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Guest Lecture by Cecilia Cutler

Cecelia Cutler

Date: 05.04.2023

Heure: 16:15 – 17:45 h

Lieu: F-123, Unitobler




The idea of the ‘habitus’ as embodied forms of accumulated cultural capital is one of Bourdieu's most influential concepts. It refers to the deeply ingrained habits, skills, and dispositions that we possess due to our life experiences, and which reproduce the social structure. But this is perhaps a very static way of viewing embodiment. More recent work frames embodiment as something much more agentive and flexible and inseparable from affect (Pratt 2021, de Certeau 1984). Affect can be described as the outward expression of subjective feelings and emotions. Citing Goffman (1978), Pratt (2021) writes that it is impossible to make an utterance that is devoid of some kind of perceivable affect. Indeed, as she observes, “Affect courses through the interactional moments wherein we produce and interpret stylistic variation, and in doing so it constitutes and reflects both conventionalized displays of emotion as well as the ideological rendering of styles and personae (2). In this talk, I explore the intersection of embodied and linguistic displays of affect in metadiscursive and metapragmatic comments about New York City English from YouTube. New Yorkers have been described as using a “high energy speech style” characterized by frequent interruptions, high-pitch, machine-gun style questioning, incessant talking, sudden change of topics, and complaining (Tannen 1981; 2005). In the paper, I show how the New York City conversational style gets iconically linked to particular kinds of affective display and personae.


Cecelia Cutler est professeur de linguistique au Lehman College et au Graduate Center de la City University of New York. Elle est actuellement directrice générale (présidente) du programme PhD/MA en linguistique au CUNY Graduate Center. Ses travaux portent sur la langue et l'identité, la langue dans les médias numériques et les attitudes et idéologies linguistiques. Ses travaux récents ont été publiés dans American Speech, Language Variation and Change et World Englishes. Ses volumes récents comprennent Multilingual youth practices in Computer-Mediated Communication (2018), coédité avec Unn Røyneland (Cambridge University Press) et Digital Orality coédité avec May Ahmar et Soubeika Bahri (2022) (Palgrave).

Family multilingualism in the 21st century

Elizabeth Lanza

Date: 26.04.2023

Heure: 16:15 – 17:45 h

Lieu: F-123, Unitobler




With increased transnational migration in recent years, especially as experienced in Europe, raising children with more than one language has become more and more common as people cross borders, integrate into new cultural-linguistic landscapes, form intermarriages and partnerships, and establish multilingual families. Home language maintenance and language development in these multilingual families have become highly complex, given the social, cultural and linguistic changes brought about by contemporary globalization with new communication technologies and changes in the political and economic landscape. The family as a context for the child’s learning of language(s) has been addressed from various epistemological stances. Developmental psycholinguistics has held a long tradition in studying children’s language development in the home with a more recent focus on input and experience. On the other hand, sociolinguistics has increasingly turned its attention to children’s language learning in the home through the burgeoning field of family language policy, which draws on theoretical frameworks of language policy, language socialization, literacy studies, and child language acquisition. The field of family language policy has evolved from its earlier emphasis on the question of what (socio)linguistic environments are conducive to the learning of two or more languages in the family to more critical perspectives on family, identity and ideology, and the impact this has on the child’s language development and use and, more generally, on the family and family language practices. In my talk I will present and discuss new directions in the study of multilingual families, as demonstrated in the evolving field of family language policy. This includes a critical perspective on the notion of ‘family’ and, with a focus on Norway, on how families with a migrant background navigate public and private discourses on the transnational family.


Elizabeth Lanza est professeur émérite de linguistique et ancienne directrice du Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan (MultiLing) à l'université d'Oslo - un centre d'excellence financé par le Conseil de la recherche de Norvège. Elle est également membre élu de l'Académie norvégienne des sciences et des lettres. Mme Lanza a publié de nombreux ouvrages sur le multilinguisme, abordant les questions de socialisation linguistique, de politiques et de pratiques linguistiques familiales, de récits de migrants, d'idéologie linguistique, de politique linguistique, de paysage linguistique et de méthodologie de recherche.

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Discourse, digitization and women’s rights groups in Nigeria and Ghana: Examining online campaign discourses

Innocent Chiluwa

Date: 08.03.2023

Heure: 16:15 – 17:45 h

Lieu: F-123, Unitobler





This study shows what online activism by women’s rights groups in Nigeria and Ghana looks like, especially by exploring their online advocacy and campaign approaches. Applying the new social movement theories with methodological insights from pragmatics and discourse analysis, the study examines and analyses how gender issues such as political participation, human trafficking and violence against women are mediated discursively. The study further assesses the roles of social media in the campaign programmes of the women’s rights groups (WRGs) under study. One group each from Nigeria and Ghana are selected for the study. These WRGs exist both online and offline but engage in some unique and interesting discursive advocacy practices that campaign for gender equality, human rights, and women’s political empowerment.

Keywords: discourse, digitization, activism, campaign discourse, political participation, women’s rights groups, Nigeria, Ghana.


Innocent Chiluwa is a Professor in English Linguistics and Media/Digital Communications in the Department of Languages & General Studies, Covenant University, Nigeria. He is a Georg Forster Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) (Bonn), and a Humboldt scholar & visiting Professor in the Department of English, University of Freiburg. He is also an associate member of the Africa Centre for Transregional Research (ACT) at the University of Freiburg, Germany.  He is currently on a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS), where he is investigating the role of digitization in activism and political campaigns of women’s rights advocacy groups in Europe and Africa.

He has published books and edited volumes in media discourse, social media and society, discourse and conflict studies and deception studies. His most recent edited books include Discourse, media and conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2022), and Discourse and Conflict, (Palgrave, 2021).

Prof. Chiluwa is on the Editorial Boards of Discourse & Society (SAGE), Journal of Multicultural Discourses (Routledge) and the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication (Taylor & Francis).