World Englishes and social media workshop

Thematic workshop at the 9th BICLCE, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Workshop organisers: Jakob Leimgruber (Basel/Freiburg), Sven Leuckert (Dresden), Sofia Rüdiger (Bayreuth)


Social media have been increasing in popularity and user numbers for upwards of two decades now, with platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram each attracting more than a billion active users on a regular basis (Statista 2021). As a by-product of their popularity, social media platforms also showcase an ever-increasing diversity in languages and varieties of languages used on them. World Englishes on social media are a particularly interesting research object for numerous reasons: First, members of the diaspora may stay in touch with people from their home country using social media (see, for instance, Heyd 2016 on the Nigerian context). Second, being online fosters linguistic creativity and often takes place in informal contexts in which phenomena such as code-switching and code-mixing are prevalent (see Dovchin 2017 for English-Mongolian mixing on Facebook). Third, social media platforms offer completely novel ways of both presenting (from the user perspective) and accessing World Englishes (from the researcher’s perspective), as discussed by Schneider (2016) for the case of World Englishes on YouTube.

As social media keep changing, so does the representation of World Englishes on them, and, as a highly dynamic research field, there are still many questions to be explored. In this workshop, we intend to explore varieties of English on social media platforms in all of their facets, including, but not limited to, ethical questions and research methodology, linguistic features and creativity, and meta-discourse.

Call for papers

We welcome submissions for contributions (20 minutes for presentation + 10 minutes for discussion) addressing one or more of the following aspects:

  • analyses of the linguistic features of World Englishes on social media;
  • meta-linguistic discourse on World Englishes on social media;
  • dynamic English language practices by social media users;
  • translingualism and the study of World Englishes online;
  • methodological approaches to World Englishes on social media, including corpus compilation and design;
  • ethical considerations related to working with digital data, with particular reference to the study of World Englishes;
  • any other issues related to the topic of the thematic workshop.

If you are interested in submitting an abstract, please contact,, and

Please note that we intend to publish an edited collection based on this workshop and have already been in touch with Bloomsbury, who have expressed their interest in publishing this collection in their ‘Bloomsbury Advances in World Englishes’ series. Please let us know in your submission e-mail if you would be interested in being part of this publication project.


Dovchin, Sender. 2017. “The Role of English in the Language Practices of Mongolian Facebook Users.” English Today 33(2): 16-24.

Heyd, Theresa. 2016. “Narratives of Belonging in the Digital diaspora: Corpus Approaches to a Cultural Concept.” Open Linguistics 2(1): 287-299.

Schneider, Edgar. 2016. “World Englishes on YouTube – Treasure Trove or Nightmare?” In: Seoane, Elena and Christina Suárez-Gómez, eds. World Englishes – New Theoretical and Methodological Considerations. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 253-282. (2021). “Most popular social networks worldwide as of April 2021, ranked by number of active users.” Last access: 27 July 2021.