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See detailMaking meaning of multilingualism at work: from competence to conviviality
Lovrits, Veronika UL

in Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development (2022)

The present study contributes to recent renewed interest in the social construction of folk linguistic knowledge and directs its focus to a multilingual workplace. The article reports on an in-depth ... [more ▼]

The present study contributes to recent renewed interest in the social construction of folk linguistic knowledge and directs its focus to a multilingual workplace. The article reports on an in-depth sociolinguistic investigation in a European institution in Luxembourg. Data were collected in 2020-2021 with trainees and permanent staff in a terminology and communication unit. The data collection triangulated qualitative techniques of longitudinal interviewing, reflective drawing, writing reflection, and observation. Analysis of participants’ stances uncovered a varying understanding of what multilingualism means in the workplace, how it changes and to what effect. During reflective participation, the trainees heightened their socio-pragmatic awareness of diversity in the meaning-making process. Moreover, they ceased to construct their personal multilingualism as proof of professional competence and started to see it as the basis of their own well-being, personal self-realisation and growth. As such, they re-coupled the social and linguistic aspect of their language use and aligned their stances with the permanent staff. This study aims to inspire more innovative approaches with a potential direct effect in multilingual workplaces, especially in those welcoming workers from monolingual or otherwise homogenous social environments. [less ▲]

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See detailPrestigious Language, Pigeonholed Speakers: Stances towards the "Native English Speaker" in a Multilingual European Institution
Lovrits, Veronika UL; de Bres, Julia

in Journal of Sociolinguistics (2021), 25(3), 398-417

Critical sociolinguistics has demonstrated that the social construct of the “native speaker” has a strong impact on people’s lives, but research on “native speaker effects” in the workplace remains rare ... [more ▼]

Critical sociolinguistics has demonstrated that the social construct of the “native speaker” has a strong impact on people’s lives, but research on “native speaker effects” in the workplace remains rare. This article examines such effects from the perspective of four “native English speaker” trainees on temporary contracts in a multilingual European Union institution in Luxembourg. Applying the framework of sociolinguistic stance to interview data and drawings, we examine how the participants position themselves towards the “native English speaker” construct at work, and how they think others position them. According to our participants, “native English speaker” positioning confers privilege but restricts opportunities, demonstrating that the interest of a multilingual organisation in using the “native English speaker” as a resource does not automatically provide a powerful position to “native English speaking” workers. Our results featuring trainees in precarious labour conditions raise broader issues regarding the precaritisation of language work in the EU. [less ▲]

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See detailMonolingual cringe and ideologies of English: Anglophone migrants to Luxembourg draw their experiences in a multilingual society
de Bres, Julia; Lovrits, Veronika UL

in Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development (2021)

This article uses reflective drawing to explore representations of multilingualism by Anglophone migrants in Luxembourg. Analysing twelve interviews in which participants drew and described their language ... [more ▼]

This article uses reflective drawing to explore representations of multilingualism by Anglophone migrants in Luxembourg. Analysing twelve interviews in which participants drew and described their language experiences, we examine the language ideologies Anglophone migrants adopt in response to the ideologies of English they encounter. Participants adopt various ideologies, sometimes aligning with the ideology of global English, sometimes with counter-ideologies of resistance to it, and sometimes a mix of the two. Visual features indexing affective states include colour, gesture, facial expression, and composition. Monolingual cringe – expressed as shame, embarrassment and being ‘bad at languages’ – performs several functions for the participants. Sometimes it serves as an affective disclaimer, allowing them to lean on their privilege in a more socially acceptable way. Sometimes it appears to express genuine distress, in the form of searing linguistic insecurity. Sometimes it performs a distancing function, enabling them to oppose themselves to the stereotype of the monolingual English speaker. The affective intensity of the drawings suggests the ideology of global English does have costs for Anglophone migrants. Fundamentally, though, monolingual cringe reinforces privilege, allowing participants to apologise for their monolingualism even as they continue to benefit from it. [less ▲]

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See detailOn socially constructed aspects of language (in)competence: Raising critical language awareness in the multilingual workplace
Lovrits, Veronika UL

Scientific Conference (2020, November 19)

In this theoretical contribution, I invite fellow researchers and managers to engage in a reflection on what is perceived as a competent language use at work. The objective is to open a broader discussion ... [more ▼]

In this theoretical contribution, I invite fellow researchers and managers to engage in a reflection on what is perceived as a competent language use at work. The objective is to open a broader discussion on seemingly obvious assumptions that may skew our understanding of everyday language practices. Critically reflected research review will point out to limitations of commonplace perspectives that mirror in managerial research and have implications for practice. Two questions will be discussed to raise critical awareness in the multilingual workplace: what linguistic norm sets the bar for the appropriateness of language use in the workplace, and whose interests does the language norm represent. This way, three problematic topics will be brought to attention: non acknowledged proliferation of linguistic concepts from education to workplace; questionable aptness of referring to standard language norm; and unacknowledged power plays fuelled by competing pragmatic needs of communicative partners. A reflection of power relations linked to norms and needs in the workplace may subsequently support a variety of practical managerial responses – ranging from a symbolic social acceptance of nonstandard language use to a decision to hire a professional linguistic service. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 88 (7 UL)