Back to search

SAMKUL-Samfunnsutviklingens kulturell

Working Multilingually

Awarded: NOK 0.50 mill.

"Hva språk har å si" ('What language has to say') is a film about language, diversity and work. Linguistic diversity in the workplace entails both advantages and challenges. Linguistic diversity is closely connected to the recruitment of workers, international collaboration, and the needs of customers, patients, and others. It both increases the possibilities for communication and limits communication and participation. The film stresses that when we encounter the linguistic reality of many workplaces, we need to consider what language and communication actually do in a work situation. The film takes us on a journey through the North of Norway in the past and present. It shows that multilingual communication in work contexts is not a new phenomenon in today's society. We visit workplaces in the salmon production, elderly care, mining, data technology, the Pomor trade etc. with radically different preconditions, needs and solutions for communication in and across several languages. The examples show that language means effectiveness, integration, comfort, knowledge and much more. The film targets the public, users, students and experts.

Filmen publiseres i begynnelsen av 2019. Virkninger og effekter kan først dokumenteres etterpå.

The documentary film (working title "Working Multilingually in the North") will explain the major findings of the project "Linguistic and Cultural Diversity at Work" to a broad audience. Language is a central means by which we carry out and organise our daily work. Workplaces are - and have been - also sites of multilingual encounters. Linguistic diversity seems to be a normal condition in many workplaces. It is a resource and poses challenges to individual workers, to the organisation of work processes and to societal development. Therefore, we will confront the audience with the question if linguistic diversity at work is an advantage or a disadvantage, a good or a bad thing. In the film, we will show multiple aspects of multilingualism in the workplace and how these relate to each other. By doing this, we will demonstrate that the question can be answered with both yes and no. The film will therefore illustrate the enormous complexity of linguistic and cultural diversity at work. By visiting and comparing contemporary and historical workplaces and a range of different languages in the multilingual North of Norway, we aim to unveil the complex interplay of diversity, communicational resources, work processes, responsibilities, ideology, and individual and cultural identities. In line with the objectives of SAMKUL, an overarching goal of the film is to show the relevance of applied linguistic knowledge in our encounter with everyday work situations and societal and economic development: Although some voices would promote a one-language-for-all strategy, multilingualism and diversity are an inevitable reality in our evolving society. Therefore, we might as well learn how to encounter it and how to deal with it under the multiple specific, practical conditions of work. Our research shows some paths for how scientific knowledge about language and culture can be applied to meet the arising challenges.

Funding scheme:

SAMKUL-Samfunnsutviklingens kulturell