Photo of Carsten Levisen

Carsten Levisen

MA & PhD

  • Universitetsvej 1, 43.2

    DK-4000 Roskilde



Research output per year

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Personal profile




I'm a linguist and a linguistic anthropologist. I'm a member of The Young Academy of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters. My research focuses on language and life in a globalizing, multipolar world, and my research spans several disciplines:

Areas of special expertise:

  • Semantics (lexical semantics, cultural semantics, cognitive semantics)
  • Pragmatics and discourse studies (ethnopragmatics, cultural discourse studies)
  • Postcolonial linguistics (i.e. creole studies)
  • Linguistic ethnography and ethnopragmatics (language ideologies, values, emotions, sociality)

I'm a part of the Natural Semantic Metalanguage research community, and a proponent of the NSM approach to linguistic, cultural and cognitive analysis. I've contributed to major research projects such as the 'Evolution of Semantics Systems' (Max Planck, Nijmegen), 'Cognitive Creolistics' (Aarhus) and 'An Ethnography of Language Encounters' (Roskilde). I've been a visiting researcher at the Australian National University (Canberra) and the University of the South Pacific (Port Vila), and a visiting professor at University of Bremen, Tallinn University, and Ilisimatusarfik (Greenland's University).  



  • Cultural Semantics and Social CognitionA case study on the Danish Universe of Meaning. Published by De Gruyter Mouton, Berlin (Trends in Linguistics)  
  • Creole Studies: Phylogenetic Approaches. Published by J. Benjamins, Amsterdam. With Peter Bakker (Aarhus), Finn Borchsenius (Aarhus) and Eeva Sippola (Bremen).
  • Cultural Keywords in DiscoursePublished by J. Benjamins, Amsterdam. (Pragmatics and Beyond New Series). With Sophia Waters (University of New England). 


  • Language Ideologies in MusicEmergent Socialities in the Age of Transnationalism. Special issue of Language and Communication, with Eeva Sippola (Bremen) and Britta Schneider (Berlin).
  • Biases in Linguistics: Special issue of Language Sciences, with Simon Borchmann (Roskilde) and Britta Schneider (Berlin)
  • The Social Life of Interjections: Special issue of Scandinavian Studies in Language, with Eva Skafte Jensen (DSN-Copenhagen) and Tina Thode Hougaard (Aarhus).
  • The Pragmatics of Place: Postcolonial Perspectives. Special issue of Journal of Postcolonial Linguistics, with Eeva Sippola, (Helsinki). 


I've published in journals such as Language SciencesInternational Journal of Language and Culture, Intercultural Pragmatics, Language and CommunicationAustralian Journal of Linguistics, Scandinavian Studies in Language, and Cahiers de Lexicologie. I've also published chapters in edited books, such as the ‘The Semantics of Nouns’, Z. Ye (Oxford University Press), 'Languages - Cultures - Worldviews, A. Glaz (Routledge) and encyclopedias such as International Encyclopedia of Intercultural Communication.  


  • Place concepts and popular geopolitics
  • Humour in language and across languages
  • Relational semantics (incl. address, greetings)
  • Culture-specific emotions and emotive interjections
  • Visual semantics across languages (incl. colour, aesthetics, light, darkness)  


  • "Postcolonial Semantics" (a monograph)
  • The semantics of sarcasm in English and Danish. Paper with Cliff Goddard (Griffith)
  • Meanings of Life Beyond English. Paper with Anna Wierzbicka (Canberra)
  • Visual Semantics - special issue with Mari Uusküla (Tallinn)
  • Language and Popular Geopolitics - special issue with Susana Fernández (Aarhus)
  • "Pæn, Flot, Dejlig and Lækker: A lexical anthropology of Danish Folk Aesthetics, for a special issue in International Journal of Language and Culture, ed. by Anna Gladkova (Monash) and Jesus Romero-Trillo (Madrid).


  • 2015-: Associate Professor, Roskilde University, Denmark
  • 2011-2015: Assistant Professor, postdoc and lecturer,  Aarhus University, Denmark
  • 2007-2010: PhD student, University of New England, Australia 


External positions

Researcher, Aarhus University

1 Jan 201331 Dec 2015


  • Language, Language usage, Philosophy of language
  • Semantics
  • Pragmatics
  • Discourse Studies
  • Postcolonial Linguistics
  • Creole Studies
  • Cultural encounters, Multi-culturalism
  • Linguistic Anthropology

Publication network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output

Pæn, Flot, Dejlig, and Lækker: A Lexical Anthropology of Danish Folk Aesthetics

Levisen, C., 2021, (Accepted/In press) In : International Journal of Language and Culture.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Lockdownbogen: Tanker om videnskab i en krisetid

Andersen, C. (ed.), Levisen, C. (ed.), Jauffred, L. (ed.), Lomborg, S. (ed.) & Laustsen, A. H. (ed.), 2020, (In preparation) Det Unge Akademi.

Research output: Book/ReportAnthology

Meanings of Life Beyond English: On "happiness" and other human values

Levisen, C. & Wierzbicka, A., 2020, (Submitted) Happiness Beyond Well-being. Leontiev, D., Osin, E. & Sheldon, K. (eds.).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

On languages on islands

Nash, J., Bakker, P., Bøegh, K. F., Daval-Markussen, A., Haberland, H., Kedwards, D., Levisen, C., Markússon, J. S., Ladhams, J., Robbe, J. R. & Willemsen, J., 2020, In : Acta Linguistica Hafniensia: International Journal of Linguistics .

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Levisen, C., 2020, (Accepted/In press) Lockdownbogen: Tanker om videnskab i en krisetid. Andersen, C., Levisen, C., Jauffred, L., Lomborg, S. & Laustsen, A. H. (eds.). Det Unge Akademi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterCommunication


Journal of Postcolonial Linguistics

Levisen, C. & Sippola, E.

01/01/2018 → …

Project: Research

Ord i Paradis: Semantikken i Stillehavets Kreolsprog

Levisen, C.


Project: Research


De Gruyter (Publisher)

Carsten Levisen (Editor)

14 Jun 2020

Activity: Editorial work and peer reviewPeer review of manuscriptsResearch

Journal Launch - Journal of Postcolonial Linguistics

Carsten Levisen (Participant), , Eeva Sippola (Participant), & Ella Korhonen (Participant)

30 Jan 20203 Feb 2020

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganisation and participation in conference

Translating Keywords: Ethnolinguistic perspectives on Danish folk aesthetics

Carsten Levisen (Speaker)

9 Mar 2020

Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution

NSM Online Seminar

Carsten Levisen (Participant)

6 Apr 2020

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Press / Media

Ord og Andre Undere

Carsten Levisen


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media

Toilet-graffiti afslører helt sort dansk humor

Carsten Levisen


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

Indespærret i Engelsk

Carsten Levisen


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media

Indespærret i engelsk

Carsten Levisen


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media