This Honours thesis examines the language of clinical empathy in an attempt to broaden understanding of what constitutes effective communication in medicine. Linguistic theories of appraisal, affiliation and intonation are applied in a case study analysis of an expert interpersonal communicator, using recorded data from patient consultations. A new graded model of empathic responses is introduced, which uses linguistic criteria to categorise potential responses according to the degree of empathy conveyed. The appropriateness of the different response options is shown to be dependent on the context in which they are used, and this relationship is analysed sensitive to both ideational and attitudinal factors. This thesis extends existing work on affiliation to examine bonding in a professional context, and introduces the concept of 'empathic contours' where empathy develops over several conversational moves. It targets the difficulty in defining, and therefore teaching, interpersonal skills in medicine by proposing some systematic strategies for describing the language of expressions of empathy. In this way it offers the medical discipline a new framework for understanding and teaching empathic communication.