This project examines the conditions and consequences of internationalisation and globalisation in Europe, with an emphasis on how cultural encounters are influenced by language ideology within three different fields of practice: the workplace, the school and the university. We define language ideologies as ideologies of language constituted by individuals and collective actors that manifest themselves through language representations, language choice and identity negotiation.
From a language ideological perspective the study of cultural encounters becomes a matter of examining the way a particular context enables and restricts the use of a range of linguistic and cultural resources. The extent to which our language practices, choices and representations comply with the culturally specific expectations of a particular context reveals the boundaries and restrictions for action. What language practices, choices and representations make us invisibly normative or visibly deviant and what are the consequences of such boundaries for social interactions and social relations within different institutional settings and cultural contexts?
Three fields of practice
Empirically, we are interested in three fields of practice that collectively cover the macro-perspective as well as the micro-perspective on language ideology:
1) The workplace
This field of practice will focus on work-place interaction involving Danish native-speakers and non-native speakers. It will examine how ideologies of language are manifested in interactional practices of categorization. How are individuals in interaction made visible and non-visible as native speakers, non-native speakers, second-language speakers or foreign language speakers? Such questions relate to issues of language identity in the sense that ideologies of language determine which language memberships are available and non-available within a particular context. Identity is considered temporary establishments of categories and category memberships. The Danish contribution will be led by Louise Tranekjær, Assistant Professor at the Cultural Encounters Program, RU.
2) Primary and lower secondary schools
In schools, language ideologies manifest themselves at various levels, for instance in the choice and representation of the languages present in the school, the language(s) of schooling and the compulsory and optional language classes (foreign, regional, minority and migration languages). The Danish contribution focusses on the analysis of language ideologies in the Danish folkeskole and will be led by Petra Daryai-Hansen, Assistant Professor at the German Department, RU.
The multilingual reality in higher education, i.e. the sum of languages present in the university (included the chosen language(s) of instruction), is influenced and represented by national policies, the university management, teachers and students. The Danish contribution will concentrate on language hierarchies that are established through language policies at Roskilde University and microanalysis of student counseling interviews, focusing on how international as well as Danish students represent themselves and each other. The Danish contribution will be led by Petra Daryai-Hansen, Louise Tranekjær and Professor Karen Risager (RU).
The study of cultural encounters within a globalized world inevitably involves the study of language encounters at various levels. Other studies of cultural encounters that include a language dimension often consider language and culture to imply and determine one another. This project seeks to illuminate the greater complexity of this relation not only theoretically but also empirically by investigating cultural encounters within different fields of practice. Within this project culture is considered to be the shared communities of meaning that are constituted through such processes of meaning. These communities are manifested in the negotiation of meanings and interpretations. Culture is a sharedness that is inherently contextual and dynamic. While we consider all language practices to be cultural, we apply Risager’s (2006) analytical distinction and use ‘language’ to refer to linguistically formed culture, and ‘culture’ to refer to non-linguistically formed culture. We hereby adopt the perspective on culture and language as integrated yet separable phenomena.
Trans-national research within the field of language ideology may elaborate on the existing national research by (a) comparing data from different countries and regions, within the three fields of practice, (b) by comparing theories and methodologies and (c) hereby contributing to joint synthetic development of theory.