26.1999, Review: Applied Ling; Discourse; Pragmatics; Socioling: Berthoud, Grin, Lüdi (2013)

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Subject: 26.1999, Review: Applied Ling; Discourse; Pragmatics; Socioling: Berthoud, Grin, Lüdi (2013)

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Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2015 17:21:10
From: Ruxandra Comanaru [ruxandracomanaru at gmail.com]
Subject: Exploring the Dynamics of Multilingualism

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Book announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/25/25-167.html

EDITOR: Anne-Claude  Berthoud
EDITOR: François  Grin
EDITOR: Georges  Lüdi
TITLE: Exploring the Dynamics of Multilingualism
SERIES TITLE: Multilingualism and Diversity Management 2
PUBLISHER: John Benjamins
YEAR: 2013

REVIEWER: Ruxandra Comanaru, Birkbeck College, University of London

Review's Editors: Nancy Caplow and Helen Aristar-Dry


This edited book is the second volume of the book series entitled
“Multilingualism and Diversity Management”. Together with the other two
volumes, the series aims to provide insight into the many faces of
multilingualism. It is based on a research project which investigated the
dynamic nature of multilingualism over a five-year period under the DYLAN
Project (Language Dynamics and Management of Diversity). This project, funded
by the European Commission, gathered researchers from 18 European
universities.  The present book compiles 19 chapters based on this project,
each covering an area of research in a particular European context


Berthoud, A.-C., Grin, F. and Lüdi, G.

As is customary with edited volumes, “Exploring the dynamics of
Multilingualism” begins with an introduction by the editors, in which they
describe the context, analytical framework, and methodological orientations,
as well as an overview of the book. The main objectives of the project and the
book are discussed. The authors suggest that the overarching theme is to
assess whether the linguistic diversity of Europe is an asset or a liability.
For this purpose, the research project has been conducted in three contexts:
“companies, official bodies of the European Union and institutions of higher
education” (p. xiii). The book has also been divided into different parts
using these terrains, as the editors call them, followed by a last section on
“transversal issues” which brings together the research studies and identifies
issues and themes across the project. The editors discuss the variety of
methodological approaches and themes covered by the book and their relevance
for the study of the dynamic nature of multilingualism.


The first section of the book addresses multilingualism within companies. This
part is comprised of 7 chapters which will be briefly described below.

Chapter 1. Multilingual practices in professional settings: Keeping the
delicate balance between progressivity and intersubjectivity
Markaki, V., Merlino, S., Mondada, L., Oloff, F. and Traverso, V.

The first chapter focuses on addressing the ways in which multilingualism
functions in professional settings, using video-recorded data from business
meetings gathering international and multilingual actors in the region of
Lyon. The authors use conversational analysis and interactional linguistics to
show how participants are malleable in their use of multilingual resources to
facilitate intersubjectivity, sometimes even risking progressivity by doing
so. The authors argue that in this particular setting, participants addressed
the issues that arose, by repairing potential problems and adjusting to the
multilingual practices of the context.

Chapter 2. The practical processing of plurilingualism as a resource in
professional activities: ‘Border-crossing’ and ‘languaging’ in multilingual
Greco, L., Renaud, P. and Taquechel, R. 

The following chapter investigates the multilingual practices in a
professional setting in the French context, this time in Paris.  The authors
used conversation analysis to analyse multilingual interactions and found that
the linguistic heterogeneity of an environment functions as a resource in the
interaction of multilingual participants, aiding in the production, but also
in the context and identity categorisation. Participants used resources such
as “border-crossing”, “language bricolage” and “languaging” in multilingual
interactions to facilitate communication. 

Chapter 3. Multilingualism and diversity management in companies in the Upper
Rhine Region
Lüdi, G., Höchle, K. and Yanaprasart, P.

The third chapter looked at how companies managed their linguistic diversity
in the Swiss context. Using a mixed-methods approach, the authors focused on
the companies’ shift to English and how a “multilingual mentality” led to a
multilingual solution as a distinct advantage in the business setting. They
argue that companies could pair the use of a lingua franca at an institutional
level with the facilitation of multilingual interactions. The advantages and
disadvantages of both positions are discussed. The authors argue that a
context which supports multiculturalism and multilingualism is optimal for
business, since the institutional multilingualism and the multilanguaging
create a harmonious environment.

Chapter 4. Representations of multilingualism and management of linguistic
diversity in companies: Intertwining of collective monophony and polyphony in
individual enunciators
Bothorel-Witz, A. and Tsamadou-Jacoberger, I.

This chapter used discourse analysis to account for the differences in
executives’ discourses between the shared representation of group identity and
individual perspectives on multilingualism and diversity in the management of
international companies in the region of Alsace, France. The authors contrast
the monophony of the collective discourses with the polyphony of individual
articulation of the sociolinguistic representations. The collective and
individual dimensions were found to be closely related and difficult to
separate, a fact which requires recognition at the decision-making level of
international companies.

Chapter 5. A social representational perspective on languages and their
management in the Danish corporate sector
Millar, S., Cifuentes, S. and Jensen, A. 

This chapter used Social Representation Theory to investigate the
representation of languages and language learning, as well as corporate
language management forms in Danish companies of various sizes. The study
employed a multi-method approach to investigate the research questions
proposed. The results suggested that languages other than English were judged
on their level of utility, status, aesthetics and complexity; however, the
authors suggested that other languages were often proposed as alternatives to
English when English was absent. 

Chapter 6. What can Gaelic teach us about effective policy through planning?:
Strategies in Gaelic language planning
Milligan, L., Chalmers, D. and O'Donnell, H. 

The sixth chapter focuses on Scotland, a context particularly relevant in
light of the referendum on Scotland’s independence. The investigation centred
on the bilingual Gaelic/English language policy in the business environment,
particularly as it relates to translation, training and development.The study
used mixed methodology -- that is, policy analysis, case studies and surveys.
The results suggested that, in order to arrive at a feasible bilingual
Gaelic-English context, translations, although costly, could provide a
stepping stone while companies implemented other strategies, such as training
and development. 

Chapter 7. Language diversity management on corporate websites
Yanaprasart, P.,  Choremi, T. and Gander, F.

The final chapter of this section investigated the management of language
diversity on companies’ websites. The authors concluded that, although English
was the dominant language in the online environment, companies adopted
different strategies when dealing with virtual multilingualism. One dominant
strategy was creating different equivalent websites in different languages,
thus yielding multiple monolingual online environments. The authors drew
attention to the fact that there were no websites which incorporated more
languages. Some visitors, though, might find it necessary to engage in
multilingual practices when looking at particular areas on the websites, such
as job offers.


The second part brings together three chapters which aim to investigate
multilingualism and language policy and implementation at the institutional
level in the EU.

Chapter 8. Language competence and language choice within EU institutions and
their effects on national legislative authorities
Kruse, J. and Ammon, U.

This chapter presents a complex analysis of the use of multilingualism among
EU officials, particularly as it relates to working languages at the EU level
and to  the unofficial institutional procedural languages. The authors also
discuss the language knowledge of the EU commissioners. They conclude that
although most of the officials surveyed had a clear preference for
multilingual policies and linguistic equality at the EU level, in practice
they used their own language skills. They also suggest that, although EU
multilingual policies exist, the reality points to the predominant use of
English, along with a few other languages for pragmatic reasons. The authors
recommend the realignment of language policies and politics.

Chapter 9. EU and lesser-used languages: Slovene language in EU institutions
Stritar, M. and Stabej, M.

The following chapter is a case study of Slovene, and its role in the
linguistic landscape at the European and national level. This study suggests
that the role of lesser-used European languages at the EU institutional level
has a formal and symbolic value, while the reality points to the use of lingua
franca (English and/or French). At the national level, different political
parties have used the EU either as proof of the equal importance of Slovene on
the European scene, or as a vulnerable language when compared to other
European languages. The authors conclude that the EU multilingual guidelines
are observed only if they are required by the EU. 

Chapter 10. Dynamics of multilingualism in post-Enlargement EU institutions:
Perceptions, Conceptions and Practices
Krzyżanowski, M. and Wodak, R. 

This section finishes with a chapter on the intricacies of the dynamics of
multilingualism in EU institutions, investigating perceptions and conceptions,
and how they translate into practices of the EU. The study looked at the
changes that were brought about by the enlargement of the EU with regards to
the management of language diversity. The authors suggest that there is a
discrepancy between the view of multilingualism as seen from the outside (EU
member states) and from the inside (EU institutions), and propose that the
EU’s Language and Multilingualism policy should become a policy field separate
from the EU’s political and economic strategies. 


The third section presents six studies conducted at various European
universities. The section addresses two research fields: linguistic policies
and planning, and their effectiveness. 

Chapter 11. Accomplishing multilingualism through plurilingual activities
Nussbaum, L., Moore, E. and Borràs, E. 

The first chapter investigates the plurilingual practices in two universities
in Catalonia. The authors employ a qualitative methodology to assess the
participants’ use of their plurilingual resources in and out of the classroom
context (Catalan, Spanish and/or English) to construct multilingualism and
internationalism. The results point to the hybrid nature of verbal and
note-taking practices. 

Chapter 12. Multilingual higher education between policies and practices: A
case study
Veronesi, D., Spreafico, L., Varcasia, C., Vietti,A. and Franceschini, R.

This chapter presents a case study of a trilingual university in Italy -- The
Free University of Bozen-Bolzano. The authors provide clear examples in which
the use of various languages brings substance to an educational interaction,
and enhances learning and understanding. They conclude that linguistic
diversity in high education should be regarded as an asset, rather than a

Chapter 13. Plurilingualisms and knowledge construction in higher education
Gajo, L., Grobet, A., Serra, C., Steffen, G., Müller, G. and Berthoud, A.-C.

The following chapter also argues for the benefits of plurilingual practices
in the educational setting. Using an emic approach (conversation and discourse
analysis, and language acquisition theories) for analysing six Swiss
university contexts, the authors suggest that allowing plurilingual practices
in the educational setting leads to increased collaborative practices in the
construction of knowledge.

Chapter 14. Language policies in universities and their outcomes: The
University of Helsinki in a Northern European context
Moring, T., Godenhjelm, S., Haapamäki, S., Lindström, J., Östman, J.-O.,
Saari, M. and Sylvin, J.

The focus of this chapter is the Nordic countries, particularly the University
of Helsinki. The authors discuss how, in Nordic contexts, it has become the
norm for educational institutions to use English alongside the language of the
context. The authors employ the policy-to-outcome path model to assess
multilingual policies. They conclude that, although there are inefficiencies
in the policies, there is a propensity for internationalisation in
universities in these countries, leading particularly to increased

Chapter 15. Policies and practices of multilingualism at Babeş-Bolyai
University (Cluj, Romania)
Oltean, Şt., Pop, L.,  Cotrău, D., Marga, D. and Mihăescu, M.

The study presented in this chapter investigated multilingual policies and
practices at Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Using an emic
perspective, the authors assessed whether multilingualism was an advantage or
a hinderance for the transmission and accumulation of knowledge. The
relationship between practices, representations and policies within the
university are discussed in light of the multilingual environment of the
university and the region. 

Chapter 16. How policies influence multilingual education and the impact of
multilingual education on practices
Van de Craen, P., Surmont, J., Ceuleers, E. and Allain

The last chapter of this section investigates the relationship between
multilingual policies and education, which in turn is linked to practices of
multilingualism within the Brussels context, in Belgium. The study focuses on
secondary education, and the authors argue that multilingualism needs to be
addressed in early educational settings. The authors argue in favour of a CLIL
educational system, emphasising the benefits of multilingualism from an early


The final section consists of three chapters which attempt to identify
transversal issues, which “provide much of the integrative substance of the
project” (p. xx), thus bringing together this complex and extensive study of
multilingualism in the European context. 

Chapter 17. Assessing efficiency and fairness in multilingual communication:
Theory and application through indicators
Grin, F. and Gazzola, M.

The opening chapter of this section takes an economic perspective on
multilingualism and attempts to investigate the efficiency and fairness within
the context of language. The authors propose the use of an analytical
framework borrowed from economics, and develop a set of linguistic indicators
which can aid in the assessment of the fairness and efficiency models of 
European multilingualism. They conclude that this is not an exhaustive list of
indicators, but that they can be assessed and adjusted using statistical data.

Chapter 18. English as a lingua franca in European multilingualism
Hülmbauer, C. and Seidlhofer, B. 

This chapter investigates another transversal issue, that is English as a
lingua franca (EFL) in Europe and how, in usage alongside other European
languages, it leads to the emergence of new varieties. The preponderance of
this dynamic interaction makes it a crucial topic to be investigated within
the European multilingualism context. The results suggest that European EFL
users share a “familiarity in the foreign” (p. 392), as well as a certain
“flexibility beyond the fixed” (p. 396) in order to achieve their
communicative needs and goals. 

Chapter 19. Europe’s multilingualism in the context of a European culture of
standard languages
Moliner, O., Vogl, U. and Hüning, M. 

The final chapter adopts a historical view of multilingualism in Europe and
attempts to create a periodisation based on the various stages of
standardisation of language in this context. The authors touch on issues of
prestigious versus plebeian multilingualism, standard and non-standard
varieties, and their perceived value in distinct communities. They also
closely describe how the development of the formation of nations during the
past couple of centuries has influenced linguistic perceptions and practices
in Europe. 


Berthoud, A.-C., Grin, F. and Lüdi, G.

The book comes together in the final chapter, which encompasses the concluding
remarks of the editors. They acknowledge the complexity of the project
undertaken and draw some ideas as resolutions for the many and varied
discussions on multilingualism presented in the previous chapters. 


The book discussed here is the result of an ambitious and complex research
project undertaken by 18 different European universities over a span of five
years. The project’s focal point is the identification of the conditions and
contexts under which European linguistic diversity can be considered an asset
or a hinderance at the European level. 

The project investigated three environments: the business context, educational
settings, and EU institutions. By addressing multilingualism at these levels,
the project draws extensive conclusions. The Europe Union initially started as
an economic union; thus understanding how linguistic diversity affects the
business world can positively influence the development of multinational and
international ties between companies. The EU has designed  and implemented
various projects to help educational border-crossing, the Bologna Accords and
the Erasmus Program being the most important and well-known ones. These
agreements between European institutions of higher educational  ensure
comparability and compatibility between European universities, and provide
students with the opportunity to study abroad. Thus the section of this book
on multilingualism in higher education institutions covers a relevant topic:
how to ensure that linguistic diversity is an advantage in these situations.
And lastly, the section addressing multilingualism at the EU institutional
level undertakes the task of comparing the linguistic policies with the
practices at the EU official level. 

By choosing these contexts, the authors of the book tackle linguistic
diversity from both a bottom-up and a top-down perspective. Many chapters
address the differences between policies at the managerial, educational or
institutional level, as well as actual individual plurilingual practices. The
only drawback of the contexts investigated here is that the majority of the
chapters present the practices of “elite Europeans” (Risse, 2010, Fligstein,
2008) or “Eurostars” (Favell, 2009). These Europeans represent the more
educated stratum of society, and previous research studies suggest that elite
Europeans have a distinct profile from the European masses, which are
potentially less educated, older, more blue-collar Europeans (Fligstein,
2008). The differences between these two groups can be so large as to lead to
a potential Euroclash (Fligstein, 2008). The present book would have benefited
greatly from addressing multilingualism and linguistic diversity at this
level, although an argument could be made for the fact that the more educated
“elite” Europeans can potentially have a great influence on the policies and
practices of multilingualism in Europe.

The last section of the book addressed transversal issues, namely, the
efficiency and fairness of multilingualism, English as a lingua franca in the
European context, and a historical perspective on European multilingualism; it
also brought into the discussion issues of standard versus non-standard
language varieties. These chapters provide a more panoramic view on European
multilingualism, which brings substance and cohesion to the book. They address
topics which are often discussed in relation to European multilingualism, such
as its cost-effectiveness, its relation to English, and the dynamics between
the official languages (both at the national and European level) and minority
and regional dialects or languages. 

Overall, the present book is addressed to researchers and policy-makers in the
field of European multilingualism. The diverse nature of the topics
investigated, the various methodological approaches employed, and the multiple
contexts presented paint quite a complex and comprehensive picture of today’s
European linguistic diversity. Although it covers many areas of study and
geographical contexts, the main research question of the project can be easily
followed throughout the book. It is a commendable accomplishment for such a
large project, involving so many research teams. 


Favell, A. (2009). Immigration, migration, and free movement in the making of
Europe.   In Checkel, J.T. and Katzenstein, P.J. (Eds.) European identity (pp.
167–189). Cambridge   University Press.

Fligstein, N. (2008). Euroclash : The EU, European identity, and the future of
Europe. Oxford 
University Press.

Risse, T. (2010). A community of Europeans?: Transnational identities and
public spheres. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.


Ruxandra Comanaru has recently completed her PhD  Applied Linguistics and
Communication at Birkbeck, University of London. Her doctoral project
investigated the role of language attitudes and practices in the emergence of
European identity, using a mixed methods approach. She is interested in
understanding the relationship between language and identity, particularly the
case of multilingual and multicultural individuals.

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