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Dr Caroline Tagg

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Lecturer, English Language and Applied Linguistics
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies
  • School of Languages and Applied Linguistics
  • English Language and Applied Linguistics
  • caroline.tagg

Professional biography

I began my current post at the Open University in October 2015. Prior to that, I was a lecturer at the University of Birmingham, where I gained my PhD with a thesis titled 'A corpus analysis of SMS text messaging'. I have an MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL from Leicester University, and previously worked as a TESOL teacher in Spain and then in Vietnam with the British voluntary organisation, Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).

Research interests

My research into language and digital technologies rests on the understanding that digital communication practices are deeply embedded into individuals’ wider social, economic and political lives. I have expertise in a range of research methods from corpus linguistics to linguistic ethnography, and in various analytical concepts including Appraisal theory, audience design, everyday creativity, heteroglossia and translanguaging. My contribution to understanding the impact of digital communication is fourfold.

  • Firstly, I have shown how linguistic analysis can challenge popular assumptions regarding the detrimental effect of digital communication on language and literacy, suggesting instead that non-standard spelling practices be seen as acts of performativity (The Discourse of Text Messaging, Continuum 2012).
  • Secondly, with Philip Seargeant and Amy Aisha Brown, I have explored how miscommunication on social media sites like Facebook can be understood as processes of context design, whereby users draw on their awareness of complex contextual factors in styling utterances for unseen audiences (Taking Offence on Social Media, Palgrave 2017). See our project website.
  • Thirdly, with Mel Evans, I am developing a distinctive transhistorical approach to the study of so-called new media which challenges claims to novelty by exploring continuities with earlier technology uses (Historicising the Digital, Mouton de Gruyter forthcoming).
  • Finally, drawing on my work as Co-I on the AHRC-funded research project ‘Translation and Translanguaging’ (PI: Angela Creese), I am addressing the complexities involved in understanding contemporary communicative practices with an approach to digital communication I call blended linguistic ethnography which combines online and offline data to explore how people use digital technology as a tool in their social and working lives.

My research throws up new imperatives and challenges for applied social research in the field of language and social media, and has implications for pedagogic interventions aimed at equipping children and adults with critical digital literacies for social interaction in the twenty-first century.

Research students interested in working in any area related to language and digital technology are encouraged to get in touch. I currently supervise three PhD students:

  • Shi Min Chua: Educators and learners’ roles in discussion activities on FutureLearn
  • Christina Lyrigkou: Incidental acquisition of English as a foreign language: the uptake of discourse markers and natural fillers through mobile assisted language use
  • Robert Stroud: Goal-setting, feedback and assessment for second language group discussions.

I am co-convenor of the Open University research group Applied Linguistics and Literacies within the Languages and Applied Linguistics research cluster, and convenor of the OU Digital Sociolinguistics SIG.

Teaching interests

My teaching interests span a wide range of applied linguistics topics and areas of expertise. I am currently working across modules on our MA in Education (Applied Linguistics) programme, including the Stage 2 module 'Language, literacy and learning' (EE818) and the Stage 3 Dissertation module (EE819). I also work on our Level 3 undergraduate module 'Exploring English grammar' (E304) and I am involved in developing a Level 1 undergraduate module which introduces students to contemporary issues related to language, and the concepts needed to address them.

Impact and engagement

I am a member of the BAAL Executive Committee, on which I am responsible for coordinating the BAAL SIGs. I am a co-founding member of the BAAL Language and New Media SIG. 

With Philip Seargeant, I have written articles in The Conversation and The Times Higher Education magazine on the implications of our research for recent debates around online filter bubbles and fake news.

The filter bubble isn’t just Facebook’s fault – it’s yours (The Conversation, 5th Dec 2016)

Fake news: the solution is education, not technology (THE, 29th Dec 2016)

The real reason you can’t quit Facebook? Maybe it’s because you can judge your friends (12th July 2017)

I have given various public talks, including one at the Library of Birmingham held as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences November 2014, and another as part of the Church Inn's Music and a Lecture series, Jewellry Quarter, Birmingham.

Publications

Metonymy and Text Messaging: A Framework for Understanding Creative Uses of Metonymy (2018)
Littlemore, Jeannette and Tagg, Caroline
Applied Linguistics, amw018 (pp. 1-28)
The ethics of digital ethnography in a team project (2017-06)
Tagg, Caroline; Lyons, Agnieszka; Hu, Rachel and Rock, Frances
Applied Linguistics Review, 8(2-3) (pp. 271-292)
Heteroglossia in text-messaging: performing identity and negotiating relationships in a digital space (2016-02)
Tagg, Caroline
Journal of Sociolinguistics, 20(1) (pp. 59-85)
Evaluative Language and Its Solidarity-Building Role on TED.com: An Appraisal and Corpus Analysis (2015)
Drasovean, Anda and Tagg, Caroline
Language@Internet, 12, Article 1
Scraping the barrel with a shower of social misfits': everyday creativity in text messaging (2013-09)
Tagg, Caroline
Applied Linguistics, 34(4) (pp. 480-500)
Language choice and addressivity strategies in Thai-English social network interactions (2012-09)
Seargeant, Philip; Tagg, Caroline and Ngampramuan, Wipapan
Journal of Sociolinguistics, 16(4) (pp. 510-531)
"I didn’t spel that wrong did i. Oops": analysis and standardisation of SMS spelling variation (2012-06-01)
Tagg, Caroline; Baron, Alistair and Rayson, Paul
Lingvisticae Investigationes, 35(2) (pp. 367-388)
Writing systems at play in Thai-English online interactions (2012)
Tagg, Caroline and Seargeant, Philip
Writing Systems Research, 4(2) (pp. 195-213)
English on the internet and a ‘post-varieties’ approach to language (2011-12)
Seargeant, Philip and Tagg, Caroline
World Englishes, 30(4) (pp. 496-514)
Taking Offence on Social Media: Conviviality and Communication on Facebook (2017)
Tagg, Caroline; Seargeant, Philip and Brown, Amy Aisha
Pivot
Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan
Exploring Digital Communication: language in action (2015-02-27)
Tagg, Caroline
ISBN : 978-0-415-52491-9 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
The Discourse of Text Messaging: Analysis of SMS communication (2012)
Tagg, Caroline
ISBN : 9781441174093 | Publisher : Continuum | Published : London
Negotiating social roles in semi-public online contexts (2016-12-08)
Tagg, Caroline and Seargeant, Philip
In: Leppänen, Sirpa; Westinen, Elina and Kytölä, Samu eds. Social Media Discourse, (Dis)identifications and Diversities. Routledge Studies in Sociolinguistics (13) (pp. 211-234)
ISBN : 978-1-138-65141-8 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Facebook and the discursive construction of the social network (2015-07-27)
Tagg, Caroline and Seargeant, Philip
In: Georgakopoulou, Alexandra and Spilioti, Tereza eds. The Routledge Handbook of Language and Digital Communication (pp. 339-353)
ISBN : 9780415642491 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
Introduction: The language of social media (2014-02)
Seargeant, Philip and Tagg, Caroline
In: Seargeant, Philip and Tagg, Caroline eds. The Language of Social Media: Identity and Community on the Internet (pp. 1-19)
ISBN : 9781137029300 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
Audience design and language choice in the construction and maintenance of translocal communities on social network sites (2014)
Tagg, Caroline and Seargeant, Philip
In: Seargeant, Philip and Tagg, Caroline eds. The Language of Social Media: Identity and Community on the Internet (pp. 161-185)
ISBN : 9781137029300 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
Texting and corpora (2012-04-19)
Tagg, Caroline
In: Hyland, Ken; Huat, Chau Meng and Handford, Michael eds. Corpus Applications in Applied Linguistics (pp. 150-165)
ISBN : 9781441107800 | Publisher : Continuum | Published : London
Wot did he say or could u not c him 4 dust? Written and spoken creativity in text messaging (2011)
Tagg, Caroline
In: Ho, Caroline M. L.; Anderson, Kate T. and Leong, Alvin P. eds. Transforming Literacies and Language: Multimodality and Literacy in the New Media Age (pp. 223-236)
ISBN : 9781441123916 | Publisher : Continuum | Published : London
Corpus-based analysis of SMS text messaging (2007)
Tagg, Caroline
In: Teo, Peter and Ho, Caroline Mei Lin eds. Discourse in the Modern World: perspectives and challenges (pp. 267-284)
ISBN : 9780071264921 | Publisher : McGraw-Hill Education | Published : Singapore
The Language of Social Media: Identity and Community on the Internet (2014-02)
Seargeant, Philip and Tagg, Caroline eds.
ISBN : 978-1-137-02930-0 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
The Politics of English Conflict, Competition, Co-existence (2012-05-10)
Hewings, Ann and Tagg, Caroline eds.
Worlds of English
ISBN : 978-0-415-67424-9 | Publisher : Routledge in association with the Open University | Published : Abingdon

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