Organizations of Language among Adolescents in Superdiverse Copenhagen

Janus Spindler MØLLER, Jens Normann JØRGENSEN


In this paper we analyze how adolescents in a Copenhagen school classify and systematically organize the different types of language they come across in their linguistic everyday. Furthermore, we analyse descriptions of how this metapragmatic system affect the adolescents’ language use in their daily life. Our primary data consist of 74 essays on language and norms for its use made by a group of pupils at the age of 14-15. Our analyses show that the participants outline systematic metapragmatic organizations that generally can be described by using three parameters that roughly can be labelled as categorizations, style continua and personal attachment or detachment. Traditional accounts of “languages” as countable and coherent entities play a role in the system but cannot account for all the aspects. Therefore we suggest viewing the data through the lens of the languaging theory. We conclude that the adolescents’ ways of organizing language reflect (and comment) the societal condition of superdiversity. At the same time the specific competences developed among the adolescents are not accepted or respected by mainstream society and the educational system and we discuss possible consequences of this discrepancy.


Language Ideology, Enregisterment, Languaging, Meta-Linguistic Awareness

Paper Details

Paper Details
Topic EU Education Programs
Pages 23 - 41
Issue IEJEE, Volume 6, Issue 1, Special Issue Multilingual Policies and Multilingual Education in the Nordic Countries
Date of acceptance 01 October 2013
Read (times) 523
Downloaded (times) 249

Author(s) Details

Janus Spindler MØLLER

University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Denmark

Jens Normann JØRGENSEN

University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Denmark


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