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Language practices in the workplace: Ethnographic insights from two multilingual companies in Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Today’s globalised world calls for a multilingual workplace, with employees who can communicate effectively and efficiently with colleagues and clients around the world. Communication, both in the sense of actual language use and of language management, is an important but often forgotten part of productivity and performance in multinational corporations. This exploratory study aims to investigate how language is used and managed in two Swedish companies with English as at least one of the official languages. By using in-depth ethnographical interviews and a short analysis of the companies’ language policies from the view of centricity, present study is focused on the employees’ perceptions of the day-to-day language use and the company’s language management. It can be concluded that English is the main language used for written communication while both Swedish and English are used in spoken interactions. Language is negotiated through a set of variables and is thus determined by the people involved in the interaction, the function of the interaction and the medium of communication. Although some strains and difficulties did emerge in the interviews, both informants are positive towards the use of English. It is hoped that this small study will contribute to a better understanding of language use and language management in multinational companies in Sweden. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 28 p.
Keyword [en]
Multilingual workplaces, Language practices, Language choice, Ethnographic interviews, Language policy
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-105971OAI: diva2:733464
Available from: 2014-09-29 Created: 2014-07-09 Last updated: 2014-09-29Bibliographically approved

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