20 Apr 2021
13:00  - 14:00

Online (via Zoom)

Englisches Seminar

Öffentliche Veranstaltung

Pragmatic Aspects of Telecinematic Writing

Forschungskolloquium mit Dr. des. Thomas Messerli (Universität Basel)

In my talk, I present a summary of the research done within my ongoing cumulative habilitation project in English linguistics at the English Seminar of the University of Basel, which will characterise both the focus and content of my work, but also the research processes involved in it. Starting from the perspective of the Pragmatics of Fiction (see Locher and Jucker, 2017; Locher and Jucker, 2021) for a description of the field), I have been exploring the situated communication between a collective sender (Dynel, 2011) and recipients, mediated through subtitled film and television. Subtitles, in this view, are a locus of communication that is tied to its telecinematic context, but also a separate voice that can position both collective sender and recipient in different ways (Messerli, 2019). Subtitled artefacts give rise to particular pragmatic phenomena, but also suggest and in some cases necessitate particular methodological choices, which I have included in my theoretical and empirical analyses (Messerli, 2020a; 2020b). These methodologies have included qualitative, text-based introspective theorizing of the communicative setting of the subtitled film, its metatheoretical reflection from the pragmatic researcher’s perspective, and its intersemiotic transfer by means of transcription – analogous in many ways to the subtitling processes themselves. More recently, I – together with Miriam Locher – have applied ­qualitative and quantitative corpus approaches to the social dimensions of meaning-making processes manifest in writing accompanying television series. Writing in this case extends beyond subtitles themselves and includes written comments by the viewers of the subtitled series themselves (Locher and Messerli, 2020; Messerli and Locher, in press 2021; see also Locher, 2020).

If you would like to listen to this talk, please contact Thomas Messerli to obtain the necessary Zoom link.


  • Dynel, M. (2011). “You talking to me?” The viewer as a ratified listener to film discourse. Journal of Pragmatics, 43(6), 1628–1644.
  • Locher, M. A. (2020). Moments of relational work in English fan translations of Korean TV drama. Journal of Pragmatics, 170, 139–155.
  • Locher, M. A., & Jucker, A. H. (Eds.). (2017). Pragmatics of Fiction. Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Locher, M. A., & Jucker, A. H. (2021). The Pragmatics of Fiction: Literature, Stage and Screen Discourse. Edinburgh University Press.
  • Locher, M. A., & Messerli, T. C. (2020). Translating the other: Communal TV watching of Korean TV drama. Journal of Pragmatics, 170, 20–36.
  • Messerli, T. C. (2019). Subtitles and cinematic meaning-making: Interlingual subtitles as textual agents. Multilingua, 38(5), 529–546.
  • Messerli, T. C. (2020a). Ocean’s Eleven scene 12 – lost in transcription. Perspectives, 28(6), 837–850.
  • Messerli, T. C. (2020b). Subtitled artefacts as communication – the case of Ocean’s Eleven Scene 12. Perspectives, 28(6), 851–863.
  • Messerli, T. C., & Locher, M. A.  (in press 2021). Humour support and emotive stance in comments on K-Drama. Journal of Pragmatics.

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