The sociolinguistic economy in contexts of transience and change in Danish multinational companies

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Abstract

Adopting a language ideological perspective, this article explores corporate sociolinguistic economies and the values given to languages and communicative competences within them. The focus is on how values are attributed to language choice and accommodation practices, and the impact of conditions of transience and change on these values. Using interview data from three Danish‐owned multinationals, questions of language management, language exclusion and inclusion, accommodative competences, and instrumentality are explored. It is shown that issues of scale, global to local, as well as numbers, affect values within sociolinguistic economies as do tensions between communicative efficiency and fair access to knowledge. It is argued that conditions of flux favor the instrumental value of English, which is perceived as both a stable resource and a stabilizing force, but in local contexts, other languages, such as Danish, provide alternative and valued resources. Transience can be a disruptive factor, which becomes part of managerial decisions concerning linguistic exclusion and inclusion. Foreign languages, other than English, have situated value and tend to be linked to more long‐term prospects or to more durable relations of varying frequencies of contact.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Linguistic Anthropology
Volume27
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)344-360
ISSN1055-1360
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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