Shuttling between scales in the workplace: Reexamining policies and pedagogies for migrant professionals

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Abstract

Scalar analysis enables us to develop a more dynamic, relational, and negotiated orientation to language norms. However, in many policy and pedagogical circles, privileged varieties of "native speaker" English are treated as belonging to the translocal or higher scale, facilitating mobility across different times and spaces. Local English varieties are treated as low mobility resources belonging to situated spaces and limited time scales. This article reports on a study of African migrant professionals in English-dominant countries. It elicits their opinions and narratives on workplace communication. The findings reveal that the subjects consider the workplace as a layered space with different scales of interaction; they interpret the translocal scale as containing more inclusive language norms; and they adopt negotiation strategies to invoke diverse scales of consideration and make spaces for local Englishes and other languages. The article concludes by articulating how shuttling between scales requires a more complex and creative language competence for migrant professionals and other learners. Rather than treating specific language norms as universally privileged or scales as pregiven, language pedagogies and policies should develop the dispositions, language awareness, and strategies required to negotiate diverse scales with a repertoire of language norms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-57
Number of pages11
JournalLinguistics and Education
Volume34
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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