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The “legitimate” new speaker

Thanks to the COST New Speakers Network, I was given the opportunity to visit Sari Pietikäinen and her research team (Jyväskylä Discourse Hub) in December 2015.

I am currently working with Alexandre Duchêne at the Institute of Multilingualism of the University of Fribourg.

Together, we are doing ethnographic fieldwork in a town at the French-(Swiss)German language border in Switzerland, which brands itself as bilingual tourism destination, what is linked to particular linguistic requirements and tensions.

For my thesis I am investigating the branding’s impact on the definition of the legitimate and authentic tourism worker on this specific site.

My STSM at the University of Jyväskylä enabled me to engage in meaningful conversations with other researchers who are working with the concept of legitimacy.

By comparing legitimacy-issues of new speakers across different sites (e.g. cleaning work, indigenous tourism, handcraft, sports), I could learn a lot on the complex challenges in other multilingual contexts.

The scientific mission turned out to be a great opportunity for networking, and further collaboration is already scheduled.

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