Interactional renegotiations of classroom discourse in recreational learning contexts

Aktivitet: Tale eller præsentation - typerForedrag og mundtlige bidrag

Lian Malai Madsen - Foredragsholder

  • Institut for Nordiske Studier og Sprogvidenskab

It is an inherent aspect of human social interaction that we relate linguistic behaviour to broader systems of semiotic resources of certain social indexicality (Agha 2007).  Sets of linguistic features in a broad sense, including what we might refer to as languages, varieties, or styles, are conceptualised as systems of signs belonging together and related to certain places, social connotations, values, and images of persona. Metapragmatic processes of associating sets of semiotic resources with social meaning result in widespread cultural-specific historical formations. Agha’s (2007: 235) notion of registers refers to such widely recognised sociolinguistic formations.

Registers are not constructed as intrinsically socially equal. Likewise access to semiotic recourses is not equal (Blommaert 2005:207, Agha 2007:157). Differences with respect to semiotic repertoires involve issues of social boundaries and distribution of power. Mastering of officially acknowledged registers is crucial to successful participation in society at large and to gaining access to powerful positions. This of course has an impact on school contexts where, for instance, educational success is conventionally equated with mastering of linguistic standard practices. One way pupils might bring outside-classroom practices into the classroom and potentially challenge pervasive cultural and linguistic hierarchies, is by employing linguistic non-standard practices in formal learning contexts (e.g. Rampton 2006, 2008).   

My paper is based on interactional and ethnographic data collected during 10 months of field work in an institutionalized learning context of a leisure sports club (Madsen 2008).  The club is placed in a culturally and linguistically heterogeneous area of Copenhagen.

I will focus on interactional sequences where the participants engage in classroom related activities (such as spelling, discussion of essays etc.). I will discuss how the participants by employment of various interactional and linguistic means, including the use of non-standard linguistic features, integrate different orders of indexicality by bringing out-of-classroom practices into educationally focused interactions, as well as by bringing classroom related activities outside the classroom and into recreational contexts. In these interactional sequences, the participants challenge and renegotiate dominant assumptions characteristic of educational discourses, of a contradiction between mainstream-societally accepted behavior valued in school contexts, and semiotic measures of social peer-credibility among late modern urban youth.

Agha, Asif (2007): Language and Social Relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Blommaert, Jan (2005): Discourse. A critical introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Madsen, Lian Malai (2008): Fighters and Outsiders. Linguistic practices, social identities, and social relationships among urban youth in a martial arts club. Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen, Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics.

Rampton, Ben (2006): Language in Late Modernity. Interaction in an urban school. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press.

Rampton, Ben (2008): 'Style contrast and the figuration of trajectory'. Working Papers in Urban Language & Literacies 49. London: King’s College.

10 jul. 2009

Begivenhed (Konference)

TitelISB, International Conference on Bilingualism
EmneSammenbringning af ungdomskulturelle praksisser og skolepraksis i interaktioner mellem unge

ID: 14175597