Georges Lüdi

El habla plurilinguë como estrategia de comunicación  legítima y eficaz / Plurilingual speech as legitimate and efficient communication strategy

Georges Lüdi, Basel University

In our approach to plurilingualism and language learning, i.e. the construction of plurilingualism, the accent will be placed on language use (languaging) instead of on language, based on the premise that competences emerge from interaction.

In groups living and working in more and more polyglossic context, people constitute diversified, plurilingual repertoires not in the sense that single languages or varieties are added one to each other; instead, they are integrated in a multicompetence where the borders between the varieties are often fluctuant.

Plurilingual repertoires are mobilized for practical needs in various modes depending on the context of use. One may particularly distinguish a monolingual mode on the one hand, where norms and/or the interlocutors' repertoires suggest to the plurilingual speaker to "simulate" as far as possible a monolingual's behaviour and deactivate his or her other varieties, and on the other hand a plurilingual mode, where many or all varieties are activated simultaneously. This leads to a number of forms of plurilingual speech or plurilanguaging.

Forms of plurilingual speech vary considerably. The range goes from language mixing in stable bilingual communities as identity markers — and sometimes as intermediary step to fused lects — over pattern of code-switching, where changing between varieties assumes a myriad of functions, to translinguistic markers ("formulation transcodique"), i.e. the potentially conscious use of a sequence perceived by the learner as belonging to another language (not always L1) in order to overcome an obstacle to communication. Knowing that learners acquire languages by interacting with experts in exolingual situations, we assume that translinguistic markers often lead to potentially acquisitional sequences.

A final remark concerns English as lingua franca. In our view, it corresponds in many cases to another form of plurilanguaging.

Georges Lüdi is professor emeritus at Basel University. He worked on foreign language acquisition, migrant's languages, multilingualism and workplace communication, acted as deputy coordinator of the European DYLAN project, served in the Executive Board of AILA and is Officer in the French Ordre national du mérite and Doctor honoris causa (University of Neuchâtel).

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