Identity and Empowerment

My latest research article is out. In this article, I continue my study of language use in social media to construct identities. For this particular case, I examined why young Mexican bilinguals use vernacular language traits in their Facebook posts. This time, I decided to use an ethnolinguistic approach because it will allow me to look at language separated from the group of people a language is typically attributed to. That is, the ethnolinguistic approach will help me look at users of AAE (African American English) without assuming the users are African American or are affiliating with an African American identity necessarily. For this study, I conducted interviews and employed discourse analysis of the Facebook feeds of members of a bilingual network, in which they make use of vernacular language varieties typically attributed to African American speakers. Findings show that at least one young woman uses these vernacular English features to support feminism and present herself as equal to men. This rhetorically motivated use forges a sense of belonging outside a particularly entrenched category of woman (e.g., old fashioned) and challenges the hierarchy and language ideologies imposed by men and older women. I argue that Mexican bilinguals (male or female) who use such vernacular features are not identifying as African American or as part of any specific ethnic group. Rather, they are constructing pan-ethnic identities in opposition to whites.

To access the full article (open source), please visit:

Discourse Oriented qualitative research/analysis in Facebook, TikTok, etc?

The last resource on the series. If you have decided to use a social media platform such as Facebook or TikTok for your qualitative research, here are some resources that you may want to check out. These resources will give you a systematic way to look for, collect, curate, download, and organize data. Remember, you still need to have your own theoretical and analytical frameworks.

So, you want to conduct research in social media sites?

Many students who have decided to modify and continue doing research during the pandemic are choosing to research social network sites including Facebook Groups, YouTube, etc. Before they engage in data collection, I remind them that just as any other qualitative research, they need to follow a sound methodology and ethic guidelines. They need to file for IRB and request permission from participants (in the case of closed/private groups). Here are 7 steps to ensure that your social media research meets basic criteria. Later, I will publish guidelines on established data collection and analysis frameworks to research online.

Steps to do research online

Qualitative research during a pandemic?

Most of my research is conducted by online ethnographic methods. Thus, when the pandemic hit, I really did not have to change anything that I used to do. This is not the same for many students, colleagues, and researchers in general. Teaching my methods class (which is not about online ethnographic methods), many of my students worried and stalled. They were in standby waiting for this pandemic to be over to initiate or continue their research.

Here are some tips I have been sharing on how to adapt qualitative research under lockdown. I will start with my 5 WAYS to adapt handout. If nothing else, do these 5 things. There are more, so feel free to comment and add what else you can do to adapt to these times. I will post more tips, links to resources, and other ideas soon!

Los XV de Rubí

To access this article free of charge for the next month go to –>


Communication technologies aid transnational communities in maintaining their relationships and strengthening their identities across borders. For example, by using digital media, communities can transcend both place and time to enter social spaces where they co-create shared experiences. This article explores how transnationals who do not belong to one single social network employ language and online participation in the micro-blogging site, Twitter, to co-create a chronotope, an imagined space that transcends geography and temporality, and in doing so, signal their belonging to a Mexican community. Using an online-discourse approach, I examine the participation of Mexican immigrants and children of Mexicans living in the US in an online viral cultural event: XV de Rubí, a celebration that marks the fifteenth birthday of a girl coming of age. I show that individuals use Twitter to co-construct an imagined experience in which they perform, negotiate and police ‘Mexicanness’. This article argues for more inclusive understandings of transnationalism that account for the ways in which people use the affordances of social media to enact cultural practices, keep in touch, forge ethnic identities, and display their sense of belonging to a wider Mexican culture.

I show that individuals use Twitter to co-construct an imagined experience in which they perform, negotiate and police ‘Mexicanness’.

Christiansen, 2019

Some of the highlights for this article are:

  • Transnationals can transcend time and space online to co-create shared experiences.
  • Fields of belonging emerge based on how well people display cultural knowledge.
  • Studies on transnationalism that include online social media contexts are needed.

The writing of this article

La primera vez que experimenté algo sobre los XV de Rubí estaba en una clase de danza folclórica mexicana en el centro de San Antonio, Texas. Una amiga y yo estábamos bromeando como siempre y empezamos a aludir a memes sobre esa fiesta. Yo pensé que era algo que había surgido en el internet de broma, y como no veo televisión (no tengo en mi casa) no estaba enterada del fiasco de la invitación pública del papá. Mi amiga me puso al tanto y después me dijo que si quería otras amigas y ella iban a ir a comprar vestidos para la fiesta. Pasando las semanas, mi amiga y yo ya estábamos planeando en ver la fiesta por Facebook y vestirnos y hacer nuestra propia cena. Ya que si hubiéramos podido, nos íbamos de coladas.

Fue cuando me di cuenta que estas acciones no solo eran de mi amiga y yo. Eran las de cientos (y miles) de mexicanos que se encontraban en México (fuera del rancho de Rubí) y el mundo. Todos de alguna manera aprovechamos esta ocasión para vivir, revivir, recordar, y “hacer” o demostrar la cultura. Aún aquellos que lo veían como un circo, se reían de memes, compartían los memes, etc. Repelaron y criticaron como lo hubieran hecho también en México.

Esta fue la premisa de este artículo. Este evento (mal hecho, exagerado, como sea) fue un trampolín para actuar como mexicanos en donde estuviéramos. Sabemos los protocolos de fiesta, y entonces los podíamos reproducir tan cerca o fuera de México.

Ojalá que disfruten el artículo y me cuenten como vivieron ustedes los XV de Rubí.

Handout on Writing Introductions & Conclusions

One of the workshops I delivered in Russia last week was on a good way to write effective introductions and conclusions for an academic paper. In order to help my participants remember and give them a way to teach this writing tip, I designed a handout.  The handout itself may really  not make any sense. This is why, if you’d like to use it, I suggest you hear the first part and the last part of the lecture (link to lecture here), which is where I explain this process. You can skip the middle part, as it is the part where I asked participants in the audience to draft a quick introduction. The presentation slides for that talk can be found in this website (under presentations). If you have questions, you know where to find me! 😉


Dr.C during her lecture on Introductions & Conclusions at the American Center in Moscow

Photo credit: English Language Office

TexLER conference at #UTSA – Workshop #Kahoot #Quizziz: More than just a game #ESL #EFL #CALL


Today is the day!!!

Our students have been doing a great job organizing this year’s TexLER conference. They have prepared an incredible agenda with excellent keynote speakers. We are happy to welcome Dr. Wayne Wright who was a faculty member at BBL before going to Purdue.

The workshop I was invited to give is on the uses of Kahoot and Quizziz. I call it “More than just a game” because ELT professionals must purposefully create ways to use it, and that is the purpose of this workshop today.

Come and join me at the Denman Ballroom at the Student Union on the main campus at UTSA at 2pm!!!!

Here are the handouts…

Normalizing #nativespeakerism? Not on my watch

#raciolingustics #nativespeakerism #linguisticdiscrimination in two latest @RandyRainbow videos-Why I ❤️ his satire, but I have to call this one out

Sociolinguistic diaries…

Is it only me or what? 😠🙄
I’m all for satirizing politics. Those who know me would know that I sure enjoy a good laugh at expense of less than deserving politicians or their spouses.

So what is my problem with the last two Randy videos? (Desperate Cheeto and Interview with Melania)

Easy. He builds on language and identity attached to Spanish speakers or learners of English to build his jokes, not on the bad traits we should focus on. I will write more about the Desperate Cheeto video, but for now, let me tackle the interview with Melania.

In this video, Randy attacks Melania’s lack of knowledge about politics, ignorance, or inaction THROUGH language. That is, he accomplish most of his attacks by making fun of her English.

No big deal, right?

Well, think twice. Putting at the center the way someone speaks their second language or another language further promotes an ideology of nativespeakerism that puts only the ideal speaker (accent and error – free English) as respectable, and equates lack of “ideal” language knowledge with lack of intelligence.

Many of us who speak “imperfect” English live this linguistic discrimination everyday. We seldom get taken seriously because we have an accent, or because we can’t conjugate a verb right. We are treated as stupid, etc.

So please Randy, there are so many things you can satirize about Melania, but her accented English should not be one of them. Otherwise, what? Is it now ok to treat badly, consider unintelligent those who can’t speak English a certain way? An unaccented way?

If you check all the comments on YouTube and on Facebook, people are attacking her English because it is not “perfect,” “good enough,” even “un-American” (whatever that is). It promotes an ideology of separation of “US” vs “THEM,” which is detrimental for acceptance and understanding of others.

I do not like Melania at all, but I hate to see that in the hope of having a laugh about the current political climate, we continue to deepen denigrating language ideologies we have about non-native speakers of a language and allow for other more subtle ways of discrimination. 😒

Here is the video I’m referring to

Teaching Online – Special Topics Class Fall 2017

This fall I will be teaching ESL 6973 Teaching ESL Online, an online class that would teach you best practices to do distance learning.  The class will explore virtual classroom platforms such as Blackboard Collaborate or Adobe Connect. Also, students will get hands on experience teaching English to students in Mexico.

Requirements and a list of reading materials will be posted soon!!!!

If you have already graduated, considering auditing this class 😀 See you there!