PhD (U of London); BA Hons (UWA)


Kathryn (Kate) Burridge is Professor of Linguistics at Monash University and Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Kate has a broad range of research interests, including language change; the Pennsylvania German of Anabaptist communities in North America; the notion of linguistic taboo; language and ageing; the structure and history of English; prescription and popular perceptions regarding language usage.

She has always seized the opportunity to work with scholars in different areas of linguistics. Ongoing significant partnerships include the following: (1) with Pam Peters, Kate co-directs the Varieties of English in the Indo-Pacific (; established through endorsement by the Union Academique Internationale, this is a collaborative network between key scholars in English regional linguistics based in Britain, Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, China, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand; (2) collaboration with Prof Keith Allan has led to publications on the topics of euphemism, dysphemism, jargon, insult, slang, politeness, taboo, censorship, the use of figurative language and language and the brain; (3) partnership with Professor Réka Benczes has resulted in a number of tangible outcomes in the area of language, successful ageing and effective healthcare communication.

Kate has made it her life work to demonstrate the relevance of linguistics to real life, and to ensure that well-researched principles of linguistics are put above entrenched but inaccurate notions about how language works. For many years she has been maintaining a high level of community engagement, both within Australia and internationally. For nearly thirty years, she has been presenting language segments on radio; for 5 years she appeared as a panelist on ABC TV’s Can We Help, and in 2012 she gave a TED Talk on euphemism and taboo. Kate also maintains strong links with high schools, working on English language curriculum, providing conference and in-service presentations for high school teachers and students, (co)authoring more than 10 secondary and tertiary textbooks.

Kate’s most recent academic books include: Forbidden Words: Taboo and the censoring of language (with Keith Allan, 2006), Gift of the Gob: Morsels of English language history (2010), Wrestling with Words and Meanings (with Réka Benczes, 2014), Understanding Language Change (with Alex Bergs 2018), Introducing English Grammar (with Kersti Börjars, 2019); For the Love of Language (with Tonya Stebbins 2020).  

2003 - Current, Professor, Linguistics, Monash University

1984 - 2002, Lecturer/Ass. Professor, Linguistics, La Trobe University

Since 1997, I have been a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities, and in 2003 I received the Centenary Medal for service to Australian society and the humanities in linguistics and philology.

My research has benefited from a number of visiting fellowships, including:

 My media work has been acknowledged by the following awards:

My teaching has been recognized in a number of ways, including:

  • The Dean’s Commendation of Excellence in Teaching, Faculty of Arts, Monash (2007, 2008, 2009);
  • Overseas guest lectureships and professorships (University of Essen 1992; University of Manchester 1995; Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf 1997-8);

The Canadian Government’s Faculty Enrichment Program award (1988).

1. Burridge, Kate 2020. History of Australian English in: Louisa Willoughby and Howard Manns (eds) Australian English Reimagined: Structure, Features and Developments. London: Routledge. pp. 175-192

2. Biewer, Caroline & Kate Burridge 2020. “World Englishes Old and New: English in Australasia and the South Pacific”; in Daniel Schreier, Marianne Hundt & Edgar W. Schneider (eds) The Cambridge Handbook of World Englishes; pp. 282-308. 

3. Peters, Pam & Kate Burridge 2020. “English in Australia: Extraterritorial influences”, in Modelling World Englishes: A Joint Approach to Postcolonial and Non-Postcolonial Englishes (edited by Sarah Buschfeld and Alexander Kautzsch); pp. 202-227 

4. Burridge, Kate 2020. “Do people swear because they don't know enough words”? In Laurie Bauer & Andreea Calude (eds) “Questions About Language: What Everyone Should Know About Language in the 21st Century”. London: Routledge; pp. 47-64.

5. Burridge, Kate 2020. “Linguistic cleanliness is next to godliness — but not for conservative Anabaptists”, in Language Prescription: Values, Ideologies and Identity (edited by Don Chapman and Jacob D. Rawlins, Multilingual Matters; pp 231-47