Kitchen talk – Exploring linguistic practices in liminal institutional interactions in a multilingual university setting

Spencer Hazel, Janus Mortensen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


    This chapter reports on a small-scale investigation of how linguistic diversity is managed and turned into a resource for social meaning making in an informal, multilingual setting at Danish university. Although firmly located within the institution of the university, the particular setting (known as a kitchen) represents a liminal space where institutionally implemented regulations and norms of conduct, including norms related to language choice, are less formalized than for instance in classroom settings. When language choice is not a predetermined condition of interaction, the act of selecting or negotiating a medium of interaction becomes a relevant activity for interlocutors to engage in, and we see this repeatedly in our data. Drawing on methods and theoretical insights originating in the Conversation Analytic tradition, we present a number of illustrative examples of the practices of language choice that students display during the formation or reconfiguration of engagement frameworks. We argue that language choice is an important aspect of ‘doing being an international student’ for local as well as non-local students, although the norms the two groups orient to are different.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationLanguage Alternation, Language Choice and Language Encounter in International Tertiary Education
    EditorsHartmut Haberland, Dorte Lønsmann, Bent Preisler
    Number of pages28
    Place of PublicationDordrecht
    Publication dateApr 2013
    ISBN (Print)978-94-007-6476-7
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


    • multilngual interaction; participation; identity; liminal institutional settings; international university; talk-in-interaction

    Cite this