1. Interrelated concepts: speech, writing, language, communication, and media
  2. What is Social Media? What might a Linguist Say about Social Media?
  3. Language in the Digital World
  4. Acting in a Textually-Mediated Social World
  5. Taking up the Affordances of Multiple Languages
  6. What does it mean to Research? What are Internet Research Ethics?
  7. Analysing Discourse: Qualitative Approaches
  8. What are Ethnographic Approaches?
  9. Carrying Out a Study of Language Practices in Social Media?
  10. Flows of Language Online and Offline
  11. Language Online and Education
  12. Researching Language Online




By the end of the course, a successful student will have developed an appreciation of the historical development, contemporary range, and social significance of different media formats and channels, as well as the role played in each by verbal communication. He or she will have also demonstrated familiarity with and an ability to describe and assess critical issues and debates which cut across fields including linguistics, communication studies and media studies. In terms of practical skills, participants on the course will have learnt how to use English language in a globalized and multilingual world.




The course consists of a series of informal lectures, seminar discussions, and practical tasks. Students will also be offered office-hour tutorials for guidance on coursework and reviewing progress. Final arrangements for such meetings may depend on the number of students enrolled.




20%: Running group tutorials and in-class performance

20%: In-class test, relating key concepts and techniques to data or a scenario provided by the tutor

60%: Individual research paper




There is no single textbook suitable for a 2018 version of this course. The closest available textbooks are:

Barton, D. and C. Lee. (2013). Language Online: Investigating Digital Texts and Practices. London: Routledge.

Page, R., Barton, D., Unger, J., & Zappavigna, M. (2014). Researching language and social media: a student guide. London: Routledge.

A detailed list of required and recommended readings will be provided.



Last updated: 19 December 2018