Kitchen Talk – Exploring Linguistic Practices in Liminal Institutional Interactions in a Multilingual University Setting

  • Spencer HazelEmail author
  • Janus Mortensen
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 5)


This chapter reports on a small-scale investigation of how linguistic diversity is managed and turned into a resource for social meaning making in an informal, multilingual setting at a Danish university. Although firmly located within the institution of the university, the particular setting (known as a kitchen) represents a liminal space where institutionally implemented regulations and norms of conduct, including norms related to language choice, are less formalised than for instance in classroom settings. When language choice is not a predetermined condition of interaction, the act of selecting or negotiating a medium of interaction becomes a relevant activity for interlocutors to engage in, and we see this repeatedly in our data. Drawing on methods and theoretical insights originating in the Conversation Analytic tradition, we present a number of illustrative examples of the practices of language choice that students display during the formation or reconfiguration of engagement frameworks. We argue that language choice is an important aspect of ‘doing being an international student’ for local as well as non-local students, although the norms the two groups orient to are different.


International Student Local Language Language Practice Local Student Language Choice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



All illustrations in the chapter have been supplied by the authors. The illustrations for Excerpts 1, 2, 5a and 6 are anonymized frames from video recordings held in the CALPIU storehouse ( Figure 2 has been produced in Praat (Boersma and Weenink 2013).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center for Cultural and Linguistic Practices in the International University (CALPIU)Roskilde UniversityRoskildeDenmark

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