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English Department

David Matley

David Matley, Dr.

  • Lektor
+41 44 634 36 79


I am an academic associate / Lektor at the English Department of the University of Zurich. My teaching includes academic writing at both BA and MA level, cultural / media studies, Lehrdiplom courses and occasional linguistics classes. I have also taught linguistics at the University of Bern English Department, and have taught academic writing skills courses at a postgraduate level at the University of Lucerne. I also led a three-day workshop on postgraduate academic writing for Mental Health PhD students in Geneva (MARATONE) in January 2016.

I gained my MA in Modern Languages (German and French) at Edinburgh University in 1990, and completed my doctorate in applied English linguistics at the University of Tübingen, Germany, in 2011, published as Exploratory Grammar Learning in a Multimedia Environment by Tectum in 2013. My research interests are digital culture(s), digital literacies, and the pragmatics of social media. I am currently conducting research into discourses of (im-)politeness and the gendered norms of relationship initiation online.

Courses taught (selection)

Sexualities and Intimacies Online (colloquium FS 2024)

Digital Literacies (colloquium, HS 2021, FS 2024)

British Millennium Cinema 2000-present (lecture series, FS 2023)

A Laughing Matter? British Society and Culture through Television Comedy (lecture series, HS 2022)

Digital Cultures: Identity, Community and Practices Online (lecture series, HS 2021, FS 2019)

Britain on the Big Screen: British Society and Culture in British Cinema (lecture series, HS 2023, FS 2021, HS 2019, HS 2014 and HS 2011)

Culture #Online (colloquium, HS 2017)

Second Language Acquisition (BA seminar, HS 2017, FS 2011)

British Society and Culture 1945-present (lecture series, FS 2022, HS 2017, FS 2010)

Language and Power (BA seminar, HS 2016)

Language and Identity Online (BA seminar, FS 2016)

Language and Power (BA seminar, HS 2014, University of Bern)

Language and (the) Media (lecture series, FS 2014)

Language and the Law (BA seminar, HS 2013)

Language and Ethnicity (BA seminar, HS 2012)

From Affluence to Anger: British and American Films of the Fifties (MA seminar, co-taught with Frances Ilmberger, FS 2012, FS 2017)

An Introduction to the Study of Second Language Acquisition (lecture series, HS 2011)


2020. Review of (Im)politeness and Moral Order in Online Interactions. Chaoqun Xie (Ed.), Benjamins Current Topics Series, 107, John Benjamins, Amsterdam/Philadelphia (2020), 177 pp. Journal of Pragmatics, 174, 93-95.

2020. “I miss my old life": Regretting motherhood on Mumsnet. Discourse, Context and Media, 37,

2020. “Isn't working on the weekend the worst? #humblebrag": the impact of irony and hashtag use on the perception of self-praise in Instagram posts.

2020. “I can’t believe #Ziggy #Stardust died”: stance, fan identities and multimodality in reactions to the death of David Bowie on Instagram. Pragmatics, 30 (2), 247-276. Special Issue on Networked Practices of Emotion and Stancetaking in Reactions to Mediatized Events and Crises.

2018. "Let's See How Many of You Mother Fuckers Unfollow Me for This": The Pragmatic Function of the Hashtag #sorrynotsorry in Non-Apologetic Instagram Posts. Journal of Pragmatics 133, 66-78.

2018. "This is NOT a #humblebrag, this is just a #brag": The pragmatics of self-praise, hashtags and face work in Instagram posts. Discourse, Context and Media 22, 30-38. Special issue on the discourse of social tagging.

2013. Exploratory Grammar Learning in a Multimedia Environment. Marburg: Tectum.

2009. Exploratory grammar learning with multimedia CALL. In: Dimensionen der Zweitsprachenerwerbsforschung / Dimensions of Second Language Research Festschrift für Kurt Kohn. Ed. Michaela Abl-Mikasa, Sabine Braun and Sylvia Kalina Tübingen: Gunter Narr. 349-362.

Conference papers (selection)

"Being offended is overrated": conceptualisations of impoliteness in responses to posts labelled #idontgiveafuck, #fuckyourfeelings and #gofuckyourself on Instagram. 11th Brno International Conference of English, American and Canadian Studies. Brno (CZ), 12-14 February 2020.

"Oh no gurrrl... *facepalm*" - conceptualisations of face in reactions to 'inappropriate' celebrity posts on Instagram. 16th International Pragmatics Conference. Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Hong Kong, 9-14 June 2019.

"I miss my old life": an analysis of narratives of regretting motherhood on 7th CADAAD conference, Aalborg (DK), 4-6 July 2018.

'And with her milk there flowed the deepest thoughts, concepts and dreams': The Meta-Discourse of Breastfeeding Images on Instagram. Visualizing (in)the New Media Conference, Neuchâtel, 8-10 November 2017.

"I can’t believe #Ziggy #Stardust died": reactions to celebrity death on Instagram. 15th International Pragmatics Conference (IPrA), Belfast, 16-21 July 2017.

"Isn’t working on the weekend the worst? #humblebrag": the impact of context incongruity and hashtag use on attitudes towards ironic and literal self-praise in Instagram posts. Sociolinguistics Symposium 21, Murcia, 15-18 June 2016.

"Let’s See How Many of You Unfollow Me for This”: Presentation of the Self and the Pragmatic Function of the Hashtag #sorrynotsorry in Non-Apologetic Instagram Posts. Second International Conference on Linguistics and Language Studies (ICLLS), Hong Kong, 23-24 June 2016. Award for Best Presentation.