Research on interactional practices in multilingual worklife

The project explores participation and interactional practices in multilingual working life. The aim is to identify and analyse practices and resources of participation in use at multicultural workplaces and to develop these practices in collaboration with the workplaces. The project is funded by Kone Foundation (2020-).
Study on interaction at multilingual workplaces

Data is collected in three workplaces: a public library (working language mostly Finnish), a Finnish NGO (highly bilingual Finnish-Russian), and an international university unit (working language mostly English as lingua franca). Data collection involves video recording everyday professional interaction in these workplaces and interviewing the employees. Videorecordings allow to analyse interactions on a detailed level, taking into account all the resources (both verbal and nonverbal) that are used in different situations. Such data offer a solid empirical ground to develop applicable and successful models for interactional scaffolding for different phases of professional activities. The main method when investigating the video recorded interactions is ethnomethodological conversation analysis (CA). 

The research questions are divided into three categories. First, we will identify good practices of participation that can be found in multilingual workplaces. Second, we will investigate interactional problems that are related to the participants’ asymmetrical linguistic repertoires, end explore how these problems can be resolved. Third, we will examine what kind of language learning opportunities workplace interaction can offer. 

The results will increase our understanding of plurilingualism and plurilingual practices, as well as the interactional and linguistic prerequisites of participation in intercultural encounters. By combining detailed micro-level analysis of interaction with ecological perspectives on language learning, the project responds to calls for a new, more context-sensitive approach to language acquisition, and provides resources to harness the plurilingual potential of present-day workplaces for the benefit of Finnish society. 

Co-operation and results

We work in active co-operation with the project Kielibuusti ('Language boost') which aims to develop teaching of Finnish and Swedish to better match for the language proficiency needs of international experts in Finland.

See also our publications and master's thesis (only in Finnish):