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ERIC Number: EJ1041466
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jan
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-0167-8507
Multilingualism in the Workplace: Language Practices in Multilingual Contexts
Angouri, Jo
Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, v33 n1-2 p1-9 Jan 2014
The modern workplace is international and multilingual. Both white and blue collar employees are expected to be mobile, work increasingly in (virtual) teams (Gee et al. 1996) and to address complex organisational issues in a language that, often, is not their first language (L1). This results in a number of languages forming the ecosystem of public and private workplace settings. Although "linguae francae" in general and English in particular hold a privileged position in the international business arena, the linguistic landscape of both small/medium enterprises (SMEs) and multinationals (MNCs) is rich and diverse. Employees cross professional, linguistic and national boundaries as part of their daily routine at work (Appadurai 1996) and business mobility is a characteristic of the global economy as "business success depends on expanding the global reach on an organization" (Earley & Gibson 2002: 17). Employees' realities are becoming increasingly multifaceted and a number of perspectives are relevant to the understanding of the angles of multilingualism at work. Although research is typically focused on corporate/institutional environments and the ways in which linguistic diversity is negotiated between white collar employees, multilingualism is also very relevant to blue collar workers who are often not equally fluent in the companies' working language/s. Accordingly, the aim of this special double issue is to address multilingualism at work as a complex phenomenon and to bring together a number of perspectives such as: the language policy of workplaces and institutions, the tacit language practices and cultural norms of professional groups, the language/s used in a community and how this is handled in Goffmanian frontstage and backstage encounters among others.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
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