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Linda Flores Ohlson

Senior Lecturer

Department of Languages &
Visiting address
Renströmsgatan 6
41256 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 200
40530 Göteborg

About Linda Flores Ohlson

  • Phone/office hour: By agreement via e-mail


I obtained my PhD in Spanish-English bilingualism in the U.S. at the University of Gothenburg in May 2007. The title of my doctoral thesis is ‘Soy el brother de dos lenguas’ El cambio de código en la música popular contemporánea de los hispanos en los Estados Unidos.


I am a senior lecturer in Spanish, and I mainly teach linguistics and grammar on both the introductoory course and the intermediate course. I supervise dissertations and teach on the international languages programme and the master’s programme in languages and intercultural communication. I also work on a 10% basis at PIL (Pedagogical Development and Interactive Learning), taking part in certain seminars on the teaching education courses and holding a workshop at PIL. I am responsible for the beginners’ courses in Spanish, the introductory course in Spanish (online and campus), the subsidiary course in Spanish grammar at intermediate level, the dissertation course, the courses on language in practice and the subsidiary course on language and society within the master’s programme in languages and intercultural communication.


The Zombie as a pronoun

Current research project

Abstract: The apocalyptic narratives in which zombies, humans who have been infected by a virus, died and resurrected as monsters with no memory or conscience - invade the world and mercilessly attack humans are not a new invention. Despite being more numerous in the XXI century, their characteristics are reflected in early texts such as I Am Legend (Matheson 1995, original publication 1954) and The Last Man (Shelley 2004, original publication 1826).

The most striking feature of the XXI century Gothic literature is that vampires are accompanied by other fantasy creatures like demons, fairies, werewolves and, above all, zombies (Spooner 2015: 180). In other words, zombies have become very popular. Spooner (2015: 183) states that the modern zombie is used to explore a variety of themes such as capitalist consumption, viral pandemic, environmental disaster, military irresponsibility and celebrity culture. He indicates that many of the more recent texts show signs of a new era for the zombie, the assimilation into society through rehabilitation of some kind. They are thus no longer the inhuman monster we find in traditional Gothic literature but rather "a metaphor for alienated otherness" (Spooner 2015: 183).

The definition of zombie as ‘a person or reanimated corpse that has been turned into a creature capable of movement but not of rational thought, which feeds on human flesh’ (Oxford Dictionaries) leads us to wonder if these fictional creatures are really characterized as persons in fictional literature, and if they are not, how is the dehumanization or distance between humans and zombies expressed? I will try to answer these questions from a linguistic perspective focusing on the subject- and possessive pronouns that are used to refer to zombies in novels. Since standard English has two categories of pronouns, the one used for humans (He/She, His/Her) and the one used for things and sometimes animals (It, Its) it is interesting to study how these categories are used in order to (de-)humanize the zombie.

The corpus consists of six novels, three of which constitute a trilogy and one which is a collection of about 30 stories by various authors: The Complete Strain Trilogy (Del Toro and Hogan 2013), The Living Dead (Adams 2008), World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (Brooks 2006), Death Has Come Up Into Our Windows (Litore 2011).

In my research I have observed that when it comes to human compassion, for example when the narrator is confronted with a zombie and is painfully aware of the fact that this creature used to be a person, ‘he/she, his/her’ are preferably used. This happens frequently at the beginning of the apocalypse, when people are still in shock, finding what is happening around them hard to understand or even believe. As the survivors become more used to the new apocalyptic world, and fight zombies on a daily basis, the pronouns used to refer to the zombies are more frequently ‘it, its’. This suggests that the animate feature of personal pronouns in Standard English is used by authors as an implicit means to humanize or dehumanize the zombie.

Adams, J. J., Ed. (2008). The Living Dead. London, Orbit Books.

Brooks, M. (2006). World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, New York, Broadway Paperbacks

Del Toro, G. and C. Hogan (2013). The Complete Strain Trilogy, Harper Collins Publishers

Litore, S. (2011) Death Has Come Up Into Our Windows. The Zombie Bible. Kindle Edition

Matheson, R. (1995). 1954. I Am Legend, New York, Tom Doherty Associates

Oxford Dictionaries.

Shelley, M. (2004). 1826. The Last Man, Hertfordshire, Worldworth Editions Limited

Spooner, C. (2015). Twenty-First-Century Gothic. Terror and Wonder. The Gothic Imagination. D. Townshend. London, The British Library: 180-207.

Presentations of the project:

  • 10th Conference of the Nordic Latin American Research Newtork (NOLAN), Oslo, oktober 2018
  • 28th Annual Conference of the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association (MAPACA), Philadelphia, USA, oktober 2017
  • 9th Conference of The Nordic Latin American Research Network (NOLAN), Göteborg, juni 2017
  • XXVIII Congreso Internacional de Lingüística y Filología Romances. Rom, Italien, juli 2016
  • 34 Congreso Internacional de la Asociación Española de Lingüística Aplicada. Alicante, Spanien, april 2016

Discourse analysis with a sociolinguistic perspective

Previous research project

Discourse analysis of Latin American immigration and discrimination of Latinos in the U.S. The research material consists of blogs written in Spanish and English by Latinos in the U.S. In-depth discourse analysis to answer the following questions:

  • What values regarding immigration and discrimination of immigrants in the U.S. are expressed in the blogs?
  • In what ways are these values expressed?
  • What are the sources of the values expressed?
  • Can any commonly recurring themes related to immigration and discrimination of the immigrants be identified in the blogs?

Various topics will be addressed in the project, including the DREAM Act and the American Dream.

About 50 million individuals of Latin American descent live in the U.S. The group comprises the largest minority in the country. Their spending power is strong and their political power continues to increase. Recent decades have seen growing hostility towards immigrants and increasing resistance to the Spanish language in the country. Research on discrimination of immigrants can help us better understand how we can work against it.


Gee, James Paul. 2011. How to do discourse analysis: A toolkit, New York, Routledge. Martin, James R. y David Rose. 2007. Working with discourse: Meaning beyond the clause, Second Edition. London, Continuum.

Presentations of the project:

  • Conferencia Internacional en Lingüística, Literatura y Estudios Culturales en Lenguas Modernas (CILLEC). Murcia, Spanien, september 2013.
  • Spanish in the US and Spanish in Contact with Other Languages. Mcallen, USA, mars 2013.
  • Nordic Latin American Research Network (NOLAN), Stockholm, april 2012.
  • Nordic Latin American Research Network (NOLAN), Oslo, Norge, november 2013.
  • XVII Congreso Internacional de la Asociación de Lingüística y Filología de América Latina (ALFAL), João Pessoa, Brasilien, juli 2014.
  • XIX Congreso de romanistas escandinavos, Reyklavík, Island, augusti 2014.