Local, Regional and Global Context Scales of Discursive Identification by Lingua Franca English practice: The case of the European Parliament

Author: Péter K. Szabó (Tilburg University, The Netherlands)
Speaker: Péter K. Szabó
Topic: Language Ideologies
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2020 General Session


Linguistic anthropological analyses of multilingual practice in South East Asia and Europe, institutionally framed as Multilingualism in the ASEAN, and EU Multilingualism can put one another into global context. Therefore, ethnographic language policy research of EU Multilingualism exploring regional dynamics of polity and identity potentials may have relevance to multilingual practice in Asia (e.g. Acharya & Allan, 2013), including an expanding lingua franca English (LFE) component (Kirkpatrick, 2012), with transformative identification potentials of LFE performances in multilingual East Asian (e.g. Lie, 2017) settings, including Malaysia (e.g. Zhou & Xiaomei, 2017) across global, regional and national language orders.

In the presentation I discuss multimodal data samples, observed performances of EU Multilingualism on the floor of the European Parliament. The observed performative and transformative practices which are shaped by and are shaping contexts of EU Multilingualism in tactics of intersubjectivity (Bucholz & Hall, 2010) accomplish an axis of differentiation (Gal, 2011) indexing value-laden social positionalities of Us and Them, also conceptualized on the macro-sociological level as European Public Spheres (e.g. De Wilde et al., 2014).

An important finding of the analyses is that the identification potentials emerging in the observed multilingual or translingual practice perform identities on context scales below and above the nation state, and transgress the monolingual language ideology coined by Blommaert et al. (2013) as the ethnolinguistic assumption, that still continue to inform most language policy discourses.


Acharya, A. Allan, L. (2013). Collective Identity Formation in Asian Regionalism: ASEAN Identity and the Construction of the Asia-Pacific Regional Order, online: http://paperroom.ipsa.org/papers/paper_7151.pdf.

Blommaert, J. Leppänen, S. & Spotti, M. (2013). Endangering multilingualism.Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies. Paper No.56.
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De Wilde, P. Michailidou, A. & Trenz, H-J. (2014). Converging on euroscepticism: Online polity contestation during European Parliament elections, European Journal of Political Research, 53: 766-783, 2014
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Zhou, M & Xiaomei, W. (2017). Introduction: understanding language management and multilingualism in Malaysia , International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Volume 2017, Issue 244.

Keywords: Language ideologies, European Parliament, Multilingualism