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Keynote speaker

Dr Charlotte Taylor

Probing the gap between perceptions and practice: The case of mock politeness

Probing the gap between perceptions and practice: The case of mock politeness
In this talk I will discuss one of the most intriguing aspects of observing language behaviours: the gap between our perceptions and practice.

The case-study that I take to explore this topic examines mock politeness (the kinds of behaviours that might get labelled as being 'sarcastic', ‘bitchy’, 'passive aggressive', 'patronising' etc.) and uses the methods of corpus pragmatics to show the gap between perceptions and practice in two areas.

The first area relates to gender and who performs mock politeness. Much previous research has reported that men perform sarcasm more frequently than women – but is this true? The second area relates to the reasons that speakers give when explaining why they chose to perform mock politeness – do really they do it for the reasons they say?

I start by examining overt discussion of doing mock politeness to access the perceptions regarding mock politeness, and then compare these to the actual performance of mock politeness in a corpus of forum interactions. Through this analysis we can see the emerging gap between how people think they/others use language and what they actually do.

Agnes Bamford & Gabriela Weglowska

Intercultural Competencies Applied to the Training Room

In an era when most environments (countries, communities, companies) are becoming more multicultural, how can we communicate better? What is needed to succeed both when working internationally and when having intercultural work experiences in our home countries?

As recently as 2016, Ott & Michailova described a need to explore exactly which abilities are necessary for effective intercultural interactions in an increasingly diverse business environment. But who does and who can decide what are the essential intercultural competencies?

And once we know the answer to this question, how can we ensure that intercultural training programmes are being designed and deployed in a way that positively impacts global organisations and individuals alike to collaborate more effectively across cultural boundaries?

In this interactive keynote presentation, two intercultural practitioners, Agnes Bamford and Gabriela Weglowska, will explore a process of developing applied intercultural competencies in the training room and transferring them into the workplace.

Firstly, the concept of Cultural Intelligence of David Thomas will be discussed, illustrating the link between high CQ (SFCQ) score and Pull Indicator (high adaptation score).

Secondly, the Intercultural Competence Framework of Darla Deardorff will be presented in the context of designing an intercultural training programme that leads to gaining the essential knowledge, skills and attitudes for culturally competent global professionals.

Professor Prue Holmes 

An intercultural pedagogy for English language teaching and learning in Chinese Universities

The development of students’ intercultural competence has gained increasing prominence in English language education in Chinese universities (as highlighted in the English language teaching guidelines published by the Ministry of Education). In this presentation I draw on a Chinese-European joint project, RICH-Ed (Resources for Interculturality in Chinese Higher Education)1, which aims to develop an intercultural pedagogy for developing Chinese students’ intercultural competence in the context of internationalisation in China. Together, the collaborative team of Chinese and European researchers and teachers are coconstructing a “non-essentialist” intercultural pedagogy that can also be adopted by English language teachers in higher education in China.

Inspired by Connell’s (2007) “southern theory”, Miike’s (2007) “Asiacentric” turn in intercultural communication theory, and Van Lier’s (2004) ecology of language learning, I discuss the emergent convergences and disconnections in seeking to establish a non-essentialist pedagogical framework. Furthermore, the project reveals how ontological, pedagogical, and political divergences and misundertandings can inspire new pedagogies for intercultural communication in a context of national normative assessment.

1. The RICH-Ed project (585733-EPP-1-2017-1-BE-EPPKA2-CBHE-JP), led by Professor Jan Van Maele, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, is funded by ERASMUS+ under the key action (KA2): Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices.


Researching Language on Twitter: Methods and Issues of Big Data Analysis


Twitter is a tremendous resource for linguistic analysis. Its trillions of accumulated tweets provide an unprecedentedly large corpus of unsolicited and relatively naturalistic utterances. Its global user base offers researchers easy access to datasets around the world. And Twitter’s user agreements grant wide-ranging permissions to third parties to collect user content and data about users. Because of these characteristics, language researchers have enthusiastically adopted Twitter as a space for new studies of language, and for new ways of studying language (see, e.g., works collected in Squires 2016).


This one-hour workshop provides a practical introduction to language research on Twitter. Participants will:


1) Review examples of Twitter-based studies of language.

2) Create “developer” accounts in Twitter.

3) Write simple scripts to collect tweets using {twitteR} (Gentry 2015).

4) Build a small corpus of tweets.

5) Code tweets in the corpus.

6) Analyse the corpus.


The workshop will exclusively use free open-source tools. Participants must bring a computer with wireless internet access to complete activities, and may wish to install “R” before arriving (R Core Team 2019; freely available at


The workshop will also note some practical and philosophical issues in Twitter-based linguistic research. Practically, the workshop will address “noise” in big datasets, and demonstrate some methods for quality control in Twitter corpora. It will also introduce part-of-speech tagging and describe the challenges that Twitter corpora pose for tagging, as well as demonstrate tagging with TwitIE (Bontcheva et al. 2013). Philosophically, the workshop will introduce emerging discussions over the ethics of collecting data through Twitter, including a review of research on Twitter users’ views about their tweets being used for academic research (Fiesler & Proferes 2018).

Dr Sophie Reissner-Roubicek

How to succeed in job interviews and assessment centres by using linguistic insights from research on leadership and teamwork

In this workshop you will explore examples from authentic graduate job interviews and develop your understanding of why employers react positively/negatively to different ways that candidates try to sell their skills and strengths when they talk about leadership and teamwork. You will also discuss observational data collected from recruiters assessing team activities and the reflections of participants, in order to help you develop better strategies for demonstrating your employability in a time-pressured group discussion.

Our analytical lens focuses at micro, meso, and macro levels on linguistic/interactional features, discursive strategies, and employment competencies, and offers practical insights on how these are linked.

*There will also be an opportunity to practice your skills at this workshop (details will be sent to attendees in advance about what to prepare).