Polylingual group conversations in late modern society

Janus Spindler Møller

Copenhagen University, Denmark

WS140: Multilingualism and identities across Contexts: Turkish-speaking Youth in Europe

The Køge Project (see Jørgensen 2003 for an introduction) has group recordings involving the same Turkish-Danish speakers during 9 years and again 8 years later. In my paper I will combine a quantitative study of the development in the patterns of language choice with qualitative micro analysis of group conversations. In the quantitative study I will show the patterns in the informants’ use of Danish and Turkish over time, how they start using other sets of linguistic features such as English or German, and how all these different sets of linguistic features become more and more integrated. The hypothesis is that linguistic diversity is used as a resource that expands during more than one life stage. In the qualitative study I will conduct sequentially based micro analyses (e.g. Li Wei 2002) to show how the informants use a range of different languages for a range of purposes. I will focus on the interplay between linguistic diversity and local identity construction and negotiation (Zimmerman 1998), crossing, and performance (Rampton 2006). I will discuss how the informants orient themselves towards linguistic norms in society at large and how they negotiate linguistic norms in their peer group interaction. I will also discuss whether terms like bilingual and multilingual are appropriate in order to describe the informants’ verbal behavior in peer group interaction or whether a term like polylingual is a better word for describing the informants’ fluent use and local construction of linguistic features (such as languages) in categories.

Jørgensen, J. Normann (2003): Bilingualism in the Køge Project. In International Journal of Bilingualism, Volume 7, Number 4, 333-352.

Li Wei (2002): ’What do you want me to say?’ On the Conversation Analysis approach to bilingual interaction. In Language in Society 31. Cambridge University Press, 159-180.

Rampton, Ben (2006): Language in Late Modernity. Interaction in an urban school. Cambridge University Press.

Zimmerman, Don H. (1998): Identity, Context and Interaction. In: Antaki, Charles & Sue Widdicombe (eds.): Identities in Talk. Sage Publications, 87-106.

Session: Workshop (part 2)
Multilingualism and identities across Contexts: Turkish-speaking Youth in Europe
Friday, April 4, 2008, 13:45-15:15
room: 07