Embodying multilingual interaction: multimodal resources and the local management of language choice

Spencer Hazel, Janus Mortensen

    Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningpeer review


    One of the defining features of internationalization in Higher Education is transnational student mobility. This mobility entails a great deal of linguistic diversity, with students from widely different linguistic backgrounds enrolled in international study programs. We are interested in how this linguistic diversity is managed in situ by participants engaged in dialogue with one another, and what it is used for in these transient multilingual communities.
    This paper presents CA-based micro-ethnographic analyses of language choice in an informal social setting – a kitchen – of an international study program at a Danish university. Due to the peripheral institutional status of this site, institutionally implemented regulations and norms of conduct, including norms related to language choice, are less formalized here than in classroom, library or office settings. One of the consequences of this status is that language choosing becomes a relevant activity for interlocutors to engage in; indeed, we argue that the practice of language choice in dialogue constitutes an important interactional competence in the very enterprise of ‘being an international student’ in this particular context.
    Adding to existing literature on language choice in interaction, our findings emphasize that analyses of language choice in multilingual settings need to take into account social actions beyond the words that are spoken. We show that facial, spatial and postural configurations, gaze orientation and gestures as well as prosodic features contribute to the situated meaning potential of language choice and language alternation. Only in the combined analysis of these diverse interactional resources are we able to build grounded interpretations of how practices of language choice and alternation are brought about and understood in the particular community of practice that we are investigating.

    Hazel, Spencer, and Janus Mortensen. forthcoming. Kitchen talk: Exploring linguistic practices in liminal institutional interactions in a multilingual university setting. in Language Alternation, Language Choice, and Language Encounter in International Education, edited by Hartmut Haberland, Dorte Lønsmann, and Bent Preisler. Dordrecht: Springer.

    p8 Conference booklet
    Publikationsdato22 mar. 2013
    StatusUdgivet - 22 mar. 2013
    BegivenhedDialogue in Multilingual, Multimodal, and Multicompetent Communities of Practice workshop - University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA
    Varighed: 22 mar. 201324 mar. 2013


    WorkshopDialogue in Multilingual, Multimodal, and Multicompetent Communities of Practice workshop
    LokationUniversity of Texas at Austin
    ByAustin, Texas

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