Linguists and language workers

Collaboration, impact and realignment

Authors

  • Veronika Koller Lancaster University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jalpp.19139

Keywords:

consulting, communications, impact, language workers, collaboration, knowledge exchange, linguists

Abstract

In this paper, I address two connected topics: firstly, the relationships between linguists working in academia and language professionals, such as communication managers and consultants, in other sectors; and secondly, how a strong emphasis on knowledge exchange and impact in British higher education policy has led to increased collaboration between academic and non-academic language workers, but also to a realignment of traditional academic values with the interests of practitioners. The investigation is partly based on published reflections – mostly by linguists – on collaborating with (language) professionals in other sectors, and partly on insights from 13 interviews with language workers in consulting, communications and campaigning. The interviews are manually analysed for thematic categories and, where relevant, for pragmatic meanings in the context of the interview situation and conversational interaction. Findings suggest conflicts around registers and timescales, along with concerns over data and the relevance of academic interests. Crucially, language professionals show little concern about collaborating with academics, leading to an imbalance in interests. I supplement the evidence with personal observations on the opportunities and obstacles that are present when straddling academic and non-academic work, as well as with a discussion of how a unidirectional realignment of values changes the nature of academic work.

Author Biography

Veronika Koller, Lancaster University

Veronika Koller received her PhD in English linguistics from Vienna University (Austria) and is Professor of Discourse Studies at Lancaster University in the UK. Her research interests include business communication, political discourse, and language and sexuality. Her most recent book-length publication is Language in Business, Language at Work (2018, Palgrave Higher Education; with Erika Darics). Address for correspondence: Department of Linguistics, Lancaster University, Bailrigg, Lancaster LA1 4YL, UK. Email: [email protected]

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Published

2021-11-11

How to Cite

Koller, V. (2021). Linguists and language workers: Collaboration, impact and realignment. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 16(1), 29–50. https://doi.org/10.1558/jalpp.19139

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Articles