My bio

Dr. Anna Marie Trester is an Associate with the Learning Unit at the FrameWorks Institute.  Prior to joining FrameWorks, she served as the Director of the M.A. in Language and Communication  (MLC) Program in the Department of Linguistics at Georgetown University, where she helped students find professional application of their training in (socio)linguistics.  She has taught courses at Georgetown University, Howard University, the University of Alberta and the University of Maryland, University College (UMUC) including framing for social change, cross-cultural communication, language and social media, and the ethnography of communication.

An interactional sociolinguist, Dr. Trester has research interests in contexts where interactions take place, especially those that involve professional self-presentation.   She is the co-editor (with Deborah Tannen) of Discourse 2.0, published in 2013 by Georgetown University Press and will be self-publishing Bringing Linguistics to Work in the Spring of 2016.  Anna received both her M.A. (from NYU) and Ph.D. (from Georgetown University) in linguistics.

More about my academic writing

I have a deep commitment to making linguistics accessible and finding practical applications of linguistics research.  I explore this in my ongoing work exploring Language and Professional Identity. This interest in institutional discourse began with my dissertation (of an improvisational theater troupe), and continued with ethnographies exploring the languages practices of organizations and groups ranging from Quakers holding a silent vigil for peace to students of leadership in the business school context. My current book project “Bringing Linguistics to Work” investigates the language of the job search. I bring an interactional sociolinguistic approach to understand the texts and interactions which comprise career exploration. My interest in social media infuses this project by particular focus on the Language of LinkedIn.

Some of my favorite aspects of language to think about include:

In Telling and Retelling Prankster Tales I explore how jokes and pranks get narrated to construct and convey institutional values.

In Narrative Leadership: Storying Leaders in the Business School Classroom I examine how agency is accomplished in narratives told in the business school classroom: within the world of the story; at the interactional level; and at the intertextual level. Ultimately, I  consider implications on the discursive construction of leadership.

Goffman’s Production Format
This paper co-authored with Dr. Margaret Toye considers the affordances of the performance genre known as improvisational theater, and specifically, why ambiguity of principal makes performers enjoy it so very much!!

Discourse Markers and Constructed Dialogue
Linguists have particularly valuable insight to offer in understanding identity, given that one of the primary ways that identity emerges in interaction is via language. One way that I have explored this question is to look at the role of discourse marker “oh’ in presenting voices and accomplishing identity in interaction.

I have long had a research interest in performance, specifically in understanding how identities emerge through language in performance contexts. Intertextuality as an interactional resource is an exploration of this aspect of language drawn from my ethnography of an improvisational theater troupe in Washington, DC.

I explore the role of silence in communicating dissent and performing peace among a community of Quakers in this chapter in Adam Hodges’ Discourses of War and Peace.