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Language.Culture.Matters Seminar Series

Convenors: Clay Becker, Yvette Wang, Zening Yang

When: Every Wednesday 16:00-17:00 (UTC+00:00) Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London.
Where: A0.23; MS Teams

22/23 Term1
05.10.22 16:00

A socio-political critique of the masculinist nature of China’s sports fandom

Dr Altman Yuzhu Peng, The University of Warwick

Abstract: In this talk, I present two of my recent studies exploring the masculinist nature of China’s sports fandom. Both studies are based on a critical discourse analysis (CDA) of social media posts retrieved from the most popular Chinese-language sports fandom platform, Hupu. The first study analyses male Hupu users’ postings about two elite sportswomen at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, elucidating the discursive strategies that male Chinese fans adopt to sexualise sportswomen and trivialise their accomplishments. The second study analyses male Hupu users’ postings about the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement when the movement swept across the globe in 2020, unpacking how discursive portrayals of the movement in Chinese-language sports communication are informed by racism perpetuated in the process of the country’s modernisation. The research findings showcase how China’s sports fandom has evolved as a masculinist terrain, where men’s visions of gender power relations and international geopolitics are negotiated and rationalised.

Bio: Altman Yuzhu Peng (PhD, Newcastle University, UK) is Assistant Professor in Intercultural Communication at the University of Warwick. His research interests lie at the intersections of critical discourse studies, feminism, media and cultural studies, and public relations. He is author of A Feminist Reading of China's Digital Public Sphere (2020, Palgrave Macmillan) and currently co-editing two books: Orchestrated Thinking in Chinese Communications (Routledge) and China, Media and International Conflicts (Routledge). As first or sole author, he has published 20 peer-reviewed articles in such noted journals as Asian Journal of Communication, Convergence, Critical Discourse Studies, Chinese Journal of Communication, Feminist Media Studies, International Feminist Journal of Politics, International Journal of Communication, Journal of Gender Studies, Media International Australia, Social Semiotics, and Television and New Media. He was previously interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Agence France-Presse (AFP), Times Higher Education (THE), and USA Today for expert opinions on gender politics in China.

12.10.22 16:00

Negotiating identities in stories of anti-Chinese racism during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dr Anastasia Stavridou, University of Manchester

Abstract: Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been an upsurge of anti-Chinese racism. This paper investigates the socio-pragmatic processes through which Chinese international students in Belgium discursively deal with the othering processes they encountered during such racist incidents in the stories they tell during semi-structured research interviews. These processes are closely linked to various identities – sometimes projected upon them – which often take the form of the Standardised Relational Pair of victim and perpetrator. Our analysis illustrates the complexities of these multi-directional othering processes which span a continuum from accepting to challenging and rejecting. Findings not only contribute to current conceptualisations of othering, but also give a voice to those who are othered and demonstrate that they can be powerful subjects who may find ways of speaking up and re-claiming agency rather than accepting the victim identities that are often assigned to them.

Bio: Anastasia Stavridou is a lecturer in intercultural communication at the University of Manchester.

Haiyan Huang is a PhD candidate in the Department of Languages and Cultures at Ghent University.

Kim Schoofs is a post-doctoral researcher at KU Leuven, Faculty of Arts.

Stephanie Schnurr is a professor at the University of Warwick.

Dorien Van De Mieroop is a professor at KU Leuven.

19.10.22 16:00

Strategic emotion regulation among foreign language learners

Dr Christina Gkonou, University of Essex

Abstract: Language learning is an emotionally laden experience due to shifts to learners’ identities and a number of face-threatening situations that might occur in language classrooms (Dewaele, 2010; Gkonou, Daubney, & Dewaele, 2017; Gregersen & MacIntyre, 2014; Oxford, 2017). In this talk, I discuss emotions pertaining to classroom language learning and ways of better understanding our learners’ emotions, for example by considering self-reported experiences of emotions gathered through scenario-based tools such as the Managing Your Emotions for Language Learning questionnaire (MYE; Gkonou & Oxford, 2017). I also reflect on the usefulness of differentiated instruction to cater for the affective needs of individual learners and on strategies for helping our learners to become autonomous, both emotionally and academically.

Bio: Dr Christina Gkonou is Associate Professor of TESOL and MA TESOL Programme Leader in the Department of Language and Linguistics at the University of Essex, UK. She convenes postgraduate modules on language teacher education and development, and on psychological aspects surrounding the foreign language learning and teaching experience. She is co-editor of New Directions in Language Learning Psychology (with Sarah Mercer and Dietmar Tatzl), New Insights into Language Anxiety: Theory, Research and Educational Implications (with Jean-Marc Dewaele and Mark Daubney), and The Emotional Rollercoaster of Language Teaching (with Jean-Marc Dewaele and Jim King). She is also co-author of MYE: Managing Your Emotions Questionnaire (with Rebecca L. Oxford) and has published a number of research articles in international, peer-reviewed journals. Her new co-authored book (with Kate Brierton) for Cambridge University Press is on Cultivating teacher wellbeing and will be out in October 2022.

26.10.22 16:00

Exploring vaccine indecision on Mumsnet Talk over time

Dr Zsófia Demjén, University College London


Vaccinations are among the most effective public health tools at our disposal and have resulted in the eradication of or reduced morbidity and mortality from various communicable diseases. Yet, vaccination programmes in 90% of countries in the world have been affected by delayed acceptance or refusal of (some) vaccines despite availability of vaccination services, i.e. ‘vaccine hesitancy’.

As part of the ESRC-funded Questioning Vaccination Discourse (Quo Vadis) project (ES/V000926/1), this talk will explore 426 ‘Original posts’ on the parenting forum Mumsnet Talk displaying this kind of hesitancy in the context of trying to make a decision about vaccinating a child. A keyness analysis using CQPweb, comparing these post to other discussions about vaccinations on Mumsnet Talk, will point towards characteristic concerns and ways in which these are raised in this particular context. I will reflect on the insights gained through this kind of corpus linguistic analysis in relation to more typical quantitative attitudinal research.

Bio: Zsófia Demjén is Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at IOE – UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society. Her research areas include health communication, medical humanities and illness discourse, specifically on depression, psychosis, cancer, and vaccinations. She uses a variety of methods including discourse analysis, corpus analysis, stylistics, and metaphor analysis. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Pragmatics, Applied Linguistics, Metaphor and the Social World, Communication & Medicine, Discourse Studies, and the BMJ’s Medical Humanities among others. She is also author of Sylvia Plath and the Language of Affective States: Written Discourse and the Experience of Depression (2015, Bloomsbury), co-author of Metaphor, Cancer and the End of Life: A corpus-based study (2018, Routledge), editor of Applying Linguistics in Illness and Healthcare Contexts (2019, Bloomsbury), and co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Metaphor and Language (2017).

02.11.22 16:00

Historical-sociolinguistic analyses on early modern court protocols from Switzerland

Dr Christa Schneider, Universities of Bern and Salzburg

In the early modern age, some criminals were brought for trial to the Tower of Bern. Protocols of these trials were collected in the tower books and are today accessible in the State Archive of Bern. Even though these protocols are available to the public, systematic research from a historical, linguistic or jurisprudential perspective is still missing. Reasons for the absence of research may be due to the size of the corpus (approx. 300'000 pages) and certainly also because of the type of handwriting used in the documents, which is not legible for modern readers. In addition, there is only very little research on early forms of the written languages (pre-standard) or on language history in early modern Switzerland.

My project aims to fill some of these gaps. I intend to take a closer look at the (written) language by answering some of the following questions: Was an office language in use and if yes, was it similar to any other office language used in the German-speaking area at that time? How frequent are dialect interferences in the written languages and what functions did they serve? By means of recent methods developed in Digital Humanities, an initial sample of approx. 30'000 pages of the tower books has been digitized and is now ready for analyses. These analyses were performed using automatic text recognition and transcription with the help of Transkribus.

First results suggest that an office language was in use. Furthermore, it is clearly visible that there is a certain degree of dialectal influence found in the written language; however, frequency and function of the dialect traces remain unclear. After taking a closer look to some protocols, it became surprisingly evident that the clerks must have played an important role, as they adjusted their writing style towards a delinquent.

In this talk I want to focus on social variables, which could have influenced the writing of the clerk and offer us now not only the linguistic analysis of the written language itself, but rather provide a historical sociolinguistic impression of the everyday language situation in early modern Bern.

Bio: Christa Schneider is a postdoctoral researcher from Bern, Switzerland and recently became substitute Professor for German Historical Linguistics at the University of Salzburg (Austria). She studied historical linguistics, Baltistics and sociolinguistics in Lithuania and Switzerland and completed her PhD thesis on language variation and change at the University of Bern. Supported by a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation, she is currently conducting research in historical sociolinguistics, where she works at the intersection of digital humanities, history and sociolinguistics.

09.11.22 16:00

Monitoring, Feedback, and accountability in synchronous video-mediated language teaching

Maricarmen Gamero, The University of Warwick

Research on Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) emphasizes the challenges teachers of English experienced while teaching synchronously during the COVID-19 pandemic (Atmojo & Nugroho, 2020; Bailey & Lee, 2020; Tarrayo et al., 2022). However, more research is needed on teachers’ responses to challenges in ERT, including those connected to specific technologies, such as livestreaming and videoconferencing. In this talk I will present part of the findings of a study on the experiences of remote ELT practitioners teaching via MS Teams and Facebook Live. I will particularly address the challenges and teacher responses’ to monitoring and feedback issues. Drawing on qualitative data from video-recall interviews and multimodal interaction analysis of class video-recordings, I will also refer to remote practitioners’ teaching presence and their accountable instructional role. The study features the relevance of situated practice in terms of the platform digital environments and the context-specific strategies that teachers used to cope with the challenges.

Bio: Maricarmen Gamero is currently a PhD student in English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics at the University of Warwick. She has worked in ELT and higher education for 16 years as an online and onsite researcher, teacher trainer, language tutor and programme leader in academic development. Most of her experience has been in Venezuela but she has recently worked as a Spanish language tutor in the UK. Her research interest is in online teacher education and online language teaching and learning, with an emphasis on video resources.

16.11.22 16:00

The discourse of research impact in three academic cultures: Poland, Norway and UK

Dr Marta Natalia Wróblewska, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities


The British REF with its Impact Agenda has changed the way in which academics think, talk and write about their research. Impact, alongside research and teaching has become yet another area in which a scholar must excel to succeed in academia.

The case study method of impact evaluation, first introduced with REF 2014 and used again in REF 2021, was also adapted in national evaluation exercises carried out in Norway (2017) and Poland (2021).

It is curious that implementing similar frameworks of research impact evaluation rendered very different effects in the three countries, particularly in terms of academic discourse.

In my talk I compare the features of the impact case studies submitted by scholars in the three countries linking them to broader qualities of the evaluation systems and academic cultures in which they were produced. In my analysis I draw mainly on linguistic pragmatics (genre analysis) and foucauldian governmentality theory.

Bio: Marta Natalia Wróblewska is Assistant Professor in the English Studies Department at SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw, Poland. She holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics from Warwick University (2019). In recent years she has conducted studies on research impact evaluation in the UK, Norway and Poland. As well as working at one of the Polish funding agencies – National Centre for Research and Development she has advised several Polish universities in the run-up to the national evaluation. She is interested in the mutual relationship between discourse and policy-making. Her recent publication is Wróblewska, M.N. Research impact evaluation and academic discourse. Humanit Soc Sci Commun 8,58 (2021).


23.11.22 16:00

Life Capital: a novel lens for Language Education Research

Dr Sal Consoli, The University of Edinburgh

This talk will draw on Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of capital. Bourdieu’s work has percolated various academic domains and transcended disciplinary boundaries, thereby leading to new vistas and questions. It is in the spirit of generating “new vistas” that this talk offers a novel perspective which may serve as an epistemic and methodological drive to reinvigorate our research practices within language education. In particular, I will argue for a new application of Bourdieu’s sociological concept of capital to account more holistically for the complexities of our research experiences whilst addressing the “realities” and “dilemmas” of our field (McKinley & Rose, 2017). Ultimately, I will propose life capital as a catalyst to promote a fresh a lens which, in the long run, may yield language education research that fully acknowledges, values, and celebrates the humanness of our inquiries

Bio: Dr Sal Consoli is Lecturer in Language Education at The Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh. Previously, he worked at other universities in the UK and Hong Kong. His research focuses on the psychology of language education with specific emphasis on student motivation and engagement as well as language teacher wellbeing. He also has an active interest in research ethics and reflexivity in applied linguistics. Dr Consoli has published in various international peer-reviewed journals, such as TESOL Quarterly, System, and the Journal of English for Academic Purposes. He is co-editor of Reflexivity in Applied Linguistics (Routledge). Dr Consoli has co-edited a Special Issue on Narrative Inquiry for the journal System and one on Research Engagement for the journal Educational Action Research.