Scientific Event

Relationships through chat

Parallel lecture (P11)

Prof. Gudrun LEDEGEN

My speech will focus on how chat-conversations can be an efficient response to callers' discomfort, and how do they allow people to be welcomed and listened to. The language practices are distancing, to allow the callers to confide, but it can also be finely marked by emotion and humour, in a profound respect and reassurance of the people who come to the chat. Even if the chat lacks the prosody of the oral voice or the in-depth development of writing via email, by more rapid answering as being co-connected, multiple solutions and adaptations to this device are revealed in my study corpus of 11 years of the chat (2005-2015), which begins from the early development of this chat-device in the non-profit-making organisation - made up specifically for young public - until its cruising speed. The analysis will focus more specifically on the expression of different emotions and expressions of humour, that are some among the elements that make this distant face-to-face by screen fully efficient. 

Birgit KNATZ

Digitalisation is increasingly influencing our lives, the way we communicate and work, our consumer behaviour and our social relationships. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to restrictions in mobility and social interaction, has affected the quality of life of many people, depression, anxiety disorders and addictions, as well as other mental illnesses have increased worldwide (WHO). As a helpline, we are challenged to continue to go digital and offer emotional support in online formats such as mail, chat, messenger services and online programmes (apps). As is well known, there are differences between emailing, chatting and telephoning. The form of communication in emailing and chatting is written-based and non-verbal signals such as facial expressions and gestures, voice, tone of voice and intonation are omitted. Misunderstandings are more frequent in chatting than in emailing, as chats take place in real time (synchronously) and require faster and more spontaneous communication, whereas in emailing, both the person seeking advice and the counsellor have more time to formulate their text. In addition, notions of professionalism get in the way of casual, terse and more uninhibited chat communication. In my lecture, I will show which digital counselling formats exist with their specific characteristics, features and target group reach and how a written dialogue via chat and email can succeed.

Day 3


20 October

11.00 - 12.30 Parallel Lectures / Workshops
  • Code: P11
  • Duration: 90 min
  • Language: French - German
  • Translation: German - French

Prof. Gudrun LEDEGEN  

Professor at the University Rennes 2 (France), Co-Director of the Research Laboratory PREFICS (Pôle de recherche Francophonies, Interculturalité, Communication, Sociolinguistique). Domains of research : Sociolinguistics - Discourse analysis - Lexicometry. My research focuses on syntactic variation of (ordinary) French in the French-speaking world, as well as on discourse analysis, more specifically of electronic writings. I'm working on the chat-device of welcoming and of prevention since 2018, analysing the interaction and organisation of these conversations, by exploring their conditions of felicity and dysfelicity.


Birgit KNATZ

Qualified social worker, supervisor (DGSv), online coach (DGOB) and tango dancer. She has been part of the management of the TelefonSeelsorge Hagen-Mark since 1996. She is a pioneer of online counselling and initiator of online pastoral care. As a founding member of the German-speaking Society for Psychosocial Online Counselling (DGOB), she was a member of the board for many years. She has also worked 27 on the editorial board of 24/7 Zeitschrift der TelefonSeelsorge Deutschland, from 2011 - 2023 as editor-in-chief. As an author, she has published specialist books and numerous articles in specialist journals.


Birgit KNATZ

Knatz, Birgit: Handbook of Internet Pastoral Care. What connects pastoral care and tango, Luther-Verlag, 2022

Knatz, Birgit & Dodier, Bernard: Mailen, chatten, zoomen: Digital forms of counselling in practice, Klett-Cotta Verlag 20021

Knatz, Birgit & Schumacher, Stefan: Mediale Dialogkompetenz, Umgang mit schwierigen Gesprächssituationen am Telefon und im Chat, Springer Verlag 2019