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Webinar: “I think you’re on mute”: Variation in Online Workplace Discourse

Dr Anne O'Keeffe, Mary Immaculate College

Dr Dawn Knight, Cardiff University

Dr Chris Fitzgerald, Mary Immaculate College

Geraldine Mark, Cardiff University



        Geraldine Mark

Tuesday, 29th March, 15.00, on MS Teams (Click here to join the webinar)



Abstract: The Interactional Variation Online (IVO) project, funded by the Irish Research Council and Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), analyses the impact of transitioning to virtual meetings on workplace communication. The project focuses on interaction in virtual meetings within a multi-modal perspective so as to facilitate an analysis of dyadic and multi-party talk that considers the impact of this communicative medium on gestures, gaze and body movement. 

In this presentation, we will discuss some of the obstacles and opportunities faced when attempting to capture, annotate and linguistically analyse a corpus of virtual meetings. These include the need to audit and define the repertoire of gestures for professional online settings. This necessitates an updating of traditional schema of representation of gestures to connote their usage in the virtual meeting space. We will also present some initial findings from our baseline survey of respondents working in various industries. These give context to our project and offer insights into perspectives on virtual meetings and how both employees/employers have been impacted by the ‘pivot’ to this environment. 


Bio Notes

Dr Anne O’Keeffe is Senior Lecturer at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Ireland. Her publications include Cambridge University Press titles: From Corpus to Classroom (2007), English Grammar Today (2011) and Routledge titles: Introducing Pragmatics in Use 1st and 2nd edn (2020). She is co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Corpus Linguistics, 2nd edn (2022) (with Prof. Michael McCarthy)Along with Geraldine Mark, she created the English Grammar Profile (online corpus-based database of grammar competencies). She is co-Principal Investigator of the IRC-AHRC funded Interactional variation online project (with Dr Dawn Knight) and she is editor of two Routledge book series: The Routledge Corpus Linguistics Guides and The Routledge Applied Corpus Linguistics. 

Dr Dawn Knight is a Reader in Applied Linguistics at Cardiff University. Her research interests and expertise in the areas of corpus linguistics, discourse analysis, digital interaction and non-verbal communication. Dawn has led and/or contributed to a range of UKRI and Welsh Government-funded multi-disciplinary and cross-institutional projects. She was, for example, PI of the ESRC/AHRC-funded CorCenCC project from 2015-2020 (Corpws Cenedlaethol Cymraeg Cyfoes – National Corpus of Contemporary Welsh) and is currently Co-PI of the AHRC/IRC-funded Interactional Variation Online (IVO) project (2021-2024, with Anne O’Keeffe). From 2018-2021 Dawn was the Chair of the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL). BAAL is a learned society with over 1,300 members internationally, making it the most influential forum for academics and professionals interested in language and applied linguistics within the UK and beyond.


Dr Chris Fitzgerald completed his PhD at the University of Limerick in 2021. His doctoral research focuses on exploring oral history documents from a linguistic perspective and aims to promote the potential reciprocity between these two disciplines. He spent 2021 as an Associate Teacher in TESOL and Applied Linguistics at the University of Limerick and has recently begun post-doctoral research as a member of the Interactional Variation Online project at MIC.    


Geraldine Mark is a research associate at Cardiff University and doctoral student at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. Her main interests are in second language development, and spoken language.  She is co-author of English Grammar Today (2011, Cambridge University Press, with Ronald Carter, Michael McCarthy and Anne O’Keeffe) and co-principal researcher (with Anne O’Keeffe) of the English Grammar Profile, an online resource profiling L2 grammar development. 


IVO Project Website: