Stephen Pihlaja
/'stiːvən 'pihlaija/

Hi there, my name is Stephen and I'm an applied linguist, discourse analyst, and stylistician researching and teaching at Newman University in Birmingham (UK). I teach a suite of classes in the English subject group, focusing on the use of linguistic tools to study literature, language, and culture. My first book, Antagonism on YouTube was published by Bloomsbury in 2014 and my second book, Religious Talk Online is forthcoming on Cambridge University Press.

My own research focuses on the dynamics of discourse, or language in use, particularly in online interaction around religious issues. I analyse discourse to understand how people present themselves and their beliefs to diverse audiences, and how technology changes not just the presentation of belief, but how and what people believe. To do this, I employ different methods of discourse analysis to investigate metaphor, narrative positioning, categories, and impoliteness in interaction.

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and most recently worked as a Primary Investigator on a Social Innovation Project funded by the Higher Education Funding Council called 'Let's Talk about Sex: equipping student leaders to address sexual violence on campuses'. 

I review articles for both Metaphor and the Social World and the Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture. I also serve as membership secretary for the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA) and the secretary for the University Council of General and Applied Linguistics (UCGAL). I am a regular member of the Researching and Applying Metaphor Association (RaAM) and the British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL).

Book Cover

16 August 2017

Very happy to have received the book cover proofs for my new book. Looks like it will (provisionally) be out in March 2018!

English Department of the Year

11 May 2017

Media preview

Happy to have won the Newman Student Union award for Department of the Year!

Keynote address at Kings College London

9 May 2017

I'll be giving a talk called 'Language and Religion in a Connected World' at the Center for Language Discourse and Communication, King’s College London next month. The colloquium is on the subject of English, religion, and rural contexts.

You can sign up HERE, if you're interested.

Thu 1 June 2017
14:00 – 18:00 BST

King's College London - Waterloo Campus
Stamford Street