Lisa Donlan

Twitter: @Lisa_Donlan

Previous Education

BA (Hons) (First Class) English Literature with English Language, University of Salford (2013-2016).

MA Linguistics, University of Manchester (2016-).

Thesis Title

“You Either Die a Cinnamon Roll or Live Long Enough to Become a Problematic Fave”: The Carnivalesque Discursive Practices of Fandom Blogs on Tumblr.


Prof. Maj-Britt Mosegaard Hansen (University of Manchester).

Research Summary

My research explores fandom blogs on the microblogging platform Tumblr in relation to Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of the carnivalesque. I contend that the individuals (many of whom are young women) who run Tumblr fandom blogs have eluded the restraints of “standard” English by developing their own playful, subversive “non-standard” sociolect (featuring an inventive lexicon, orthography, and syntax), which is best understood in relation to Bakhtin’s notion of the carnivalesque. In other words, I argue that Tumblr blogs function as the modern-day equivalent of the medieval carnival, representing a liberation from the linguistic and cultural norms of modern society. This area of study has implications both in terms of furthering our knowledge of online discourse communities and also in terms of understanding how young women and girls are once again standing at the forefront of linguistic innovation, rendering prescriptive “rules” of language obsolete in order to construct their (internet) identities and accommodate their own linguistic needs and cultural interests.

Research Interests

Social media
Computational sociolinguistics
Fandom Studies
Girlhood studies
Carnival and the Carnivalesque


Journal Articles
Donlan, L. (2016). Researching the Etymology of Australian English Colloquialisms in the Digital Age: Implications for 21st Century Lexicography. English Today, 32(3), 40-44. DOI:

Creative Writing
Donlan, L. (2013). Confessions from the Tower Block. In C. Bryant, S. O’Connor, A. Smith, & K. Thomas (Eds.), Best of Manchester Poets: an Anthology Volume 3, (pp. 47-50). Manchester: Puppywolf.

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