“One, Two, Many = One too many?” Conceptualizations of mother tongue

Authors

  • Anne Golden University of Oslo/Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan
  • Toril Opsahl University of Oslo/Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan
  • Ingebjørg Tonne University of Oslo/Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5617/osla.8494

Abstract

In this article, we analyze the use of the term ‘morsmål’ (‘mother tongue’) in official Norwegian documents and in media texts to identify if and how its conceptualization has changed in the era of increasing globalization. Our point of view is explorative. When examining our data, we highlight the importance of reflecting openly about the instability of powerful concepts. We highlight two partly conflicting conceptualizations that we name the ‘traditional use’ and the ‘novel use’, respectively. Building on critical discourse analysis and conceptual metaphor theory we explore how the conceptualizations reveal certain aspects of ideologies and the potential management of multilingualism in society. A broader understanding of how conceptualizations of mother tongue(s) are played out in the Norwegian context may contribute to the dialogue about multilingualism as it is understood and recognized across diverse contexts.

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Published

2021-01-22