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Public discourses on multilingualism in the UK: triangulating a corpus study with a sociolinguistic attitude survey

Jaworska, S. and Themistocleous, C. (2018) Public discourses on multilingualism in the UK: triangulating a corpus study with a sociolinguistic attitude survey. Language in Society, 47 (1). pp. 57-88. ISSN 0047-4045

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/S0047404517000744


This paper investigates public discourses of multilingualism in Britain. In contrast to previous research that focused on specific varieties, we examine multilingualism as a metalinguistic construct and are interested in what is frequently said about multilingualism. More specifically, we explore the extent to which media discourses are consonant or diverge from the attitudes of lay people. Media discourses are investigated using a corpus-assisted discourse study approach and large press corpora. Results from the corpus study were incorporated in an attitude survey distributed to 200 participants living in a larger town in Britain. Our study shows that while positive media discourses were mostly shared by the general public, some of the negative themes, especially related to immigration, were challenged. Our study shows the usefulness of triangulating corpus-linguistic methods with a survey to provide a more comprehensive understanding of public discourses about language matters and offers implications for promoting multilingualism in society.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:71968
Uncontrolled Keywords:public discourse, language attitudes, multilingualism, bilingualism, corpus-assisted discourse study, attitude survey
Publisher:Cambridge University Press


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