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Academic Paper

Title: Multilingualism in the Workplace
Author: Britt-Louise Gunnarsson
Institution: University of Uppsala
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Discourse Analysis
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This survey article presents studies on multilingualism in the workplace carried out in different regions. One aim is to give a cross-cultural picture of workplace studies on different languages, and another is to discuss both positive and problem-based accounts of multilingualism at work. The conditions for workplace discourse have been influenced by a series of changes taking place in recent decades. Technological advances have led to new types of networks and workplaces, making linguistic issues salient, at the same time as many low-paid workers are found in traditional jobs, for which the face-to face interaction is central. A model is presented, the aim of which is to grasp the complex and dynamic interplay between workplace discourse and its various contextual frames. Overviews of studies on multilingualism at work are discussed with a focus on workplaces in the inner, outer, and expanding English circles; in transnational companies; and in multilingual regions and English lingua franca workplaces in Europe. Workplaces with workforce diversity are also dealt with. In the discussion section, the scope is enlarged and workplace discourse is related to various contextual frameworks. Finally, some key topics for future studies are sketched.


This article appears IN Annual Review of Applied Linguistics Vol. 33, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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