Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, Vol 12, No 3 (2015)

Responding responsibly: Ideological, interactional, and professional responsibilities in survey responses about multilingualism at work

Florian Hiss
Issued Date: 28 Aug 2019


When responding to questions, speakers usually do not only report what they know about the question being asked. This study explores a series of survey responses on how respondents explicitly and implicitly manage responsibility for what they say. It builds on a telephone survey on workplace multilingualism in Northern Norway and focuses on one particular interview question that addresses practical as well as ideological concerns: the use of traditional minority languages at work. As representatives of regional companies, the informants face and handle responsibilities relating to their professional and organisational roles, the interactional relations of the structured interview, and the sociolinguistic and sociocultural surroundings. The choices they make when handling responsibility for their responses go beyond the realm of each of these taken separately. The study therefore highlights the importance of a perspective across different scopes and contexts. Asking what choices respondents make to respond in a responsible way involves not only the content of the question, but also implicit ideological concerns and interactional relations, as well as a range of professional and other social roles.

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DOI: 10.1558/jalpp.33801


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