Camilla Vásquez, Ph.D.

Discourse Analyst & Sociolinguist

I am an applied linguist. In my teaching and research, I explore the role of language in many domains of everyday life. I am primarily interested in how our linguistic choices (both conscious and subconscious) communicate social information to others about who we are, as people – where we are from, what we do, what we want others to think about us, and so on. And beyond matters of language and identity, I am also intrigued by how language mediates our relationships with others: for example, what is the linguistic work that we do, in order to "perform" our roles as parents, children, lovers, bosses, workers, teachers, learners, friends, community members, etc….and how do others, in turn, use language to respond to us? For instance, in what ways do other people let us know that our utterances are acceptable and appropriate…or not? In what ways do we use language to signal our alignment with (or distance from) others?

I came to language studies with an academic background in Art History, and this prior education in the Humanities has informed my scholarly perspective as an applied linguist. In a broader sense though, I have actually been a student of language my entire life. I grew up in a bilingual family. I studied French, Italian, German, and Thai in formal classroom settings. I later acquired Spanish as an adult. And I have taught English in the U.S., the Czech Republic, Thailand and Argentina. I earned a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Northern Arizona University.

Currently, I am a Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of South Florida (USF). At USF, I enjoy teaching students enrolled in our programs: Ph.D. in Linguistics and Applied Language Studies (LALS), MA in Applied Linguistics/TESL, and B.A. concentration in Applied Linguistics. I regularly teach courses such as Language of the Internet, Discourse Analysis, Sociolinguistics, Cross-Cultural Issues in Language Teaching, and Qualitative Research Methods.

I work in Tampa, but I live across the Bay in St. Petersburg, Florida. I appreciate the diversity of my city, my neighborhood, and my community. When I'm not working, I love to travel around the world.

 

Books

The Discourse of Online Consumer Reviews

 

My 2014 book, The Discourse of Online Reviews, Bloomsbury Publishing, examines a corpus of over 1,000 consumer reviews and discusses many of the discourse features that are characteristic of this rapidly growing, computer-mediated, and primarily text-based, genre. In it, I investigate the language used by reviewers as they forge connections with their audiences to draw them into their stories, as they construct their expertise and authority on various subjects, as they evaluate and assess their consumer experiences, and as they display their knowledge about the very genre in which they are participating. Adopting an eclectic approach to the analysis of discourse, which employs techniques from narrative analysis to corpus linguistics, this book explores topics such as evaluation, identity, and intertextuality, as they occur in online reviews of hotels, restaurants, recipes, films, and other consumer products.

Find the book at Bloomsbury Publishing or Amazon

 

Books

Language, Creativity & Humour Online

 

The past decade has seen the emergence of many social media platforms associated with new digital affordances and distinctive user practices. My current book project, Language, Creativity and Humour Online (under contract with Routledge), explores the ludic dimensions of our online interactions in social media. Drawing on the related Bakhtinian notions of voicing, polyphony, and heteroglossia, I offer insights into the creative discourse practices found in diverse digital contexts. Among these is a focus on the various forms of social identity work that are accomplished through such practices. "Non-serious" online content is easily dismissed as trivial, and is often overlooked in academic scholarship on social media discourse. However, the large-scale dissemination and circulation of creative and humorous content points to its mass appeal to a large group of users of digital technology. Offering close analyses of discourse found in novelty Twitter accounts, chat posts on Tumblr, and parody product reviews on Amazon, Language, Creativity and Humour Online sheds light on the linguistic and interactional mechanisms underlying various types of creative, playful and humorous online texts.

Research

Research

Talks

May 12, 2017. Fostering intercultural awareness in English language teaching and learning. TESOL Colombia II (Chia, Colombia).

June 24, 2016. Simultaneously global and local: Discourse practices online. International Conference on Language and Social Psychology (Bangkok, Thailand).

April 28, 2016. Mining review data for consumer perspectives. Global Allies/The Getty's Group 2nd Annual Fast Forward Event (Chicago).

March 17, 2016. Inside the language of online reviews. Switchfly 8th Annual Thought Leadership Summit (Napa Valley).

January 26, 2016. Online reviews: Opportunities for communication. Annual Hostelworld Conference (Dublin).

October 14, 2015. Understanding the Science and Art of Online User Reviews. Skift Global Forum (NYC).

November 6-7, 2014. The discursive construction of identities in online consumer reviews. School of Language, Culture and Society, Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR).

October 15, 2014. The discourse of online consumer reviews. Homegrown Humanities Series, University of South Florida (Tampa, FL).

October 9-10, 2014. The good, the bad, and the worst: Analyzing evaluation in online reviews. MLC Speaker Series, Georgetown University (Washington, DC).

April 3, 2014. Analyzing the discourse of online reviews. Linguistics Colloquium, Department of Linguistics, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL).

May 24, 2013. Forms of intertextuality in online consumer reviews. Fifth International Roundtable on Discourse (Discourse and Digital Practices), Department of English, City University of Hong Kong.

Media

January, 2018. Watch your language: How Word Choice can Sabotage Workplace Collaboration. Zendesk (NYC).

December 9, 2015. How to Read Customer Comments. Sparksheet.

March 28, 2015. Can you Trust Online Reviews? Rudy Maxa's World.

March 13, 2015. Loudsourcing: Inside the Mad, Mad World of TripAdvisor. Outside Magazine (April).

December 17, 2014. The Poetry of Yelp: How the Reviews Site Became a Massive Platform for Creativity. Fast Company.

November 29, 2014. The Art of the Amateur Online Review. The New York Times.

Contact

cvasquez@usf.edu
Camilla Vásquez
Professor
Department of World Languages
University of South Florida