Linguistic diversity and social action

In the last twenty years there has been a shift in research from linguistic and cognitive aspects of language contact to social aspects of linguistic diversity and bilingual language use as an interactional resource.

Situated analyses of multilingual language use have documented how resources from different language forms and varieties can be drawn on to create meanings, the social relevance of which emerges from the local contingencies of interaction. These studies have challenged the view of languages as discrete codes and highlighted the need to examine the use of multilingual resources from the point of view of language continua which necessarily involve diversity and complex variation and hybridization of languages in contact.

The main objectives of this approach are:

  • to bring together theories and methods of sociolinguistics, conversation analysis as well as bilingualism and second language acquisition research;
  • to explore language choice, language alternation, code-switching and other forms of linguistic diversity as instances of social action;
  • to study the immigrant varieties of Finnish which are little studied at the moment and attitudes towards them;
  • to contribute to our understanding of how participants conduct social activity in multilingual settings.

To the previous theme: Multilingualism as a resource
To the next theme: Language ideologies, language policies and language rights