Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton August 24, 2016

Learning to live with “Languages”

Janus Spindler Møller


In this paper I describe how a group of speakers participating in a longitudinal study develop patterns of linguistic practices as well as norms for their use over time. The group at issue consists of speakers with a Turkish minority background living in Denmark. Data were collected from this group during their nine years of compulsory school and again in their mid-twenties. From a very early age this group of speakers acquires linguistic repertoires which involve features associated with several “languages”, of which the most influential are Turkish and Danish. I will show how they develop ways of employing large parts of those repertoires in their languaging practices and how at the same time they increasingly express an awareness of the fact that they are living in languagised world. I will do so by analysing instances where the participants explicitly refer to languages in peer group interactions, discuss observations concerning patterns of languaging in the same types of interactions, and consider the development of both phenomena.

Transcription key:


Overlapping speech


Pause of less than 0.5 second


Inaudible word(s)


Translation to English


Comments and explanations


Linguistic features associated (by the author) with Turkish


Linguistic features associated (by the author) with Danish


Linguistic features associated (by the author) with English


Agha, Asif. 2007. Language and social relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Blommaert, Jan & Ben Rampton. 2011. Language and superdiversity. Diversities 13(2). 1–20.Search in Google Scholar

García, Ofelia & Li Wei. 2014. Translanguaging: Language, bilingualism and education. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.10.1057/9781137385765Search in Google Scholar

Goffman, Erving. 1974. Frame analysis: An essay on the organisation of experience. Boston: Northeastern University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Gumperz, John Joseph. 1982. Discourse strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511611834Search in Google Scholar

Heller, Monica. 2007. Bilingualism as ideology and practice. In Monica Heller (ed.), Bilingualism: a social approach, 1–22. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.10.1057/9780230596047Search in Google Scholar

Hymes, Dell. 1972. On communicative competence. In J.B. Pride & Janet Holmes (eds.), Sociolinguistics. Selected readings, 269–293. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Search in Google Scholar

Jaspers, Jürgen & Michael Meeuwis. 2013. Away with linguists!: Normativity, inequality and metascientific reflexivity in sociolinguistic fieldwork. Multilingua 32(6). 725–749.10.1515/multi-2013-0035Search in Google Scholar

Jørgensen, Jens Normann. 1998. Children’s acquisition of code-switching for power wielding. In Peter Auer (ed.), Code-switching in conversation, 237–261. London: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Jørgensen, Jens Normann. 2010. Languaging. Nine years of poly-lingual development of young Turkish-Danish grade school students, vol. I–II. Copenhagen: University of CopenhagenSearch in Google Scholar

Jørgensen, Jens Normann, Martha Sif Karrebæk, Lian Malai Madsen & Janus Spindler Møller. 2011. Polylanguaging in superdiversity. Diversities 13(2). 23–38.Search in Google Scholar

Jørgensen, Jens Normann & Janus Spindler Møller. 2014. Polylingualism and languaging. In Constant Leung & Brian Street (eds.), The Routledge companion to English studies, 67–83. London: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Madsen, Lian Malai, Martha Sif Karrebæk & Janus Spindler Møller. 2016. Everyday languaging: Collaborative research on the language of children and youth. Berlin-New York: Mouton de Gruyter.10.1515/9781614514800Search in Google Scholar

Maegaard, Marie. 1998. Sprogvalget i gruppesamtaler. In Møller, Janus, Pia Quist, Anne Holmen & J. N. Jørgensen (eds.), Tosproget udvikling. København: Danmarks Lærerhøjskole.Search in Google Scholar

Makoni, Sinfree & Alastair Pennycook. 2007. Disinventing and reconstituting languages. In Sinfree Makoni & Alastair Pennycook (eds.), Disinventing and reconstituting languages, 1–41. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.10.21832/9781853599255-003Search in Google Scholar

Møller, Janus Spindler, Jens Normann Jørgensen & Anne Holmen. 2014. Polylingual development among Turkish speakers in a Danish primary school – a critical view on the 4th grade slump. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 17(1). 32–54.10.1080/13670050.2012.735221Search in Google Scholar

Møller, Janus. 2001. Identitet og kodevekslen hos unge tosprogede med dansk-tyrkisk baggrund. Copenhagen: Danmarks Pædagogiske Universitet.Search in Google Scholar

Møller, Janus Spindler. 2008. Polylingual performance among Turkish-Danes in late-modern Copenhagen. International Journal of Multilingualism 5(3). 217–236.10.1080/14790710802390178Search in Google Scholar

Møller, Janus Spindler. 2009. Poly-lingual interaction across childhood, youth and adulthood. Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen dissertation.Search in Google Scholar

Møller, Janus Spindler. 2010. “Two frankfurters” and a “shawarma” for “Yoshimitsu” – Membership categories involved in interactional play in a dinner conversation in Copenhagen. In Jens Normann Jørgensen (ed.), Love ya hate ya. The sociolinguistic study of youth language and youth identities, 123–150. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.Search in Google Scholar

Ng, Sik Hung & James J. Bradac. 1993. Power in language: Verbal communication and social influence. London: Sage.Search in Google Scholar

Otsuji, Emi & Alastair Pennycook. 2014. Unremarkable hybridities and metrolingual practices. In Rani Rubdy & Lubna Alsagoff (eds.), The global-local interface and hybridity: Exploring language and identity, 83–99. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.10.21832/9781783090860-006Search in Google Scholar

Pennycook, Alastair & Emi Otsuji. 2015. Metrolingualism: Language in the city. London: Routledge.10.4324/9781315724225Search in Google Scholar

Rampton, Ben. 2006. Language in late modernity: Interaction in an urban school. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511486722Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2016-8-24
Published in Print: 2016-9-1

©2016 by De Gruyter Mouton