Demonstrating and claiming competence in language: Doing being better or worse than others

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    In this paper we report on a set of of interactional phenomena where interactants deal, in one way or another, with linguistic competence. We maintain that just as language professionals are concerned with the objective measurement of linguistic competence ceteris paribus, members themselves may have the same objective concerns in the here and now, situated accomplishment of their daily lives. In this way, our findings can be seen as work towards an Ethnomethodological respecification of these concerns whereby a resource for professional work, linguistic competence, is made into a topic of investigation. The phenomena we investigate range from gaze behavior to outright claims of ability and the sites from which they were gathered range from an asylum center to a global corporation. Working within the Ethnomethodological /Conversation Analytical tradition, we have documented the phenomena in their natural settings, video recordings for speech and original inscribed artifacts for text.We analyze a collection of four cases from multilingual settings in which linguistic competence is demonstrated and/or assessed by the participants, and in which participants orient to linguistic competence in a particular language as a valued interactional resource.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Pragmatics
    Pages (from-to)90-105
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Assessments
    • Claims
    • Demonstrations
    • Member's measurement system
    • Membership categorization


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