I am a linguist with special interests in the area where linguistics, history and geography meet. I come at language from two directions: I do data-driven historical work, and I also work in linguistic theory.
Mostly I focus on proper names, especially place- and personal names. This discipline is called onomastics. My place-name work is mainly about finding out the origin of English place-names created before about 1500 A.D., but frankly any place-name of any period can be interesting if you look at it in the right way. Most long-established place-names are of Old or Middle English or Scandinavian origin, though a small but significant number are Celtic (deriving from the language ancestral to Welsh and Cornish, or from Irish), and a few are Latin or French. So those are also the languages that interest me most these days. My personal name work is on surnames, and I am involved with a major project (FaNUK) to explain the linguistic origin of as many surnames found in the UK as possible within four years of funded research (finishing in March 2014). These interests also lead to a more general interest in names as linguistic objects, and I have published work on name theory (labelled The Pragmatic Theory of Properhood) in such journals as Linguistics, Language, Journal of Linguistics and Onoma.
The interest in history and geography leads me naturally to work on dialectology, and I have published a book on the traditional dialect of Sussex (called The Traditional Dialect of Sussex!) I am also deeply interested in local history - previously of Sussex and now of the Bristol area.
I did a degree in Modern and Medieval Languages and got my PhD in Linguistics at Cambridge, and started my working life at what is now Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, before spending many years at Sussex, where I was professor of linguistics from 1991-2006 and dean of the School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences from 1998-2003. I moved to UWE Bristol in 2006, where I have worked happily with a great team of first-class linguists.
I am currently a Vice-President of the International Council of Onomastic Sciences, and was formerly its Secretary.
History of western European languages (Germanic, Romance, Celtic); onomastics (the academic study of names) - place-names, personal (given) names and surnames; name theory; dialectology and history of English dialects; phonetics and phonology of regional accents.
General interests in British place-names and surnames.
Local specialisms in the place-names of Hampshire, Sussex, Lincolnshire and the Bristol area.
On the theoretical possibility of proper verbs.Linguistics, 54 (2).
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/27187
Frederick Bligh Bond (1864-1945): A bibliography of his writings and a list of his buildings.
University of the West of England (Research Repository), Bristol.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/25679
Coates, R. and Spittal, J.
Accents, dialects and languages of the Bristol region: A bibliography (state of 5 January 2015).
University of the West of England.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/25225
Coates, R., Hardcastle, K. and Hanks, P.
Italian surnames in the Family Names of the United Kingdom project.Quaderni di Rivista Italiana di Onomastica, 5.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/25800
Coates, R. and Vicker, M.
Bristol vocabulary: A provisional list.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/24526
Hanks, P., Cullen, P., Draper, S. and Coates, R.
Family names of the United Kingdom.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/16302
Oundle, Northamptonshire.Journal of the English Place-Name Society, 46.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/26623
The name of the Hwicce: A discussion.Anglo-Saxon England, 42.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/25802
Rethinking Romano-British *Corinium.Antiquaries Journal, 93.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/25801
The name of the State of Maine: An Irish perspective.Names: A Journal of Onomastics, 61 (3).
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/25803
Wirral revisited.Nomina, 36.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/26622
"Agricultural" compound terms and names in tun like Acton and Barton.
In: Jones, R. and Semple, S., eds.
Sense of Place in Anglo Saxon England.
Paul Watkins Publishing, pp. 211-237.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/20968
A toponomastic contribution to the linguistic prehistory of the British Isles.Nomina, 35.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/27188
Hanks, P., McClure, P. and Coates, R.
Family names of the United Kingdom: A new research project in British anthroponomastics.
24th International Congress of Onomastic Sciences, Barcelona, 2011, Barcelona, Spain, 5-9 September 2011.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/24451
Some consequences and critiques of The Pragmatic Theory of Properhood.Onoma, 41.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/16305
The traditional dialect of Sussex.
Lewes: Pomegranate Press.
ISBN ISBN 978-1-907242-09-0
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/11806
A place-name history of the parishes of Rottingdean and Ovingdean in Sussex.
Nottingham: English Place-Name Society.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/11802
A strictly Millian approach to the definition of the proper name.Mind and Language, 24 (4).
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/11810
Reflections on some Lincolnshire major place-names, Part 2: Ness wapentake to Yarborough.Journal of the English Place-Name Society, 41.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/13673
Reflections on some major Lincolnshire place-names, part 2: Ness wapentake to Yarborough.Journal of the English Place-Name Society, 41.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/16304
Reflections on some Lincolnshire major place-names, Part 1: Algarkirk to Melton Ross.Journal of the English Place-Name Society, 40.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/11814
The name of the island of Annet, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall.Ainm, Journal of the Ulster Place-Name Society, 9.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/7649
Azure Mouse, Bloater Hill, Goose Puddings, and One
Land called the Cow: Continuity and conundrums in
Lincolnshire minor names.Journal of the English Place-Name Society, 39.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/114
Maiden Castle, Geoffrey of Monmouth and Harun al-Rasid.Nomina, 29.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/6731
Properhood.Language, 82 (2).
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/6734
In: Hogg, R. M. and Denison, D., eds.
A history of the English Language.
Cambridge University Press, pp. 312-351.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/6733
Behind the dictionary-forms of Scandinavian elements in England.Journal of the English Place-Name Society, 38.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/116
Verulamium: The Romano-British name of St Albans.Studia Celtica, 39 (1).
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/6732