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Dr Rachelle Vessey

Lecturer in Applied Linguistics

Diplôme avancé d'études françaises (Université Marc Bloch, France)
Certificate of bilingualism (English/French) (Mount Allison University, Canada)
BA in French studies (First Class Honours with Distinction; Mount Allison University, Canada)
MA in Applied Language Studies (University Medal for Outstanding Masters Work; Carleton University, Canada)
PhD in Linguistics (Queen Mary, University of London)

Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication

Birkbeck, University of London
26 Russell Square,

Research and Teaching

Research Interests

  • I use corpus linguistics and discourse analysis to analyse news and social media in order to demonstrate how “common sense” beliefs about language are related to broader social issues and hierarchies within minority groups, national groups, and a globalised world. Beliefs about language tend to underpin the way people communicate and the kinds of assumptions that are made about different languages and speakers. I am especially interested in the role of the former colonial languages English and French and their role in countries such as Canada. I have published articles related to these areas in the journals Language & Intercultural Communication, Discourse & SocietyCorpora and Multilingua.


  • I am currently teaching on the following modules: Language and Media (Levels 5 and 6), Investigating Language (Level 6), Linguistic Description and Corpus Applications (Level 7), and Introduction to Applied Linguistics (Level 7).

Recent invited lectures include

  • (2015) From multilingualism to superdiversity in corpus linguistics: implications for research. Masterclass for IRiS (Institute for Research into Superdiversity), University of Birmingham
  • (2015) Language politics online. Carleton University, Canada (Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies Speaker Series)
  • (2014) Language ideologies and language rights in superdiverse social media: The case of PASTAGATE. Liverpool Hope University, UK (English Language Research Series)
  • (2013) Language ideologies and discourses of national identity in Canadian newspapers. University of Portsmouth, UK (Language Across Borders lecture series)
  • (2011) Investigating ideology in Canadian corpora. Cardiff University, UK (Linguistics Research in Cardiff [LINC] lecture series)
  • (2011) Ideology and corpora in two languages. University of Portsmouth, UK (Corpus Linguistics in the South workshop)
  • (2011) Discourses of endangerment in English and French Canadian newspapers. SOAS, London, UK (HRELP lecture series)

Conference Presentations

  • (2015) Multilingualism and the language politics of Twitter in Canada. Multilingualism in the Digital Age, University of Reading, UK.
  • (2015) Language Policy and Language Rights Online: Language Ideologies in Canadian Federal Party Leaders’ Tweets. AAAL, Toronto, Canada
  • (2014) Language ideologies in news and social media. CADAAD 2014, ELTE University, Hungary
  • (2014) Language ideologies and language rights in superdiverse social media: The case of Pastagate. Superdiversity: theory, method and practice in an era of change University of Birmingham, UK
  • (2014) Corpus linguistics and language ideologies. Sociolingusitics Symposium University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • (2013) #Pastagate: Language ideologies in new(s) media. Research Methods and Approaches for Analysing Social Media, University of Leicester, UK.
  • (2013) Borrowed words and alterity: Intercultural communication in the Canadian context. Cross-Cultural Pragmatics at a Crossroads III, University of East Anglia, UK.
  • (2013) Instrumental and integrative approaches to language in Canada: a cross-linguistic corpus-assisted discourse study of Canadian language ideologies. Corpus Linguistics Conference, Lancaster University, UK.
  • (2012) Borrowed words and alterity: Intercultural communication in the Canadian context. International Association for Languages and Intercultural Communication, Durham University, UK.
  • (2012) Too much French? Not enough French? The Vancouver Olympics and a very Canadian language ideological debate. Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines. University of Minho, Portugal.
  • (2012) Cross-linguistic semantic prosody. Inter-Varietal Applied Corpus Studies. Leeds Metropolitan University, UK.
  • (2012) Two dimensions of cross-linguistic semantic prosody: Translation equivalents, borrowing, and nationalism in Canada. ICAME, University of Leuven, Belgium.
  • (2011) Methodological challenges in bilingual corpus-assisted discourse analysis. Corpus Linguistics. University of Birmingham, UK.
  • (2011) A bilingual corpus-assisted discourse study of language and nationalism in Canadian newspapers. Corpus Linguistics Conference, July 2011. Birmingham University, UK.
  • (2011) Language ideologies and nationalism in the Canadian media. Language in the media, University of Limerick, Ireland.
  • (2010) The French language in Canada: Popular perspectives and media ideologies. Association of French Language Studies Conference. University of Cambridge, UK.
  • (2010) The French language and belonging in Quebec: An examination of the Bouchard Taylor Commission briefs. British Association of Canadian Studies Conference. Cambridge University, UK.
  • (2009) The role of language in the discursive construction of belonging in Quebec. Corpus Linguistics Conference, University of Liverpool, UK.
  • (2009) The role of language in the discursive construction of belonging in the Quebec nation. Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics Conference, Carleton University, Canada


Selected Research Publications

  • Vessey R. (In Press) Language Ideologies in Social Media: The Case of Pastagate. Journal of Language and Politics, 15(2).
  • Vessey, R. (2016) Language and Canadian media: Representations, ideologies, policies. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Vessey, R. (2016) Review of D. Biber, R. Reppen (Eds), The Cambridge Handbook of English Corpus Linguistics. Journal of English Linguistics, 44 (3), 276-279.
  • Vessey R.(2015) Corpus Approaches to language ideology. Applied Linguistics. E-pub ahead of print.
  • Vessey R. (2015) Food fight: conflicting language ideologies in English and French news and social media. Journal of Multicultural Discourses. 10(2), 253-271.
  • MacDonald M, Homolar A, Rethel L, Schnurr S, Vessey R. Manufacturing Dissent: the discursive formation of nuclear proliferation (2006-2012). Discourse & Communication 2015, 9(2), 173-197.
  • Vessey R. (2015) Review of M. Zappavigna, Discourse of Twitter and Social Media. Yearbook of Corpus Linguistics and Pragmatics. 3.
  • Vessey R. (2014) Borrowed words, mock language and nationalism in Canada. Language and Intercultural Communication. 14(2), 176-190.
  • Vessey R. (2013) Challenges in Cross-Linguistic Corpus-Assisted Discourse Studies. Corpora. 8(1), 1-26.
  • Vessey R. Review of E. Haque, Multiculturalism Within a Bilingual Framework: Language, Race, and Belonging in Canada. Language Policy 2013, 13(1), 79-81.
  • Vessey R. Too much French? Not enough French?: The Vancouver Olympics and a very Canadian language ideological debate. Multilingua 2013, 32(5), 657-680.
  • Freake R. A cross-linguistic corpus-assisted discourse study of language ideologies in Canadian newspapers.In: Corpus Linguistics Conference (CL2011). 2012, University of Birmingham.
  • Vessey R. Review of J. Jedwab and R. Landry (Eds), Life after forty: Official languages policy in Canada.Canadian Public Policy 2012, 38(3), 441-443.
  • Freake R, Gentil G, Sheyholislami J. A bilingual corpus-assisted discourse study of the construction of nationhood and belonging in Quebec. Discourse & Society 2011, 22(1), 21-57.
  • Freake R. The role of language in the discursive construction of belonging in Quebec. In: Corpus Linguistics Conference. 2009, Liverpool.