First 5 Words
the grammar of language choice in public space
First 5 Words
Encounters between unacquainted persons occur spontaneously and ubiquitously in contemporary communities. But how do individuals co-present in a shared space become participants in interaction? How do they manage the practical problem of entering into interaction without knowing which language the other speaks? Based on a video-corpus collected in several European countries (Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland), this research project investigates embodied and multilingual practices in a variety of settings, thereby addressing three fields of investigation: openings of social encounters, multilingual talk “as it happens”, and gatherings in public space. It examines the diversity of resources individuals deploy to move into focused interaction with each other and by that means elucidates how embodied conduct and language choices are sensitive to how individuals socially categorise each other. This project takes a novel approach to examining how individuals engage in interaction in settings where multilingualism is at stake, e.g., because of given language policies (e.g., in cities such as Brussels and Fribourg), tourism, etc. It provides a situated and detailed analysis of such encounters from an ethnomethodological and conversation analytic perspective.