Photo of Carsten Levisen

Carsten Levisen

MA & PhD

  • Universitetsvej 1, 43.2

    DK-4000 Roskilde



Research activity 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 (cultural pragmatics, cultural discourse studies)
  • Cultural linguistics (linguistic worldviews, language ideologies, emotions, sociality)
  • Postcolonial linguistics (i.e. creole studies)

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'm also active in The International Association for Colonial and Postcolonial LinguisticsI'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), the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg Institute of Advanced Studies (Bremen) and a visiting professor Tallinn University, and Ilisimatusarfik (Greenland's University).




  • 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). 
  • Tanker i lockdown: [Thoughts in Lockdown]. Published by The Young Academy, Copenhagen. With Casper Andersen (Aarhus), Liselotte Jauffred (Copenhagen), Andreas Hougaard Laustsen (DTU-Copenhagen), Stine Lomborg (Copenhagen), Birgitte Beck Pristed (Aarhus).


  • 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 Nordic Journal of Linguistics. 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
  • 2019-2020: Senior Research Fellow, Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg IAS, Bremen, Germany
  • 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

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