Bilingualism in business - with speaker Elisabeth Barakos

Room 139, School of Education (Building R19)
Tuesday 19 June 2018 (16:00-18:00)

Dr Elizabeth Chilton


MOSAIC Research Seminar Series Centre for Research on Multilingualism, 2017-18

Bilingualism in business – a discursive approach to (minority) language policy

With speaker Elisabeth Barakos, Aston University


Welsh language use in the sphere of work and the economy is gaining ever more importance with the aim to further normalise bilingualism and enhance the prestige and status of Welsh vis-à-vis English. Bilingualism is progressively marketed and valued as a material economic resource and skill with instrumental value for commercial purposes and employment advantages. New policy initiatives also reflect a current ‘coercive’ and ‘economic’ turn in Welsh language policy from hitherto laissez-faire approaches in the private sector to greater standardisation, imposition and conformity, against the background of a neoliberal knowledge economy.

Taking cognizance of these novel discursive turns, I will present key findings from research into the needs and wants, choices, capacities and resources of companies to apply bilingual practices. I argue that an analysis of discursive policy data alone no longer suffices to grasp the broader ideological debates central to any language policy study about bilingualism. Data thus need to be situated in their social, historical, political and economic contexts. To address bilingualism as a political and ideological issue as well as a socio-cultural and economic phenomenon, a critical discursive approach, in combination with an investigation of the situated ideologies and practices of business stakeholders, proves a useful avenue. Data from language policy-related texts and a survey and interviews with business representatives serve as the empirical basis for practicing such an approach.

Please register online if you wish to attend.


Elisabeth Barakos is Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at Aston University. Her research interests include discourses, ideologies and practices of multilingualism in educational and workplace settings, language policy, minority languages, critical discourse studies and critical sociolinguistics. She is the co-convenor of the BAAL Special Interest Group Language Policy. Elisabeth’s recent publications include “Language policy and governmentality in businesses in Wales: a continuum of empowerment and regulation” (Special issue on language work and governmentality in Multilingua 2016). She also recently published a co-edited volume on “Discursive Approaches to Language Policy” (with Johann W. Unger, Palgrave, 2016). She is currently preparing a special issue on “Elite Multilingualism” (with Charlotte Selleck, in Multilingual and Multicultural Development, forthcoming) and works on a new discourse-ethnographic study on the work of multilingual language trainers in the adult language teaching industry.

All welcome to this free event!

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