Persuasive communication

Centre for Language Studies | Faculty of Arts | Radboud University Nijmegen

Lieke Verheijen

PhD candidate


Lieke studied English Language and Culture at Radboud University in Nijmegen (‘propedeuse’, BA and MA cum laude), which she completed with a master’s thesis entitled ‘The Development of Syntactic Structures in (Very) Advanced Dutch EFL Writing.’ Then she followed the two-year research master’s program Language and Communication at Radboud University and Tilburg University. She graduated summa cum laude with her second master’s thesis “The Language of Quoting in Academic Writing.” During her studies, Lieke worked as a student assistant on several projects and did a research internship at VU University in Amsterdam. Lieke is currently working as a PhD candidate at the Department of Dutch Language and Culture and the Centre for Language Studies at Radboud University. She conducts research on “The impact of computer-mediated communication on literacy”, under supervision of Prof Dr Wilbert Spooren and Prof Dr Ans van Kemenade. This PhD project is funded by the NWO program PhDs in the Humanities.


Lieke investigates the language used by Dutch youths in computer-mediated communication (CMC) and how this affects their literacy skills. In the last decade, CMC has grown explosively as a means of communication. The popularity of digital communication technologies – from text messaging (SMS), instant messaging (WhatsApp), and microblogging (Twitter) to social networking sites (Facebook) – has increased rapidly, also among youths. Because the language used in CMC can deviate from the conventional norms of spelling, grammar, and punctuation, this has raised concerns among adults, teachers, and the media that CMC may have a detrimental effect on traditional literacy: they are afraid it may degrade youngsters’ reading, writing, or spelling skills. Linguists, on the other hand, point out what they see as positive aspects of using CMC, such as increased exposure to text, increased motivation to read and write, and increased phonological and metalinguistic awareness. Previous empirical studies into the effects of CMC on literacy reveal mixed results and leave many questions unanswered. Lieke aims to bring order into this chaos of opinions and findings by further investigating the impact of CMC on literacy, which is both scientifically and socially an intriguing issue. Her research focuses on Dutch youths and explores whether educational level and age group are significant factors here.


computer-mediated communication, social media, writing, literacy, youth language


Verheijen, L. (under external review). New spelling norms in new media writings: orthographic deviations in Dutch youths’ computer-mediated communication. Journal of Written Language & Literacy, special issue.

Verheijen, L. (2016). Linguistic characteristics of Dutch computer-mediated communication: CMC and school writing compared. Proceedings of the 4th Conference on CMC and Social Media Corpora for the Humanities, 66–69.

Verheijen, L., & W. Stoop (2016). Collecting Facebook posts and WhatsApp chats: corpus compilation of private social media messages. In P. Sojka et al. (eds.), Text, Speech and Dialogue: 19th International Conference, TSD 2016, LNAI 9924 (pp. 249-258). Springer.

Verheijen, L. (2016). Emoji voor Dummies: multimodaliteit in digitale communicatie met 144 pixels. Over Taal, 55(3), 16–19.

Verheijen, L. (2016). De macht van nieuwe media: hoe Nederlandse jongeren communiceren in sms’jes, chats en tweets. In D. van de Mieroop, L. Buysse, R. Coesemans & P. Gillaerts (eds.), De macht van de taal: Taalbeheersingsonderzoek in Nederland en Vlaanderen (pp. 275-293). Leuven / Den Haag: Acco.

Verheijen, L. (2015). Van standaardtaal tot ‘digi-taal’: hoe jongeren schrijven op social media. In A. Mottart & S. Vanhooren (eds.), Negenentwintigste Conferentie Onderwijs Nederlands (pp. 340–343). Gent: Academia Press.

Verheijen, L. (2015). Out-of-the-ordinary orthography: the use of textisms in Dutch youngsters’ written computer-mediated communication. York Papers in Linguistics, special issue, PARLAY Proceedings, 2, 127–142.

Verheijen, L. (2015). Zo sgrijft de jeugd van tegenwoordig – maar niet op sgool! Nieuwe media en het Standaardnederlands. VakTaal, 28(2), 6–7.

Verheijen, L. (2015). The language of quoting in academic writing. Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(1), 101–121.

Verheijen, L. (2013). The effects of text messaging and instant messaging on literacy. English Studies, 94(5), 582–602.

Verheijen, L., P. de Haan, & B. Los (2013). Information Structure: The final hurdle? The development of syntactic structures in (very) advanced Dutch EFL writing. Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics, 2(1), 92–107.