Bottom-up Perspectives on Multilingual Ideologies in the EU: The Case of a Transnational NGO

Franco Zappettini, Ruxandra Comanaru

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This paper investigates the discursive construction of multilingualism in citizens’ discourses, aiming to fill a gap in the literature of European studies that has scarcely been concerned with language ideologies from bottom‐up perspectives. In particular, we focus on the discourses of a transnational NGO to analyse how its members position themselves in relation to linguistic issues and to what
extent (if so) they reproduce the EU’s multilingual ideology. Deriving data from focus groups and semi‐structured interviews, we contextualise our analysis against the backdrop of an increasingly ‘glocalised’ European site of struggle between global communication and linguistic justice. Using critical discourse analysis we aim to show how discourses of multilingualism are being negotiated at the grass‐roots level. Our findings suggest that whilst citizens’ discourses validate an ideal promotion and preservation of linguistic diversity in the EU, they also endorse a diglossic scenario with language performing separate identity and communicative functions. We thus argue for an understanding of European multilingualism that takes into account the transnational dynamics of
the European sphere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-22
JournalJournal of Contemporary European Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • Multilingualism; language ideologies; language policies; active citizenship; critical discourse analysis

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