Dr Pia Pichler is Senior Lecturer in Linguistics and Programme Convenor of the MA Sociocultural Linguistics in the Department of English and Comparative Literature, at Goldsmiths, University of London. Since joining Goldsmiths in 2004 Pia has dedicated herself to promoting linguistics and, in particular, the study of language, society and culture at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Pia’s research focuses in particular on intersections of language and gender with ethnicity and social class, exploring the everyday spontaneous talk of young people in their friendship groups. Much of Pia’s teaching is linked to her own work in which she investigates the interplay of gender with other socio-cultural and situational practices and identities from a sociocultural linguistic/discourse analytic perspective. She has written extensively on the talk of young British women from a range of different backgrounds, including public school and British Bangladeshi girls. She is currently working on couples’ talk as well as on young London masculinities.
- Magistra of Philosophy (English and Italian), Salzburg University, Austria, 1995
- PhD (Language and Gender), Roehampton University, London, 2003
Prior to joining Goldsmiths in 2004, Dr Pia Pichler served as a visiting lecturer at Roehampton University throughout her PhD from 1999-2003 and as a lecturer at Middlesex University from 2003-2004.
Pia has devised, convened and taught a wide range of modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, with a particular focus on sociocultural linguistics and discourse analysis. Modules include:
- EN52230A Varieties of English
- EN53362A Language and Gender
- EN71077B Discourse and Identity in Spoken Interaction
- EN71076B Language in its Sociocultural Context
- EN71079A Intercultural Discourse and Communication
Examples of courses currently taught:
- Language and Gender - On this module students examine how gender is reflected and constituted in language, that is, how women and men speak, how language is used to accomplish gender and sexual identities. The module will trace language and gender studies from its foundations to current scholarship, paying close attention to context-bound and intersected gender performances. Offered as an optional module to final year undergraduates.
Discourse and Identity in Spoken Interaction: This module will equip students with the tools to study the ways in which speakers use language to display and construct their identities in talk. The module will encourage students to study language and identity practices in various authentic contexts and introduce a range of methodological frameworks, including linguistic ethnography, interactional sociolinguistics, critical discourse analysis, conversational analysis and narrative analysis. Offered as an optional module on MA Sociocultural Linguistics and MA Multilingualism, Linguistics and Education as well as MA students from different departments at Goldsmiths.
Areas of supervision
Pia will accept applications for PhDs on a range of topics from the perspective of microlinguistic discourse analysis and sociocultural linguistics. She is particularly happy to supervise PhDs on the following topics:
- language and gender
- language and ethnicity
- (intersections of) linguistic identity
- feminist linguistics
Current PhD students:
Chloe Cheetham: linguistic ethnography on language and gender in a London Primary School (Funded by Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts - CHASE)
Yang Zhang: linguistic ethnography on young masculinities in China
- Programme Coordinator and Admissions Tutor: MA Sociocultural Linguistics
- Chair of ECL Research Ethics Sub-Committee
- Member of College Research and Integrity Sub-Committee
- Editorial board member: International Journal of Sociolinguistics, Journal of Gender and Language
- Board member: Language, Gender & Sexuality SIG (British Association of Applied Linguistics)
Reviewer of journal articles, book proposals and conference papers for: Language in Society; Gender and Language; Text & Talk; Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development; Journal of English for Academic Purposes, International Journal of Sociolinguistics; Journal of English for Academic Purposes, ; Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Pia's research interests include:
- Language and Gender
- Language and Identity
- Sociocultural Linguistics
- Microlinguistic Discourse Analysis
Pia’s research explores the construction of identity in everyday spoken interaction, focusing in particular on the interplay of gender with other socio-cultural and situational practices and identities. Pia works with mostly self-recorded, spontaneous conversational data which she explores from cross-disciplinary perspectives, combining tools from linguistic discourse analysis and sociocultural linguistics with insights from cultural studies, anthropology, sociology and social psychology. This research explores a wide range of topics, including linguistic indexicality, intersectionality, processes of authentication and identification, and draws on a wide range of methodological frameworks, such as sociocultural linguistics, linguistic ethnography, interactional sociolinguistics, and conversation analysis.
Pia recently organised a conference, entitled ‘Ethnographies of Language, Gender and Sexuality’ at Goldsmiths. For more information see the conference website:
You are stupid, you are cupid’: playful polyphony as a resource for affectionate expression in the talk of a young London couple
This study shows that linguistic discourse analysis can make a significant contribution to our understanding of how affection is expressed in intimate relationships. The research focuses on the playful switching of frames, voices, codes and personas which emerges as central to the affectionate practice in the spontaneous talk of a young multi-cultural London couple. It argues that quantitative interview studies based on an a-priori understanding of affection are unable to capture many of the idiosyncratic and creative ways in which speakers express their affection for one another in their intimate talk.
After securing funding from Goldsmiths’ Research Intern Scheme (GRIP) in June 2019, Pia has been able to embark on the second phase of this project which will involve a selection of different couples recording their spontaneous everyday talk. Watch a video highlighting Pia's research.
Hipsters in the hood: authenticating indexicalities in young men’s hip hop talk
This research explores the spontaneous hip hop talk of four young London men from multi-ethnic working-class backgrounds. One of the young men was Pia’s former MA students who played an important role in the research and collaborated with Pia on one of her papers. In their self-recorded talk the speakers position themselves in relation to a range of ‘cultural concepts’ and (classed, raced) practices and identity performances which signal various affiliations with hip hop. We explore how the young men authenticate when they talk about ‘hipsters’ moving into the ‘hood’, ‘white posh girl’ appropriating ‘world star’ hip hop culture, and South London gangs’ displaying violence and bling.
Talking Young Femininities
This project explores the spontaneous, self-recorded talk of adolescent British girls from different socio-cultural backgrounds, including girls from a prestigious private school, the British Bangladeshi community and the East End in London. The project explores a range of questions on the basis of the girls’ conversations about friends, friendships, boys, parents, music, drugs, school, sex, (arranged) marriage and social class:
- What do young British women talk about with their friends?
- How do gender and (adolescent) identity interact with social class and ethnicity?
- How do adolescent girls position themselves in relation to sexual experiences, practices and identities?
- What is the relationship between the girls’ local positions and larger-scale socio-cultural norms or identity categories?
- In what way can linguistic discourse analysis build on and contribute to cross-disciplinary research on gender and adolescent identity?
Mooney, Annabelle; Peccei, Jean; LaBelle, Suzanne; Eppler, Eva; Pichler, Pia; Irwin, Anthea; Preece, Siân and Soden, Satori. 2011. Language, Society and Power. An Introduction. Third edition. New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415576598
Pichler, Pia. 2011. Hybrid or in between cultures: traditions of marriage in a group of British Bangladeshi girls. In: Jennifer Coates and Pia Pichler, eds. Language and Gender: A Reader. 2nd Ed Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 236-249. ISBN 9781405191449
Pichler, Pia and Preece, Siân. 2011. Language and Gender. In: Annabelle Mooney; Jean Stilwell Peccei; Suzanne LaBelle; Berit Engøy Henriksen; Eva Eppler; Anthea Irwin; Pia Pichler and Siân Preece, eds. Language, Society and Power: An Introduction, Third Edition. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 91-112. ISBN 9780415576598
Pichler, Pia. 2009. All I’ve gotta do is wank on about some bollocky poem: cool and socially aware positions in the talk of London private school girls. In: Pia Pichler and E. Eppler, eds. Gender and Spoken Interaction. Houndmills, Baskingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 87-114. ISBN 0230013287
Pichler, Pia. 2008. Gender, ethnicity and religion in spontaneous talk and ethnographic-style interviews: balancing perspectives of researcher and researched. In: K. Harrington; L. Litosseliti; H. Sauntson and J. Sunderland, eds. Language and Gender Research Methodologies. Houndmills, Baskingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 56-70. ISBN 0-230-55069-X
Pichler, Pia. 2008. Hybrid or in between cultures: traditions of marriage in a group of British Bangladeshi girls. In: Jose Santaemilia and Patricia Bon, eds. Gender and Sexual Identities in Transition: Cross-cultural Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press., 199-218.. ISBN 9781847186683
Pichler, Pia. 2007. '"This sex thing is such a big issue now": Sex talk and identities in three groups of adolescent girls'. In: Sakis Kyratzis and Helen Sauntson, eds. Sexual Identities and Desires across Cultures. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 68-95. ISBN 978-1403933270
Pichler, Pia. 2005. The effect of social class and ethnicity on the discursive negotiation of feminities in the talk of British Bangladeshi girls. In: Janet Cotterill and Anne Ife, eds. Language across Boundaries. Continuum; New edition, pp. 25-46. ISBN 978-0826478733
Pichler, Pia. 2018. “He’s got Jheri curls and Tims on”: Humour and indexicality as resources for authentication in young men’s talk about hair and fashion style. Journal of Pragmatics, ISSN 0378-2166
Pichler, Pia. 2017. ‘You are stupid, you are cupid’: playful polyphony as a resource for affectionate expression in the talk of a young London couple. Gender and Language, 11(2), pp. 153-175. ISSN 1747-6321
Pichler, Pia and Williams, Nathanael. 2016. Hipsters in the hood: authenticating indexicalities in young men’s hip hop talk. Language in Society, 45(4), pp. 557-581. ISSN 0047-4045
Pichler, Pia. 2007. Talking Traditions of Marriage: Negotiating Young British Bangladeshi Femininities. Women s Studies International Forum, 30(3), pp. 201-216. ISSN 02775395
Pichler, Pia. 2006. Multifunctional teasing as a resource for identity construction in the talk of British Bangladeshi girls. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 10(2), pp. 225-249. ISSN 13606441
Conference or Workshop Item
Pichler, Pia. 2019. '‘I was trying to do the P Diddy step’: Conversational humour, verbal duelling and cultural concepts as resources for the construction of authentic black hip hop masculinities'. In: Research on Languages and Linguistics at Sussex (ROLLS). University of Sussex, United Kingdom 13 March 2019.
Pichler, Pia. 2018. 'Rapport in three ethnographic studies of language and gender in private contexts'. In: 11th BAAL Language, Gender and Sexuality SIG Event: Ethnographies of Language, Gender & Sexuality. Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom 26 April 2018.
Pichler, Pia. 2017. '‘I am not being funny but you don’t half look like Lionel’: humour, hair and fashion style in a group of young South London men'. In: 15th International Pragmatics Conference. Belfast, United Kingdom 16-21 July 2017.
Pichler, Pia. 2015. 'Hipsters in the hood: authenticating indexicalities in young men’s hip hop talk'. In: DiscourseNet Congress. Bremen University, Germany 23-26 September 2015.
Pichler, Pia. '‘You are stupid, you are cupid’: alternative expressions of affection in couples’ talk'. In: Sociolinguistic Symposium. University of Murcia, Spain 15-18 June 2016.