Speaker: Valeria Sinkeviciute, Lecturer in Applied Linguistics, School of Languages and Cultures, The University of Queensland

Valeria Sinkeviciute is Lecturer in Applied Linguistics in the School of Languages and Cultures at The University of Queensland, Australia. Her main research interests lie in the field of pragmatics of social interaction and discourse analysis with a focus on conversational humour, linguistic (im)politeness, identity construction, social media and reality television discourse. She is the author of a number of papers on these topics in journals and edited volumes, and her recent monograph Conversational Humour and (Im)politeness: A Pragmatic Analysis of Social Interaction (John Benjamins).

Title: “Hey BCC this is Australia and we speak and read English”: Linguistic diversity and impoliteness on Brisbane City Council’s Facebook page

Abstract: Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is considered “a fertile ground for conflict” (Hardaker 2015: 201). The use of more aggressive forms of behaviour as well as their frequency online might be explained by localised rules of interactional behaviours, where easily achieved anonymity (or the sense thereof), the lack of face-to-face contact and willingness to entertain others can play an important part (e.g. Bolander 2012). Social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, has become a rich source of multi-party interactional data where impoliteness-related practices manifest themselves in various ways ranging from sarcastic and condescending remarks to aggressive and violent behaviours and threats (Hampel 2015; Hardaker and McGlashan 2016; Parvaresh and Tayebi 2018, Sinkeviciute 2018).

This exploratory paper examines a post that appeared on Brisbane City Council’s Facebook page presenting information in Korean. This post received 93 comments, which is more than any other non-English language post in 2017-2019, with a predominant majority of the comments being instances of aggressive interactional practices targeting this minority language. This analysis focuses on the ways in which impoliteness in relation to the non-English language use signals how linguistic diversity in a multicultural context of Australia can be conceptualised as a ’problem’ by social media participants. 

About Linguistics Circle Sessions

Linguistics Circle Sessions are held on most Friday afternoons during semester, 4-5pm, on campus and on Zoom. UQ staff and students, staff and students from other universities, and members of the general public are welcome.

The Circle is an opportunity to share and to hear from guest speakers, UQ staff and HDR students working on research and topics of interest in Linguistics, Language Revitalisation and Applied Linguistics.

If you would like present at or lead a discussion at our Circle, please click here to add your submission. Also contact Linguistics Cluster Co-ordinator, Samantha Disbray via email with an abstract, overview or provocation and a short bio.


Forgan Smith Building #1
UQ, St Lucia Campus