Jen Cope

BA(Hons)(Warw), RSACertTEFL(UTS), MEd(TESOL)(Sydney)

PhD candidate



Phone: +61 2 9036  7143


Building.Room: A36.206

Research project description

Much media attention has focused on the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) since 2008, yet little has been paid to the language and expression of blame and responsibility. An investigation of this expression in commentaries could lead to an understanding of how influential writers have positioned themselves, and their audiences. Additionally, cultural context can impact upon language use and positioning.

This research project, based on a social constructionist epistemology, and carried out from a critical discourse analytic perspective aims to: 1) explore how blame and responsibility have been attributed in written opinion pieces from newspapers in the US, the UK and Australia; 2) investigate how this expression is used to position writers and their audiences; 3) explore how the different socio-cultural contexts can affect the meaning of the language in the texts, even if the main language is the same language of English in each country; and 4) create a theoretical framework from a critical discourse perspective which integrates elements of crisis communication theory and appraisal analysis.

Motivation for studying the impact of context upon language use, stems from the belief that for English language learners to be truly empowered, they need to understand the words that they read and be aware of the impact that context has on the meaning of a text.

Jen Cope has been an academic tutor on the M.Ed TESOL program in the Faculty of Education & Social Work at the University of Sydney. She also participated as an online tutor to undergraduate students in Hong Kong in the USyd Department of Linguistics' English literacy project. Jen additionally has over 15 years' experience as an ESL teacher at TAFE NSW (a major Australian vocational college), where she has taught international and migrant English students, and worked in a supervisory role. Jen's previous career was as a Publisher in the financial, legal and business fields.



  • Cope, J. (2015). Intertextual positioning in newspaper opinion texts from the US, the UK and Australia. Appraisal Symposium 2015: Current Issues in Appraisal Theory and Practice, University of New South Wales, Australia, 18-19 February 2015.
  • Cope, J. (2014). Multiple voices in newspaper opinion texts: Influential writers and their use of sources., The University of Sydney, Australia, 23 August 2014.  
  • Cope, J. (2013). An analysis of blame and responsibility for the Global Financial Crisis in newspaper opinion texts. The 4th New Zealand Discourse Conference, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand, 2-4 December 2013.
  • Cope, J. (2013). Analysing how expressions of blame and responsibility in the Global Financial Crisis may be linked to acts of positioning. ALANZ & ALAA Conference 2013, Rutherford House, Pipitea Campus, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, 27-29 November 2013.
  • Cope, J. (2013). Understanding the links between context, identity and writing strategies in newspaper opinion pieces on the Global Financial Crisis. The 5th International Language in the Media Conference, Queen Mary, University of London, London, England, 27-30 September 2013.
  • Cope, J. (2013). From critical analysis to critical literacy: Gaining a deeper understanding of US, UK and Australian English discourse. The 4th International Conference on English, Discourse and Intercultural Communication, Macao, 4-7 June 2013.
  • Cope, J. (2013).  Empowering English language learners: The importance of developing critical literacy skills. The Third Asian Conference on Language Learning 2013, Osaka, Japan, 25-28 April. (virtual presentation no. 0258 and 
  • Cope, J. (2013).  One language - multiple meanings: How cultural context and intertextuality impact English texts from the US, the UK and Australia. International Linguistic Association 58th Annual Conference, Kingsborough Community College, Brooklyn, New York, USA, 12-14 April 2013.
  • Cope, J. (2012).  One language - multiple meanings: How context informs our understanding of English. 7th TESOL Research Network Colloquium, The University of Sydney, Australia, 1 September 2012.
  • Cope, J. (2012). Empowering language learners: A pedagogical tool to understand how cultural context informs the meaning of hosted by CASIE, Atlanta International School, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 13-15 April 2012
  • Cope, J. (2010).  What can we learn from the expression of responsibility in opinion pieces on the Global Financial Crisis? TESOL Research Network Colloquium, The University of Sydney, Australia, 23 October 2010. 
  • Cope, J. (2010). What can we learn from the media representations of the Global Financial Crisis?  Perspectives on analysing the discourse. Multimodality and Learning International Conference 2010: Environments, Rhetoric, Recognition, Play and Methods.  The Institute of Education, University of London, England, 6-7 July, 2010.
  • Cope, J. (2009). The Vocational College application process as a system of genres: implications for ESL students.  TESOL Research Network Colloquium. The University of Sydney, 5 September 2009.


  • The University of Sydney Postgraduate Award (UPA) 2009-2013

  • The University of Sydney Postgraduate Research Support Scheme Fund 2013

  • The University of Sydney Postgraduate Research Support Scheme Fund 2012

  • The University of Sydney Postgraduate Research Support Scheme Fund 2010

Professional and community roles

  • TESOL Research Network Postgraduate Student

  • Member of the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (affiliated with the Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquee)

  • Member of the International Systemic Functional Linguistics Association (ISFLA)

  • Member of the online AppraisalAnalysis group

  • Member of the Mass Communication Discourse Analysis Group (McDAG)

  • Research Associate of NewsTalk&Text

Thesis work

Project title Degree Supervisor
A critical analysis of newspaper opinion texts from the US, the UK and Australia on the Global Financial Crisis PhD Dr Marie Stevenson

Selected publications

Book chapters

  • Cope, J. (2015). From critical analysis to critical literacy in ESP: Developing skills for greater understanding of UK, US and Australian English texts. In P.N. Shrestha (Ed.), Current Developments in English for Academic and Specific Purposes: Local innovations and global perspectives. Reading, UK: Garnet Education.

Journal articles

Conference papers