Professions Council, UK
  5. Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK
  6. Consulting Editor for the book series Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology (Springer)
  7. On the editorial board of: Pragmatics (International Pragmatics Association); Pragmatics and Society (John Benjamins); International Journal of Language Studies (EBSCO Publishing); Journal of Pragmatics (Elsevier); and Journal of Medical Language and Culture (Southern Medical University, China)