Publication details [#62049]

Henry, Alastair. 2016. Swedish or English? Migrants' experiences of the exchangeability of language resources. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 19 (4) : 442–463.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher


In a Swedish context, where lingua franca English can ease communication but where monolingual norms dominate and Swedish is installed as the key to ‘integration’, this inquiry explores 14 newly arrived English-speaking migrants' experiences of chances to employ Swedish and English in communication. Using participants' language use experiences in institutional settings, assays center on the impact of value ratings, orientations to ideal-type norms, self-surveillance processes and discursive positionings' effects. While migrants' language choices are grasped as a result of structural conditions, attention is also drawn to how such choices are flexibly debated. Assays elucidate participants' creative and critical skills and how, in their language choices, they assess, relate to and oppose macro-social structures. Distinct English varieties are demonstrated to propose distinct communicative chances and not all are evenly convertible. Chances to employ English also vary as a result of discursive positionings' crossings.