Project Title:

La Gestión del Multilinguismo en el Ámbito Institucional (The Management of Multilingualism in Institutional Sites)

Project Reference:

HUM2007-61864, Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología, Plan Nacional de la Ciencia I D


A group of eleven researchers: principal investigator Melissa G. Moyer, Eva Codó, Melinda Dooly, Sònia Oliver, Dolores Ruiz Lozano, Gabriele Budach, Alexandre Duchene and Monica Heller. Research Assistants: Maria Rosa Garrido, Maria Sabaté and Katia Yago.

Project Summary:

The Management of Multilingualism in Institutional Sites

TOPIC The topic of this research project has to do with the management of multilingualism in three institutional contexts. The initial hypothesis holds that changes resulting from an increasingly globalized economy have contributed to a new situation of multilingualism in the Spanish and Catalan context. These changes have brought about new linguistic practices that need to be studied from an interdisciplinary perspective.

OBJECTIVES The object of the present investigation is to undertake ethnographic studies at three sites: a non-governmental organization dedicated to adult education, a public hospital, and a multinational company based in Spain. The specific objectives of this project are: (a) to establish the multilingual practices (the distribution of languages) in each institution, (b) to analyze and characterize multilingual interactions and the strategies adopted to negotiate meaning as well as language diversity; (c) to study the role of English in a global world and in particular how it works as a lingua franca in the three sites; (d) to propose a model to manage linguistic diversity; (e) to contribute to improving knowledge about a new sociolinguistic situation in Spain. The object of this project is to make a theoretical contribution that will help us to better understand the role of language in the new economy of services. It seeks to provide an understanding how different ways of being and practicing multilingualism acquires value in the local linguistic markets.

METHODOLOGY A qualitative methodology that requires ethnographic fieldwork in each one of the organizations is used. The data obtained from participant observation techniques and field notes are complemented with detailed transcriptions of audio and video recordings undertaken in the three service providing institutions, audio interviews (spontaneous and structured) will be carried out with both institutional representatives and the public, and finally secondary data such as legislation, official documents as well as public declarations in the media by institutional representatives.