02.01.2013

Multilingualism as a resource

In many European countries, increasing multilingualism is a phenomenon which is shaping people’s everyday lives in significant ways. For sociolinguists, multilingualism in the context of globalisation poses new challenges and questions and requires newly honed theorizations and empirical work.

The research in this theme group will investigate both the ‘global’ and ‘local’ processes and patterns of multilingualism and discuss the role and position of various languages and linguistic variation in the life of individuals and groups.

The main objectives of this approach are:

  • to theorise language diversity as a resource that is made use of by language users in ways that can both enable and delimit their possibilities for action, identification and social participation;
  • to investigate data from spoken and written different language contact situations (e.g. web writing of different kinds, media texts, electronic game sessions, classroom interactions);
  • to provide research-based information on ways and patterns of language choice and alternation in contact situations that go beyond mere inventories of language forms and patterns by focusing on what people do at the local level of discourse;
  • to explore whether and in which ways the language users make use of more conventionalised, domain-specific, discursive patterns of language use, and/or appropriate these resources in ways that can lead to innovation and hybridity;
  • to investigate ways in which diverse language resources are used to create social meaning, construct identities and negotiate membership in discourse communities and communities of practice.

To the next theme: Linguistic diversity and social action