Image and text in the creation of dialect-related identity: the case of the Cologne dialect in Germany

Start:  Jan 18, 2018  05:00 PM
End:   Jan 18, 2018  06:30 PM

Location: Room 803, UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

Considering images and written texts in Kölsch – the German dialect of Cologne – this research explores how the various multimodal texts used in everyday life contribute to the shaping of the identity of the city dwellers and the way it is viewed by visitors.

The dialect spoken in the city of Cologne plays an important role as a cultural artefact and as a marker of local identification. Kölsch enjoys strong representation in the cultural life of the city, particularly in the pre-Lentern Karneval celebrations, popular music, posters, cartoons and theatre. It is promoted in pop song lyrics and in the local press as well as in advertising and tourist merchandising. City dwellers are encouraged to learn the dialect as a second language in courses offered by the Akademie för uns kölsche Sproch [‘Academy for our Cologne Language’].

In this session, Dr Geraldine Horan draws from her current research project on the study of the Cologne dialect and focuses on the analysis of multimodal texts from Kölsch learning textbooks, tourist posters and advertisements. Dr Horan demonstrates how images and written texts in Kölsch constitute dialect performance and contribute to a homogeneous, recognisable dialect-related identity for the city and its dwellers.

About the speaker

Dr Geraldine Horan is Senior Lecturer in German Language at UCL. Her research interests lie in feminist linguistics, critical discourse analysis, political discourse, as well as on discourses relating to dialect and identity.


This forum is free and open to all postgraduate research students and other researchers from both UCL and other universities.

Non-UCL attendees should please register in advance by emailing the Forum Coordinator Sophia Diamantopoulou (


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