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Swedish or English?: Migrants' experiences of the exchangeability of language resources
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division for Educational Science and Languages. (BUV)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7789-9032
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, ISSN 1367-0050, E-ISSN 1747-7522, Vol. 9, no 4, 442-463 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Patterns of transmigration emerging as a consequence of globalization are creating new and complex markets for communicative resources in which languages and language varieties are differently valued. In a Swedish context, where lingua franca English can facilitate communication but where monolingual norms prevail and Swedish is positioned as the key to 'integration', the purpose of this study is to examine English-speaking migrants' experiences of opportunities to use Swedish and English in communication. Interviews were conducted with 14 recently arrived migrants with English in their repertoires. Drawing on participants' experiences of language use in institutional contexts, analyses focus on the influence of value assessments, orientations to ideal-type norms, processes of self-surveillance and the effects of discursive positionings. While migrants' language choices are understood as a consequence of structural conditions, attention is also drawn to the ways in which such choices are flexibly negotiated. Analyses shed light on participants' creative and critical capacities and how, in their language choices, they evaluate, relate to and resist macro-social structures. Different varieties of English are shown to offer different communicative opportunities and not all are equally exchangeable. Opportunities to use English also differ as a consequence of the intersections of discursive positionings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 9, no 4, 442-463 p.
Keyword [en]
Migration, English as a lingua franca, global English, language choices, language repertoires, Sweden
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-8811DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2015.1008979ISI: 000375292200006ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84925423411OAI: diva2:882895
Available from: 2015-12-16 Created: 2015-12-16 Last updated: 2016-12-19Bibliographically approved

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Henry, Alastair
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