Messaging in the Midlands

Dr Caroline Tagg and Dr Esther Asprey from the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics have received seed corn funding from the University's Institute of Superdiversity Research (IRiS) for a data collection trial to be held in the Library of Birmingham from Monday 2 - Friday 6 March 2015. 

Their project, 'Messaging in the Midlands: dialect and diversity as resources for creating digital intimacy and trust', seeks to explain regional linguistic diversity through the lens of superdiversity. In particular, it explores how people pick up and exploit a variety of locally-available resources and identity markers within private digital exchanges. The project extends the concept of superdiversity in three ways: firstly, by its application to private rather than parochial exchanges (in order to explore the contention that it is here that prejudices and strongly-held beliefs may find expression); secondly, by using superdiversity to explain white working-class practices alongside ethnic minority groups; and thirdly, by using corpus linguistics methods alongside ethnographic principles. The project also represents an innovation within traditional dialect variation studies.