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Lending bureaucracy voice: negotiating English in institutional encounters

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Spencer Hazel



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a book chapter that has been published in its final definitive form by De Gruyter Mouton, 2017.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


This study explores how English, used in the context of university internationalisation, is habitually called upon to verbalize concepts and practices which are intimately tied to local settings but which do not necessarily have direct equivalents in English. Focusing on institutional encounters at a Danish university, the study illustrates how speakers negotiate expressions for local bureaucratic terms and procedures as well as their meaning, and argues that such instances of joint meaning making carry the potential to contribute to the hyper-local emergent register of English found in the setting. A key finding of the analysis is that speakers in the data are afforded different epistemic rights and obligations with relation to the lingua franca being used, depending on their institutional role, (inter)national status and general familiarity with the linguistic resources mobilised. English first language speakers are shown to be positioned as linguistic norm providers in several cases, but participants who use English as a foreign language also introduce new terms and re-define old ones, particularly when they use English to lend bureaucracy voice in interactional roles associated with institutional power. Methodologically, the chapter makes a case for the detailed study of social interaction in transient multilingual communities as a window on linguistic and social change, which may, as one avenue of future research, stimulate cross-fertilization between sociolinguistics and the emerging body of research on the use of English in lingua franca scenarios

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mortensen J, Hazel S

Editor(s): Filppula, M; Klemola, J; Mauranen, A; Vetchinnikova, S

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Changing English: Global and Local Perspectives

Year: 2017

Pages: 255–276

Online publication date: 10/10/2017

Acceptance date: 03/11/2016

Series Title: Topics in English Linguistics [TiEL]

Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton

Place Published: Berlin/New York


DOI: 10.1515/9783110429657-014

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9783110429657