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Andraspråkstalare i arbete: En språkvetenskaplig studie av kommunikation vid ett svenskt storföretag
Uppsala universitet, Avdelningen för forskning och utbildning i modern svenska (FUMS).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8852-6717
2010 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Second language speakers at work : A sociolinguistic study of communication in a major Swedish company (English)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is a study of the everyday communication of second language speakers in a major Swedish company. On the basis of eighteen interviews with permanently employed industrial and office workers, who came to Sweden as adults from countries outside the Nordic region where non-Germanic languages are spoken, five individuals were chosen for observation.

The overarching aim of the study is to identify communicative factors with a positive impact on the integration of second language speakers in the workplace and in their immediate work team. Subsidiary aims are to map out the communication of the five participants and to analyse their involvement in communicative activities, both professional and social. The focus is on the interaction between participants and fellow employees, primarily in terms of what participants themselves do to promote mutual understanding and good relations at work.

Theoretically and methodologically, the study has its basis in discourse analysis, interactional sociolinguistics and the ethnography of communication. By means of fieldwork, a large body of empirical data was collected, comprising detailed field notes, audio and video recordings of naturally occurring talk, and texts read and produced by participants.

The five participants’ day-to-day communication is shown to be influenced to a large degree by the type of occupation. At the company studied, whose corporate language is English, white-collar employees can manage without a knowledge of Swedish, so long as they know English. Factory workers, meanwhile, regard an inadequate command of English, rather than Swedish, as an obstacle to promotion. All the participants perform communicative acts designed to create and maintain group solidarity. In seeking to foster good relations in the workplace, they make use of jokes, compliments, narratives, swearing and greetings. The participants are shown to be metalinguistically and metaculturally aware, which aids everyday communication and integration. Linguistic and cultural asymmetries seem to be able to mitigate potential threats to face, making the participants a valuable resource in sensitive communicative situations. All co-workers provide linguistic scaffolding, but in interaction with the most career-oriented participant, markers of power can sometimes be observed.

A high level of awareness and performance of relational communicative acts appear to facilitate and speed integration in the workplace and the immediate work team.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Institutionen för nordiska språk , 2010. , 305 p.
Series
Skrifter utgivna av Institutionen för nordiska språk vid Uppsala universitet, ISSN 0083-4661 ; 82
Keyword [en]
workplace interaction, immigrants, second language speakers, interactional sociolinguistics, ethnography, communicative network, relational talk, professional writing, social integration
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Scandinavian Languages
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-23030ISBN: 978-91-506-2142-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-23030DiVA: diva2:667933
Public defence
2010-10-01, Ihresalen, Engelska parken, Uppsala, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Den kommunikativa situationen för invandrare på svenska arbetsplatser (KINSA)
Available from: 2013-12-03 Created: 2013-11-28 Last updated: 2013-12-03Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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