Call for abstracts: Conference on Language, Norms and Digital Lives

How do we talk on digital media? How do we talk about digital media? How do we talk with digital media?

Given the development of the Internet and digital media over the last three decades and the impact this has had on the way that people interact both online and offline, these questions are pertinent. Countless online platforms, many of which can be accessed at any given point in time via portable app technology, have given birth to countless communities of practice, ranging from the mainstream to the fringes. Norms and conventions of interaction come into being, some of which are transient and some of which are more permanent.

The lines between online and offline life have become increasingly blurred as it is not only the case that offline practices influence online ones, but online practices also bleed into the offline world. This socio-technological evolution has thus had, and continues to have, ramifications for multiple aspects of language - from structural ones to socio-cultural ones. Linguistic varieties, including registers, discourses, and even digital sociolects, have emerged, as have more generalized conventions. As observed by David Crystal, language change processes, including language death, take place at an accelerated pace in online contexts. The Internet has facilitated new ways of expressing social identity deployed both online and offline, an example of which could be how the language of social media influencers has made its way into the everyday speech of people of all ages. Linguistic interactions in echo chambers on the fringes of the Internet have had real-life consequences ranging from linguistic influence on social upheaval and downright acts of crime. The role of language in people's digital lives has thus become an extremely important object of linguistic research.

In recognition of this, the first Conference on Language, Norms and Digital Lives explores language on/around/about/with/through the internet and invites contributions addressing issues related to language and the digital. We welcome different theoretical frameworks, approaches, and methods – qualitative and quantitative – for example, corpus linguistics, linguistic ethnography, sociolinguistic interviews, and discourse analysis.


This two-day conference takes place at the Department of English, Germanic, and Romance Studies, University of Copenhagen, and is a collaboration between two research groups: Norm, Variation and Language Change and the newly formed Digital Cultures and Languages.

The event will begin both days at 09:00 and last until 16:00.

Call for abstracts

We invite 200-word abstracts in English on, but not necessarily limited to, the following themes:

  • language on social media
  • moving between online and offline interactions
  • digital language practices and everyday Life
  • digital multilingualism and identity
  • mediascapes
  • linguistic variation on- and offline
  • discourses in online contexts and their offline ramifications
  • language and digital cultures
  • how the Internet is talked about
  • memes and other cultural artefacts

Please submit a 200-word abstract no later than 1 October 2024 via email to Johanne Kirkeby. Please note that each paper is allotted 20 minutes for the presentation itself plus 10 minutes for Q&A/discussion. For inquiries, do not hesitate to contact Johanne Kirkeby.