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EUNoM symposium on Higher Education and Research on Multilingualism: Challenge or Opportunity? Social Representations of Plurilingualism in Language Policy.

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Presentation on theme: "EUNoM symposium on Higher Education and Research on Multilingualism: Challenge or Opportunity? Social Representations of Plurilingualism in Language Policy."— Presentation transcript:

1 EUNoM symposium on Higher Education and Research on Multilingualism: Challenge or Opportunity? Social Representations of Plurilingualism in Language Policy and Academic Teacher Discourse at University Level. Cecilia Serra Universities of Geneva and Lausanne

2 main issues 1.linguistic analysis of social representations 2.a qualitative study –universities, contexts, languages –universities, social representations in language policy –universities, social representations in academic teachers’ discourse 3.examples 4.effects on bi-plurilingual teaching / learning practices

3 linguistic analysis of social representations in the study investigates the link between the social representations of institutions (values & models proceeding from language policies) and those of individuals (beliefs, opinions and attitudes); an interplay of possible conflicting elements linguistic elements taken into accounts: –polyphonie (Bakhtine, 1978; Ducrot, 1984); pronominalisation («I» vs «one» vs «we» vs «they»), mood and modality, qualifiers & connectives, etc.; (Serra & Py 1997, Serra 2000) –schematizing and categorization devices (Grize 1990; Kleiber 1990; Sacks 1992; Mondada 1999) –stereotyping –conversational use of discourse types (debating, explaining, justifying, narrating, etc.) (Serra 2000)

4 a qualitative field study: universities, contexts, languages USI Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano (1966) –Italian = minority language = 6.5% ( German, 63%; French, 20.4%; Rumantsch, 0.5% ((Federal Census, 2000)) –Students: 2’707: Tessin, 29.5%; Swiss others, 8.6%; Italy, 36.9%; Foreign others 25% (University census, 2010) UNIZHR Universität Zürich (1525) –German = majority language = 63% –Students: 25’815: Swiss, 83.1%; Foreign others 12.3%; domestic foreign others, 4.6% (Federal office of Statistics, 2009) HESBE Haute Ecole Spécialisée Bernoise, Biel/Bienne (1873/1998) –German/French = Bilingual Canton (3 Swiss Bilingual Cantons: Bern / Fribourg / Wallis: German/French = Language territoriality) –Biel/Bienne = Bilingual city : German, 53%; French, 30.7%; Italian, 7.6%; Foreign others, 8.7% (City census, 1990)

5 a qualitative field study: universities, social representations in language policy University Target of plurilingualism Language of teaching Representations USI vs Canton of Tessin University: internationalisation innovation(methods) students interculturality mobility Italian/English Dual System (+German L3) (+ French L3) USI: a «bridge between cultures» Switzerland-USI-Lombardy-Italy English = innovation French + German = European languages Italian = L1+ regional culture Europe of Regions UNIZHR (Zürich) (multilingualism in charge of students at Sprachzentrum) German (+ English) (German/French optional) no language policy (12 Nobel Prize??) HESB-TI + (Biel/ Bienne Berne/ Bern) bilingualism students internal mobility stereotypes’ change equal access to knowledge for both linguistic groups (German & French) German/ French reciprocal immersion + 3 degrees of L1/L2 alternation in class bilingualism as a learning process vs bilingualism as a norm ((+ Swiss practice of multilingual discourse))

6 a qualitative field study: social representations in academic teachers’ discourse University Faculty,Teaching targeted contexts Language of teaching Representations USI (Tessin) Economics (+Swiss Bankers Association) Master in Finance international English only Globalisation = excellence + English + finance vs Isolationism = old Swiss-German people + German Good tradition of Swiss banking = German Technical language (subject) vs vehicular language (English) UNIZHR (Zürich) Law Arrêtés fédéraux national/internationa l French/German (+Italian, English, Spanish) Bilingualism & Language alternation as a tool to cross subject borders Modification of stereotypes HESB-TI (Biel/ Bienne Engineering Mathematics national, context- bound German&French + reformulations in the other language Language alternation to access knowledge Bilingualism to cross domestic language borders

7 when representations clash an example from HESB-TI language policy Why are students shy when it comes to talking in L2? changing the representation of bilingualism: it is an instable process of language learning it is not a perfect balance of 2 languages language use in multilingual Switzerland: talk in L1, understand L2 didactic devices at HESBE-TI teachers and students talk in L1 (students understand L2)

8 when representations are in bloom an example from teacher’s discourse at USI economistteacherplanner Globalisation + English + banking + professional vs Isolation + (Swiss-)German + Swiss elderly people Technical language vs English (poor) simplification use of Italian or French in students’ oral and written records German + banking + Swiss quality +tradition + Students (elite) Italian + University + identity + Switzerland

9 effects on bi-plurilingual teaching / learning practices Language choice –bachelor official Swiss languages –master official Swiss languages + English (cf. Federal census 2000, Lüdi & Werlen 2005) Models of bi-multilingual teaching –immersion (USI), English L2:  vs USI dual teaching and intercultural program  low command in English accepted and not improved idealisation of bilingualism?

10 effects on bi-plurilingual teaching / learning practices (2) –reciprocal immersion (HESB-TI), French & German L2 good understanding of bilingual teaching (representations, teaching steps & goals)  low understanding of the role of conversation in language acquisition  focus on language (university) vs focus on subject (teacher) –bi-multilingual teaching (UNIZHR), German L1, French L2 Italian/English/Spanish L3 excellent understanding of bi-multilingualism practices focus on the subject use of languages to process meaning, and access transversal knowledge use of bilingual conversational routines  optional course: poor support from the institution

11 references Bakhtine, M. (1984). Esthétique et théorie du roman. Paris: Gallimard Ducrot, O. (1980). Le dire et le dit. Paris: Minuit Grize, J.B. (1990). Logique et langage. Paris: Ophrys Kleiber, G. (1990). La sémantique du prototype. Paris: PUF Mondada, L. (1999). L’accomplissement de l’étrangéit’dans et par línteraction: procédures de catégorisation des locuteurs. Langages 134, Sacks, H. (1992). Lectures in conversation. Oxford: Basil Blackwell Serra, C. (2000). Traitement discursif et conversationnel des représentations sociales. TRANEL 32, Serra, C. & Py, B. (1997). Le crépuscule des lieux communs, ou les stérótypes entre consensus, certitude et doute. TRANEL 27, 29-49


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