Prof. Dr. Britta Schneider
Kulturwissenschaftliche Fakultät (Kuwi)
15230 Frankfurt (Oder)
🏠 AM 122
☏ +49 335 5534 2734
📠 +49 335 5534 72495
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- Language, Migration and Globalization
- Language Diversity, Language Contact
- Language Ideology Research and the Social Indexicality of Language
- The Materiality of Language
- Language in Transnational Settings (Music, Dance, Literature, Digital Space, Consumption)
- Language and the Creation of Public Space
- Language Policy
- Language and Gender
- Mitglied im Rat für Migration
- Mitglied des Management Committees der COST Action 'Language in The Human-Machine Era' für Deutschland (www.lithme.eu)
- Honorary Lecturer University College London
Current Research Projects
The Construction of Language in Digital Society
This project is concerned with posthumanist understandings of correct language and ‘normal’ language use in the context of digital culture. While today’s concepts of standard language and linguistic appropriateness are still framed in traditions of literacy, technologies of the printing press, ideologies of the ‘native’ speaker and national boundedness, some of the modernist certainties regarding language become dismantled in contemporary communication practices. In this project, transformations of language and of concepts of language (referred to as language ideologies in linguistic anthropology) are approached. Embedded in general observations on digital language practices, including informal written interaction, the emergence of transnational communities and the ideological and technological underpinnings of AI translation tools, the main focus of the project is the analysis of human-machine interaction. I study the impact of voice-controlled human-machine interaction on the conceptualization of language appropriateness as well as on the conceptualization of computers as interaction partners. Qualitative interviews with users of voice-controlled digital assistants such as Siri and Alexa here give insight into the effects of new conversational practices on language ideologies in the 21st century that overcome national borders but at the same time display new logics of inclusion and exclusion.
- Heyd, Theresa, and Britta Schneider. 2019. Special Issue: The Sociolinguistics of Late Modern Publics. Journal of Sociolinguistics 23.
- Schneider, Britta. 2020. “Was ist richtige Sprache in digitaler Gesellschaft? Von der Gutenberg zur Alexa Galaxie.“ Beitrag auf dem Blog des Humboldt Instituts für Internet und Gesellschaft (HIIG) https://www.hiig.de/was-ist-richtige-sprache-in-digitaler-gesellschaft-von-der-gutenberg-zur-alexa-galaxie/
- Does Alexa have Linguistic Authority? An Interview with Dr. Britta Schneider. https://edgeryders.eu/t/does-alexa-have-linguistic-authority-an-interview-with-dr-britta-schneider/13245
Post-national Acts of Identity – Language Ideologies in Multilingual Belize
What is a language if we are not sure of how to define the community who speaks it? And what contributes to the emergence of languages and language boundaries in the first place? These questions form this project’s underlying interest in language ideologies in linguistically complex Belize. The study is based on an ethnographic field study conducted in a village characterized by linguistic diversity and inter-ethnic complexity. It gives voice to multilingual speakers whose concepts of language use often do not fit into Western paradigms of the relationship of language and social order. It thus contributes to overcoming a view on language as ‘naturally’ appearing in homogenous, coherent systems, tied to distinct cultural groups. The study of language and of language ideologies in Belize, a context in which languages and social units do not straightforwardly link to each other, exhibits discursive processes that co-construct languages as systemic entity. At the same time, the data demonstrates that a priori epistemological assumptions of languages as given entities as common in the discipline of linguistics are problematic. Thus, the analysis of observational, conversational and interview data from this highly complex linguistic setting proves to be relevant for reframing contemporary linguistic theory where ideologies of ‘one language-one nation language’ have become dismantled.Related publications (selection):
- Schneider, Britta (submitted habilitation thesis). Liquid Languages. Polymorphous Acts of Identity and the Fluidity of Language Categories in Linguistically Complex Belize
- Schneider, Britta. 2017. "Lobster, tourism and other kinds of business. Economic opportunity and language choice in a multilingual village in Belize" Special Issue 'Language, Mobility and Work' in Journal of Language and Intercultural Communication https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14708477.14702018.11474887
- Schneider, Britta. 2017. “‘It’s Kriol they’re speaking!’ – Constructing language boundaries in multilingual and ethnically complex communities.” In: Elmiger, Daniel et al. (eds.) Bulletin VALS-ASLA: Bulletin suisse de linguistique appliquée. Neuchâtel: Institut de Linguistique de l’Université de Neuchâtel. http://doc.rero.ch/record/11876/files/bulletin_vals_asla_2017_special_1.pdf
Anglophone Third Wave Coffee Culture – English in Transnational Communities
This project is interested in the language practices of non-national, non-ethnic social formations that come into being on grounds of digital interaction as well as locally grounded practice. While major social formations such as nation, class and gender continue to be crucial in understanding language use of individuals, we can observe the emergence of communities that are based on practices of, for example, media consumption, popular music culture, sports or gaming. Such ‘communities of knowledge’ often makes use of English and criss-cross traditional ideas of language and belonging, implying that concepts of linguistic appropriateness may become reconfigured in often Anglophone but multilingual and transnational interaction. The project focuses on a particular community of consumption that has come into being on grounds of the production, distribution and sale of coffee. Third Wave Coffee Culture is a global urban phenomenon in capitalist culture in which elitist ideologies related to the consumption of a luxury product clash with discourses on egalitarianism, support of marginalized populations in the countries of coffee production and ecological ideals. The dominance of symbolic but also interactional uses of English as an index of new forms of community formation and social hierarchy is the particular interest of this study, methodologically realized on grounds of observational and interview data in Berlin’s localization of Third Wave Coffee Culture.
- Schneider, Britta (in press). "Language in transnational communities of consumption – indexical functions of English in Third-Wave Coffee Culture." In: Rüdiger, Sofia & Susanne Mühleisen (eds.). Talking about Food – The Social and the Global in Eating Communities. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
- Heyd, Theresa & Britta Schneider. 2019. Anglophone communities in Germany: the case of Berlin. In: Hickey, Raymond (ed.) English in the German-Speaking World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Schneider, Britta & Theresa Heyd, eds. (in preparation) Bloomsbury World Englishes. Paradigms. London: Bloomsbury.
Recently finalised projects
- Wild Publics – Language in public space under the conditions of late modernity (2019, cooperation with Theresa Heyd, FU Berlin)
- The Sociolinguistic Economy of Berlin (2019, cooperation with Theresa Heyd and Ferdinand von Mengden, FU Berlin)
- Webtalk: Machtverhältnis Sprache und Demokratie, Gegen Vergessen - Für Demokratie e.V. 22.09.2022
- Menschliche Maschinen, Märkische Oder Zeitung 01.08.2022 https://www.moz.de/nachrichten/brandenburg/forschung-in-brandenburg-sprechen-wir-bald-wie-roboter_-computer-und-kuenstliche-intelligenz-auf-dem-vormarsch-65197115.html
- Language norms in social media, Deutschlandfunk Kultur 14.07.2018 https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/rechtschreibung-in-den-sozialen-medien-ich-bin-doch-kein.2147.de.html?dram:article_id=422973
- Language, discourse and reality in contemporary discourses on migration Märkische Allgemeine 11.07.2018 http://www.maz-online.de/Nachrichten/Kultur/Transitzentren-Ankerzentren-Asyltourismus-Wie-Seehofer-Soeder-Co.-mit-ihrer-Wortwahl-Politik-machen
- English in Berlin, taz 24.09.2016, http://www.taz.de/Archiv-Suche/!5339976&s=heyd&SuchRahmen=Print/
- Linguistic Diversity in Berlin, Tagesspiegel 06.12.2016, http://www.tagesspiegel.de/themen/freie-universitaet-berlin/linguistik-man-spricht-deutsch/14934686.html
- Interview: Linguistic Diversity in Berlin, rbb kulturradio, September 29, 2016
- Interview: English in Third Wave Coffee Culture, Bayern 2 Radio, September 19, 2017
- Interview: Language Policy and Linguistic Diversity in Berlin, Strassenfeger No.11 Juli/August 2017