Dr Caroline Tagg


Lecturer in Applied Linguistics

Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics

Dr Caroline Tagg

Contact details

JG Smith Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


I am a lecturer in the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics at the University of Birmingham. I have a background in English Language teaching and training. My research focuses on digital interaction, including text messaging and online social media.

For a discussion of my research, here is a podcast recorded in May 2012 with the Ideas Lab at the University of Birmingham.


You can also follow me and colleagues on Twitter @linguasocmedia, where we tweet about language and social media.



  • PhD in English from the University of Birmingham, 2009, ‘A corpus analysis of SMS text messaging’
  • MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL from Leicester University, 2004
  • Trinity College TESOL Certificate, 1997
  • BA (Hons) in History and Politics from the University of Exeter, 1997


I started work at the University of Birmingham in September 2011. Before that, I held a lecturer post at the Open University from 2009 to 2011. I had previously taught English as a foreign language in Spain, Vietnam and Birmingham.


I teach on both the campus-based and distance MA programmes, as well as on undergraduate modules in the English Department at the University of Birmingham.

In the academic year 2013-14, I am teaching on the new third-year undergraduate module, 'Ordinary Creativity', and on 'Investigating Language', a first-year module.

I have also been teaching the postgraduate module, 'Second Language Teaching and Learning', in the autumn term and 'Language and New Media' from January 2014. 

Postgraduate supervision

I am interested in supervising students in the following areas:

  • language use and communication on new media sites
  • creativity and code-switching (particularly, but not only, online)
  • projects involving the use of corpus approaches, alongside other methods
  • pedagogic applications of the above.


My research interests lie predominantly in the area of digital interaction, and I am particularly interested in text messaging (which formed the basis of my PhD research) and social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter. I am currently researching multilingual interactions on social media, and particularly the way in which the use of English, alongside other languages, facilitates new translocally-configured communities online.

I am interested in language play and creativity in everyday contexts, including online domains. I have used corpus analysis tools in my research, and am interested in research which combines corpus methods with other approaches.

I am Co-I on the AHRC project 'Translanguaging and translation: investigating linguistic and cultural transformations in superdiverse wards in four UK cities' (PI Angela Creese) which runs from April 2014 for four years. 

Other activities

I am a member of IRiS, the Institute for Research into Superdiversity, at the University of Birmingham.

I am a member of BAAL (British Association of Applied Linguistics).

I am co-founder and secretary of the BAAL SIG, Language and New Media. 


  • Tagg, C. (forthcoming) Exploring Digital Communication: language in action. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Seargeant, P. and Tagg, C. (eds) (2014) Language and Social Media: communication and community online. Palgrave.
  • Tagg, C. and P. Seargeant (2014) ‘Audience design and language choice in the construction of translocal communities on social network sites’ Seargeant, P. and Tagg, C. (eds) Language and Social Media: communication and community online. Palgrave.
  • Tagg, C. (2013) '"Scraping the barrel with a shower of social misfits": everyday creativity in text messaging. Applied Linguistics 34/4: 480-500.
  • Tagg, C., Baron, A. and Rayson, P. (2013) '“I didn’t spel that wrong did i. Oops”: analysis and standardisation of SMS spelling variation’ Lingvisticæ Investigationes, 35/2: 367-388.
  • Hewings, A. and C. Tagg (eds) (2012) The Politics of English: conflict, competition, co-existence. London: Routledge.
  • Seargeant, P., Tagg, C. and Ngampramuan, W. (2012) ‘Language choice and addressivity strategies in Thai-English social network interactions’, Journal of Sociolinguistics 16:4: 510-531.
  • Tagg, C. (2012) The Discourse of Text Messaging: analysis of SMS communication. London: Continuum.
  • Tagg, C. and Seargeant, P. (2012) 'Writing systems at play in Thai-English online interactions', Writing Systems Research 4/2: 195-213.
  • Tagg, C. (2012) ‘Corpora and texting’ in Hyland, K, Chau, M. H. and Handford, M. (eds) Corpora in Applied Lingusitics: Current approaches and future directions. Continuum.
  • Tagg, C. (2012) ‘Good and Bad English’ in Hewings, A. and Tagg, C. (eds) The Politics of English: competition, conflict, co-existence. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Tagg, C. (2012) ‘Digital English’ in Allington, D. and B. Mayor (eds) Communicating in English: text, talk, technology. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Seargeant, P. and Tagg, C. (2011) 'English on the internet and a post-varieties approach to language', World Englishes  30/4: 496-514.
  • Tagg, C. (2010) ‘wot did he say or could u not c him 4 dust? Written and Spoken Creativity in Text Messaging’ in Ho et al (eds) Transforming literacies and language: Innovative technologies, integrated experiences. London: Continuum.
  • Tagg, C. (2007) ‘Corpus-based analysis of SMS text messaging’ in Teo, P. and C. Ho (eds) Discourse in the Modern World: Perspectives and Challenges. Singapore: McGraw Hill, pp. 267-284.


Conference papers

  • '"fancy meeting up for a drink?" The role of metonymy in a corpus of British text messages' Paper to presented at ICAME 35, University of Nottingham, April 2014.
  • 'Revisiting text messaging as a new, emergent register' Paper presented at Register Revisited: new perspectives on functional text variety in English, in Vechta, June 2013.
  • 'Negotiating social roles in semi-public online contexts'. Paper presented at the BAAL-CUP sponsored seminar, Conceptualising multilingualism under superdiversity: membership claims, social categories and emblems of authenticity, at the University of Birmingham in June 2013.
  • 'Moving towards multimodality: implications for corpus linguistics of a study of medical articles'. Paper to be presented at ICAME 34, Santiago de Compostela, May 2013.
  • 'Multilingual interactions on Facebook: where speech communities meet transitory networks' (with Philip Seargeant). Paper presented as part of the colloquium 'Social media/social knowledge' at BAAL 2012 at the University of Southampton, September 2012.
  • 'The role of English as an online lingua franca: code choice and  translocality on social network sites' (with Philip Seargeant). Paper presented at the Sociolinguistics Symposium 19 in Berlin, August 2012.
  • 'Managing online communities: addressivity and language choice on SNSs'. Plenary talk given at the Language and Social Media BAAL-CUP seminar, University of Leicester, April 2012.
  • ‘Orthographic creativity in Twitter: tweeting about the World Cup 2010’ (with Oliver Mason) 2011 International Corpus Linguistics, University of Birmingham, July 2011.
  • ‘Using verifiable author data: gender and spelling differences in Twitter and SMS’ (with Alistair Baron, Paul Rayson, Phil Greenwood, James Walkerdine, and Awais Rashid) ICAME 32, University of Oslo, June 2011.
  • ‘Linguistic hybridity and Anglophone influence in Thai social network interactions’ GURT 2011, Georgetown University, 2011.‘ 
  • “I didn’t spel that wrong did i. Oops”: Analysis and standardisation of SMS spelling variation’ with Alistair Baron and Paul Rayson) ICAME 31 Justus Liebig University Gießen, May 2010.
  • ‘English on the internet and a post-varieties approach to language’ (with Philip Seargeant and Wipapan Ngampramuan) BAAL 2010, University of Aberdeen, September 2010.
  • Head ok but throat wrecked: Grammatical choices in text messaging’ BAAL Conference 2009, University of Newcastle, September 2009.
  • Can’t believe you forgot my surname Mr NAME241, Ill give you a clue, it’s Spanish and begins with m: Anonymising a corpus of text messages’ Corpus Linguistics Conference 2009, University of Liverpool, July 2009.
  • Scraping the barrel with a shower of social misfits: creativity in text messaging’ IVACS Conference 2008, University of Limerick, June 2008.
  • All a bit mind boggling really: some observations regarding the frequencies of a and the in text messaging’ Corpus Linguistics Conference 2007, University of Birmingham, July 2007.

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