Project title: Las mudas lingüísticas: una aproximación etnográfica a los nuevos hablantes en Europa

IP: Joan Pujolar (UOC)

Subproject title: Multilingual practices in recruiting processes

Research Team: Melissa Moyer, Gema Rubio Carbonero, Hanna Klimova

Funding Body:  Ministery of Economy and Competitiveness

Summary of the project:

This project is part of a line of research aimed at understanding how speakers develop their linguistic repertoires throughout their lives and the social implications of this. After our earlier NEOPHON project, this new project (NEOPHON2) proposes to focus on the processes called “linguistic mudas” that is, the moments in life in which these changes of repertoire occur, usually because the person adopts a new language variety (dialect, language, register) in their social life. In the previous project we studied through interviews the changing linguistic repertoires of multilingual people throughout their biographies. In this project we will study in detail these moments of change in different contexts via an ethnographic methodology. We intend to observe over a period of 12-18 months the linguistic behavior of a sample of people and produce the descriptive apparatus necessary to characterize and understand these language changes, how they affect the lives of people and their social and economic opportunities.

The study proposes innovative sociolinguistic analytical thinking by focusing on the speakers as active agents who use languages to position themselves socially, build relationships on a personal level and also position themselves in relation to the multiple identities and social categorizations that exist (race, gender, class , ethno-linguistic identity, or age).

The project is divided into three sub-projects that bring together a total of 29 researchers (eight of them doctoral students). The first, directed from the Open University of Catalonia gathers three research groups interested in the ways in which multilingualism affect immigrants and generally the workforce that is more mobile, i.e. those who need to learn languages and struggle for recognition as legitimate speakers of the languages of the host society or of new professional environments. Field work is carried out in the contexts of Catalonia, Madrid and London. This subproject also integrates members of an equivalent project located in Canada who participate in the activities of analysis. The second sub-project brings together a team based in Vigo interested in studying “mudas” in Galicia, Ireland and Aragon. The third subproject is made up of Basque researchers with a long history of analyzing the phenomenon of euskaldunberriak, new speakers of Basque. Participat research groups have been articulated with the help of a COST network (Action IS1306 ISCH New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe – Opportunities and Challenges) that the original group obtained in 2013. 


For the fieldwork, we have selected a number of contexts that are expected to facilitate contact with people who are trying to get used to speak a new language or a new language variety in their daily lives. The aim is to observe, record conversations, interview and collect documentation and apply various methods adapted to each context (“shadowing”, diaries, self-recording, social network practices). Once the data is transcribed and coded, and on the basis of the experiences observed and testimonies heard, researchers will develop a conceptual framework to describe the stages of “mudas”, the subjects’ emotional investments in languages, and the consequences of “mudas” for the socialization of individuals more generally.

Further information: 

Summary of the subproject: 

This project aims to study multilingual practices (such as the use of English and other languages) in the process of recruiting, both directly by the companies and through headhunting companies. In a global sense, we want to understand how the processes of recruitment work, the general and specific strategies that are used and the relationships that are established between companies and customers (whether companies or individuals). In particular, we want to understand how the communication skills of the candidates are evaluated in the recruitment processes.

Further information: