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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."


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Academic Paper


Title: Speakership negotiation in multilingual professional encounters A study in international workplaces in Beijing
Author: Roxana Taquechel-Chaigneau
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Aarhus University
Linguistic Field: Anthropological Linguistics; Sociolinguistics; Translation
Subject Language: English
Subject LANGUAGE Family: New English
Abstract: Multiculturalism and multilingualism in international professional contexts have become increasingly common in our globalized world. Unfortunately, this change in the way people move around the planet generates an intercontinental and interregional flow, which brings new ways of doing things; which obviously bring some issues along with them. Hence this complex social process can create complicated and problematic relationships between employees and managers from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

Although some scholars, working on management and organization studies (Barner-Rasmussen and Björkman, 2007; Tietze, 2008; Piekkari et al. 2013, among others) and on interactions at work (Mondada, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007; Merlino, 2012; Traverso, 2012; Markaki et al. 2013; Greco et al. 2013), have accumulated knowledge about the language dimension in business and management, this field still remains little explored. The lack of findings in this research field is not due to a want of interest on the part of linguistics and management experts, but to the constant linguistic challenges created by professional mobility and to the heterogeneity of approaches and traditions developed by these scholars.

The purpose of this research is to contribute from a conversation analysis perspective to studies focused on cultural and linguistic diversity management. Through a series of audio-video recordings of naturally occurring interactions at work in Beijing, I will examine how, despite the variety of languages and cultures, interactants maintain ‘social solidarity’ (Heritage, 1984; Clayman, 2002) and ensure the progression of the ongoing professional activity. It is assumed in this work that international companies develop different kinds of solutions to achieve internal communication successfully without constraints of time(1). Linguistic efforts to make communication possible in a foreign language and to resolve misunderstandings often lead to an extension of communicative activities as well as the use of extra time to resolve them. In terms of solutions, this research focused on multilingual interactions using improvised interpreters. This study is focused on those transition moments for initiating translations. Thus, I investigate the way participants negotiate or gain control of speakership for specific and pragmatic purposes. For instance, this research examines projected and unprojected opportunities to take the floor. The first set of sequences is organized around two different types of projection cues: with such token marks as “okay” and without token marks, but opened by requests for a translation. The second set exemplifies different types of interruptions (Zimmerman and West, 1975; Okamoto et al. 2002; Gibson, 2005) used for initiating interpreting sequences designed to progress activity or treat issues of misunderstanding and searching for a word. In addition, I intend to demonstrate how these interruptions are also exploited by interactants to ensure inter-comprehension in professional meetings.

(1) The notion of time has been used throughout human history as a “measurable and limited resource that can be planned, controlled and efficiently administrated” (Tietze 2008: 25). Thus the saying “time is money” (idem) points to the human effort to make services and industrial production more efficient in terms of time and speed.
Postdoctoral fellowship Final report 2015
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: Ms.
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