Thomas C. Messerli

Thomas C. Messerli
University of Basel | UNIBAS ·  Departement Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften

Doctor of Philosophy
Doing research for my cumulative habilitation project on Screen-to-text discourses, and on Reddit, book reviews, etc.

About

26
Publications
5,884
Reads
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85
Citations
Introduction
I currently work in linguistic pragmatics and digital humanities. Using mostly corpus linguistic as well as discourse analytic methods, I am doing research on professional and fan-subtitling, CMC (timed comments, reddit), evaluation in book reviews, and humour in telecinematic discourse and online. I work with both qualitative and quantitative methods, have an interest in methodology also on a metalevel and enjoy interdisciplinary work and multimodal approaches to situated language use.
Additional affiliations
February 2020 - present
University of Basel
Position
  • PostDoc Position
February 2020 - present
University of Basel
Position
  • PostDoc Position
December 2018 - December 2020
University of Basel
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • SNF Digital Lives project "Forschungslogiken in den textbasierten Digital Humanities"

Publications

Publications (26)
Article
Full-text available
The aim of the special issue is to present theory-conscious studies of selected facets of digital cultures of evaluation across a broad range of discourses on the social web. At the same time, bringing together papers from linguistics, literary studies, and digital humanities, it is our aim to take stock of common denominators, but also differences...
Article
Full-text available
Prominent among the social developments that the web 2.0 has facilitated is digital social reading (DSR): on many platforms there are functionalities for creating book reviews, ‘inline’ commenting on book texts, online story writing (often in the form of fanfiction), informal book discussions, book vlogs, and more. In this article, we argue that DS...
Book
Full-text available
Humour and repetition are in an interesting relationship. Humour depends on that moment when an unexpected incongruous thought surprises us – repetition depends on presenting again what has already been brought forward. Yet jokes often have repetitive structures and catchphrases occur again and again. The apparent tension between the new and the re...
Article
Full-text available
Viewers on viki.com comment on Korean television drama series while watching: They produce timed comments tied to the timecode of the audiovisual stream. Among the functions these comments have in the community, the expression of emotive stance is central. Importantly, this includes humour support encoded in a variety of linguistic and paralinguist...
Article
The paper investigates formal language in persuasive discourse on the r /C hange M y V iew subreddit. We collected a corpus of 100 million messages, split into subcorpora based on the user-awarded marker delta , which rewards changing an original poster’s view. Assuming that formality/informality is potentially an important factor in the persuasive...
Thesis
Full-text available
Humour and repetition are in an interesting relationship. Humour depends on that moment when an unexpected incongruous thought surprises us – repetition depends on presenting again what has already been brought forward. Yet jokes often have repetitive structures and catchphrases occur again and again. The apparent tension between the new and the re...
Article
Full-text available
Our research is situated in the field of the pragmatics of fiction (Jucker and Locher, 2017; Messerli, 2017), and explores a website that makes Asian drama series and movies accessible to an international audience by means of fan generated subtitles in over 150 languages (www.viki.com; Dwyer, 2012, 2017). The streaming site offers a social network...
Article
Full-text available
This paper offers a cross-cultural contrastive study of what we term ‘nation memes’. These are humorous internet memes which refer to a particular country/nation. Our analysis of cultural scripts in memes related to Switzerland is based on a tripartite corpus of digital items shared by Polish, Swiss and international communities. By adopting a grou...
Article
Research on film is typically transparent when it comes to identifying the excerpts of film on which it is based. Since analysts view film scenes in different reception situations and since even the same reception situation will lead to differing textual representations of data, the basis for researchers’ analyses may nonetheless be underspecified....
Article
This article examines how Ocean’s Eleven’s (Soderbergh, 2001) Scene 12 and its English DVD subtitles can be analysed and understood from the perspective of the pragmatics of fiction and more generally pragmatics and communication studies. Examples from the scene are used to describe the film’s participation structures. Communication with film viewe...
Preprint
Full-text available
Prominent among the social developments that the web 2.0 has facilitated is digital social reading (DSR): on many platforms there are functionalities for creating book reviews, 'inline' commenting on book texts, online story writing (often in the form of fanfiction), informal book discussions, book vlogs, and more. In this article we argue that DSR...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
While interdisciplinary research on metaphor is abundant (Eggs, 2000; Semino & Demjén, 2017; Veale et al., 2016), it is still scarce in Digital Humanities. At the intersection of literary studies, corpus stylistics, and digital humanities, we present an exploratory quantitative metaphor analysis of a corpus of German language lay book reviews. Usin...
Article
This theoretical paper adopts the point of view of the audience of subtitled films and outlines a theory of subtitles as communicative agents within the participation structures of film reception. Based on examples from three Swiss fiction films – Heidi (2015) , Heimatland (2015) and Der Goalie bin ig (2014) – the following communicative effects ar...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Our contribution reports on a research project that addresses distinct research methodologies as well as the epistemic dimension of textual Digital Humanities. In a case study that combines machine learning applications of sentiment detection with more traditional manual and semi-automatic text analysis, such as close reading and annotation, we stu...
Chapter
Encyclopedia Entry about Comedian/Actor Will Ferrell
Article
Ventriloquism has been used as a source domain to conceptualise a range of different aspects of discourse, meaning-making and understanding, and in view on a communicative constitution of reality even as a model for communication at large. In Telecinematic Discourse (TCD), the language of fictional film and television, the notion that characters on...
Chapter
This chapter provides an overview of the participation structure in fictional discourse by discussing the relevant theoretical participation frameworks. The main focus is on the discourse of film and television, which is discussed in-depth, before the participation structures of literary fiction and drama are also addressed. The discussion highligh...
Article
This study analyses data from one episode of the US sitcom 2 Broke Girls to demonstrate how telecinematic discourse contrasts and explicitly signals intentions on different levels of communication for humorous effect. The presented examples show how the collective senders cue television viewers to follow extradiegetic laughter (the laugh track) and...
Thesis
Full-text available
Laughs in Translation: A Comparison between Verbal Humour in the Original and the German Dubbed Version of The Big Bang Theory. Lizentiatsarbeit der Philosophischen Fakultät der Universität Zürich
Thesis
Full-text available
Formalästhetische und narrativ-strukturelle Eigenschaften des amerikanischen J-Horror. Masterarbeit zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades "Master of Arts" der Philosophischen Fakultät der Universität Zürich im Rahmen des «universitätsübergreifenden Master-Studiengangs Netzwerk Cinema CH».

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Projects

Projects (7)
Project
Understanding how the social dimension of reading on digital platforms and social media influences our engagement with books and stories.
Project
To explore linguistic persuasion on the subreddit r/ChangeMyView based on a large corpus of submissions and comments annotated with emic community measures for persuasiveness. The initial stage of our research consists of several case studies that explore different linguistic variables within a "persuasive" corpus of interest and a "non-persuasive" reference corpus. These studies employ the methodologies of corpus pragmatics as well as those of corpus-assisted discourse analysis.
Project
In my cumulative habilitation project, I offer a multi-perspective exploration of meaning-making through textual discourses that are directly informed by and oriented towards telecinematic artefacts, i.e. fictional films and television series. This includes interlingual and intralingual subtitles as a site of meaning for viewers, written comments from the perspective of fans, and transcription by scholars. The different screen-to-text discourses I explore share that they centre around a process of intersemiotic transfer from multimodal telecinematic discourse with spoken dialogue at its linguistic centre to a genre of written text that contributes to the individual and/or collaborative negotiation of meaning: The linguistic researcher employs transcription to highlight aspects of scholarly interest and make tangible the multimodal context in which conversation in film and television takes place; the subtitler translates meaning for a new target audience; the commenter contributes to collaborative negotiation of meaning by and for an international fan community.