Richard Coates (born 16 April 1949, in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, and
educated at Wintringham School) is an English linguist. He is
professor of linguistics (alternatively professor of onomastics) at
the University of the West of England, Bristol. From 1977 to 2006 he
taught at the University of Sussex, where he served as professor of
linguistics (1991–2006) and as Dean of the School of Cognitive and
Computing Sciences (1998–2003). From 1980–9 he was assistant
secretary and then secretary of the
Linguistics Association of Great
Britain. He has been honorary director of the Survey of English
Place-Names since 2003, having previously (1997–2002) served as
president of the
English Place-Name Society which conducts the Survey.
From 2002 to 2008, he was secretary of the International Council of
Onomastic Sciences, a body devoted to the promotion of the study of
names, and elected as one of its two vice-presidents from 2011–14
and 2014-17. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in
1992 and of the
Royal Society of Arts
Royal Society of Arts in 2001.
His main academic interests are proper names (both from the historical
and the theoretical perspective), historical linguistics in general,
the philology of the Germanic, Romance and Celtic languages, regional
variation in language, and local history. He is editor of the Survey
of English Place-Names for
Hampshire and principal investigator of the
AHRC-funded project Family Names of the United Kingdom (FaNUK),
running from 2010–16, of which
Patrick Hanks is lead researcher.
He has written books on the names of the Channel Islands, the local
place-names of St Kilda,
Hampshire and Sussex, the dialect of Sussex,
and, with Andrew Breeze, on Celtic place-names in England, as well as
about 400 academic articles, notes, and collections on related topics.
For example, in 1998, he introduced a new etymology of the name
London, deriving it from the pre-Celtic Old European *(p)lowonidā,
meaning 'boat river' or 'swim river', i.e. 'river too wide or deep to
ford', and suggested that this was a name given to the part of the
River Thames which flows through London; from this, the settlement
gained the Celtic form of its name, *Lowonidonjon, by suffixation.
His main contribution to linguistic theory is The Pragmatic Theory of
Properhood, set out in a number of articles since 2000.
He is also the author of Word Structure, a students' introduction to
linguistic morphology (Routledge), and of online resources on
Shakespeare's character-names and on the place-names of Hayling
1 See also
2 Books, dissertations and selected other freestanding publications
3 External links
Etymology of London
Books, dissertations and selected other freestanding
1977 The status of rules in historical phonology. Doctoral
dissertation 10301, University of Cambridge. [Unpublished.]
1987 (co-ed. with John Lyons, Margaret Deuchar and Gerald Gazdar) New
horizons in linguistics 2. Harmondsworth: Pelican; pp. viii + 465
1988 Toponymic topics: essays on the early toponymy of the British
Isles. Brighton: Younsmere Press; pp. v + 124
1989 The place-names of Hampshire. London: Batsford; pp. vii + 193
1990 The place-names of St Kilda: nomina hirtensia. Lampeter: Edwin
Mellen (ISBN 9780199677764 Celtic Studies 1); pp. viii + 221
1991 The ancient and modern names of the Channel Islands: a linguistic
history. Stamford: Paul Watkins; pp. xiv + 144
1992 (ed.) De A.B.C. psalms by Jim Cladpole (James Richards).
Brighton: Younsmere Press; pp. 46 (ISBN 0-9512309-6-4).
Hampshire place-names. Southampton: Ensign Publications.
Paperback edition of The place-names of Hampshire; pp. 193
(ISBN 185455 090 X).
1996–2007 (ed.) Locus focus: forum of the
Sussex place-names net (7
vols, 14 issues).
1999 The place-names of West Thorney. Nottingham: English Place-Name
Society (supplementary series 1); pp. v + 64 (ISBN 0904889 52 1).
1999 Word structure. London and New York: Routledge (Routledge
Language Workbooks); pp. ix + 101 (ISBN 0 415 20631 6). [Student
guide to morphology. Also available as an e-book from 2005.]
2000 (with Andrew Breeze; including a contribution by David Horovitz)
Celtic voices, English places: studies of the Celtic impact on
place-names in England. Stamford: Shaun Tyas; pp. xiv + 433
2006 (guest ed.) Name theory.
Special issue of Onoma, vol. 41 (spine
date 2006; appeared 2011); pp. 309 (ISSN 0078-463X, eISSN
2007 The place-names of Hayling Island, Hampshire. [MS. of 1991.
2010 A place-name history of the parishes of Rottingdean and Ovingdean
Sussex (including Woodingdean and Saltdean). Nottingham: English
Place-Name Society (Regional series 2); pp. xviii + 222,
ISBN 978-0-904889-84-0. [Published with the aid of a grant from
the British Academy.]
2010 The traditional dialect of Sussex: a history, description,
selected texts, bibliography and discography. Lewes: Pomegranate
Press; pp. 349. (ISBN 978-1-907242-09-0.) [Published with
the aid of a grant from the Marc Fitch Fund.]
2016 (co-ed. with
Patrick Hanks and Peter McClure) The Oxford
dictionary of family names in the United Kingdom. Oxford: Oxford
University Press. (ISBN 9780199677764; also ebook and online
2017 Wilkins of Westbury and Redland: the life and writings of the
Rev. Dr Henry John Wilkins (1865-1941). Bristol: Avon Local History
Association pamphlet 24.
2017 Your city's place-names: Brighton and Hove. Nottingham: English
2017 Your city's place-names: Bristol. Nottingham: English Place-Name
(forthcoming 2017/18) Places, names and history in north-west Bristol:
Shirehampton, Avonmouth and King’s Weston.
, University of the West of England: Richard Coates, where a list
of his main recent publications can be found.
^ Coates, Richard (1998). "A new explanation of the name of London".
Transactions of the Philological Society. 96 (2): 203–229.
^ Coates, Richard (2006). "Properhood". Language. 82 (2): 356–382.
^ Coates, Richard (2006). "Some consequences and critiques of The
Pragmatic Theory of Properhood". Onoma. 41: 27–44.
^ Coates, Richard (2007). "A strictly Millian approach to the
definition of the proper name". Mind and Language. 24 (4): 433–444.
^ Coates, Richard (2012). "Eight issues in The Pragmatic Theory of
Properhood". Acta Linguistica Lithuanica/ Lietuvių kalbotyros
klausimai. 66: 119–140.