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ISB6, Hamburg 30 May – 2 June 2007 Colloquium Multilingualism, Literacy and Multimodality. Constructions of Multilingualism and Multimodality in Institutional Sites. E. Codó, M. Dooly, M.R. Garrido, M. Moyer & D. Ruiz. Universitat Aut ònoma de Barcelona. Presentation.

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constructions of multilingualism and multimodality in institutional sites

ISB6, Hamburg 30 May – 2 June 2007

Colloquium Multilingualism, Literacy and Multimodality

Constructions of Multilingualism and Multimodality in Institutional Sites

E. Codó, M. Dooly, M.R. Garrido, M. Moyer & D. Ruiz

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

presentation
Presentation
  • Transnational immigration in the bilingual community of Catalonia, Spain, is giving rise to new forms of communication.
  • They are defined by institutional ideologies about:
      • Multilingualism
      • Meaning-making processes
      • Clients’ service needs
  • Analysis based on two key institutional contexts: an immigration office and a primary health clinic, both located in the city of Barcelona.
theoretical framework
Theoretical Framework
  • Multilingualism as both socialpractice and ideology.
  • Analysis of meaning-making processes must focus not just on the interaction of semiotic sources but on the extra-semiotic features which constrain access to modes of communication.
  • Institutional assumptions of literacy and competence in standard varieties to participate in bureaucratic procedures.
research questions 1 2
Research questions (1/2)

What semiotic modes are used and valued in those institutional sites, and is there multimodal communication or intersemiosis?

How is multilingualism understood and constructed by these institutions as part of the general semiotic processes in which social actors engage?

research questions 2 2
Research questions (2/2)

What are the consequences of particular institutional constructions of multilingualism and multimodality for the immigrant populations served?

What is the relationship between multilingualism and multimodality?

data 1 the primary health clinic
Data 1. The primary health clinic
  • Located in the most linguistically diverse district in Barcelona.
  • Serves patients living in the neighbourhood.
  • Provides both patient services (applying for and obtaining health card) and medical care (general practitioners, pediatricians and some specialities).
  • Fieldwork undertaken between 2001-2003.
  • Ethnographic and audiorecorded interactional data (doctor-patient; patient office desk); interviews; documents; audiovisual materials.
data 2 the immigration office
Data 2. The immigration office
  • Data gathered on the occasion of a one-shot legalisation campaign aimed at non EU-immigrants that took place in Spain in the year 2000.
  • Focus on information desk where clients were given the opportunity of enquiring about the progress of their applications.
  • Ethnographic and audiorecorded face-to-face information encounters; interviews; textual materials.
discussion
Discussion
  • Identify multilingual ideologies and practices, and establish the different value and status of the written and the spoken mode.
  • Elicit the possibilities of interaction of different semiotic modes that exist in each of these sites.
institutional constructions of multilingualism
Institutional constructions of multilingualism
  • Awareness of the need to implement policies and practices that incorporate multilingual forms of communication.
  • Tension between institutional constructions of multilingualism and actors’ daily experiences.
multimodality and multilingualism
Multimodality and multilingualism
  • Absence of a significant multimodal interaction in these multingual sites is remarkable.
  • Analysis based on relationship between written and spoken mode because of nature of the sites and the data gathered.
multimodality and multilingualism1
Multimodality and multilingualism

The Immigration Office: General features

  • Fairly strict separation of written and oral.
  • Each mode fulfils different functions:
    • Written mode connected with bureaucratic procedure and institutional decision-making.
    • Oral mode linked to demands for information about progress of applications.
multimodality and multilingualism2
Multimodality and multilingualism

The Immigration Office: (1) Multilingualism in the bureaucratic procedure

  • No specific help provided for filling in application forms (only registry).
  • Translations into 6 languages of some forms and information leaflets but:
    • Standard languages, literacy required.
    • Culture-specific practices are retained (2 surnames)
    • Knowledge of Latin script and Spanish is required to fill in application.
multimodality and multilingualism3
Multimodality and multilingualism

The Immigration Office: (2) The process of information exchange

  • Oral multilingualism constructed as exceptional.
  • Control of semiotic modes (only orality allowed) as a way of retaining control over the process of information exchange and safeguarding officials’ position.
  • But writing used by officials to exert social control.
  • Clients demand that multiple modes be used.
example 2 refusing to write information down for clients
Example 2: Refusing to write information down for clients

[From a service interaction: ENQ is the enquirer; MIQ is the local official]

1 *ENQ: tú puede escribe no?

%tra: you can write, can’t you?

2 *MIQ: no no puedo.

%tra: no I can’t.

3 *ENQ: tiene tres semanas.

%tra: have three weeks.

  • *MIQ: tres semanas.

%tra: three weeks.

  • *ENQ: ahora no concedido?

%tra: now not granted?

  • *MIQ: ahora no concedido.

%tra: now not granted.

slide19
Example 2

7 *ENQ: señor por favor escríbeme yo no lo sé -. pode?

%tra: sir write me please I don’t know it -. possible?

8 *MIQ: no no puedo.

%tra: no I can’t.

  • *ENQ: no sólo escribe por favor.

%tra: no only write please.

  • *MIQ: tres semanas -. te acuerdas de eso -? tres semanas tres semanas tres semanas tres semanas vale?

%tra: three weeks -. do you remember that -? three weeks three weeks three weeks three weeks ok?

11 *ENQ: no toda la gente pida yo no sé.

%tra: not everybody asks I can’t.

12 *MIQ: escribe tú.

%tra: you write.

example 3 clients need for the interaction of semiotic modes
Example 3: Clients’ need for the interaction of semiotic modes

[From an interview with Hussain, a Pakistani client of the immigration office]

1 *RES: o sea si no hablas español ellos consideran que que es tu problema no?

%tra: so if you don’t speak Spanish they think it’s it’s your problem right?

2 *HUS: sí

%tra: yes

3 *RES: no no se esfuerzan para explicarte +...

%tra: they don’t make any effort to explain +...

  • *HUS: no no no porque ellos tienen que escribir hija -. que oye si no

sabes -, escribes oye toma llévalo háblalo.

%tra: no no no because they have to write it dear -. listen if you

don’t know -, write listen take it talk it over.

multimodality and multilingualism4
Multimodality and multilingualism

The Primary Health Clinic: (1) General features

  • Oral mode is the initial and primary means of communication between medical/clerical staff and clients/patients but solution of communication problems relies on written mode (translation of materials, glossary, vocabulary lists).
  • The use of alternative modes (posters, pictures, translators and mediators) is only being accepted very slowly and is often the result of individual initiatives rather than institutional policies.
multimodality and multilingualism5
Multimodality and multilingualism

The Primary Health Clinic: (1) Written multilingualism

  • It is not unproblematic:
    • Standard languages, literacy required.
    • Culture-specific naming practices.
    • Poor translations of key terms, see “titular” instead of “beneficiary” and “beneficiary” instead of “dependent”.
multimodality and multilingualism6
Multimodality and multilingualism

The Primary Health Clinic: (2) The intersection of written and oral modes

  • Discrepancy between client’s passport and proof of residence document.
    • Lack of homonegeous administrative procedures to adapt Pakistani names to Spanish naming system.
    • Misspelling of one of client’s names.
slide25
Client’s use of multilingual resources poses some difficulties.
  • Misspelling of client’s name on proof of residence document prevails.
example 5 the intersection of written and oral modes
Example 5: The intersection of written and oral modes

[From an interaction at the patient service office between clerical staff (SM1) and a Pakistani client (UH1); INV is the researcher]

1 *SM1: diga’m.

%tra: yes.

2 *UH1: a:h yo quere:r # de tarjeta de la xx.

%tra: I want the card of the xx.

3 *SM1: vale pasaporte lo <tienes> [>]?

%tra: okay do you have your passport?

4 *UH1: <sí> [<] tienes.

%tra: yes I have.

5 *UH1: quere: las cuadros de fotocopía?

%tra: do you want the squares of the photocopy?

6 *SM1: eh no # ya las saco yo las fotocopias.

%tra: no I’ll do the photocopies.

%com: moves away from counter.

slide27
Example 5
  • *SM1: Johangeer Muhammad <Yassir> [>].

8 *UH1: <un momento> [<] # tú mirar aquí esto: de ver # e:hhmm # estos de cuadros de fotocopia pero ahhh # de Muhammad Yassir Jahangeer.

%tra: moment # you look this to see # ehmmmm # this of which there is a photocopy but ahhh # Muhammad Yassir Jahangeer.

9 *SM1: +^ ahh # y aquí te han puesto # esto esta mal eh # porque te lo han puesto al revés ah no!

%tra: +^ ahh and here they have put # this is wrong eh and why have they put it backwards oh no!

10 *UH1: +^ qué # cual e mal?

%tra: what which is wrong?

11 *SM1 Jahangeer y aquí también.

%tra: Jahangeer and here too.

  • *UH1 Jahangeer Yassir.
slide28
Example 5

13 *SM1 y aquí ## Muhammad +...

%tra: and here Muhammad +…

  • *UH1: ah no no # esto e ge e heich e en # o esto de falt # Ja ha:n geer # Ja ge e heich e en.

%tra: oh no no # this is J A H A N # or this is probl # Ja ha:n geer # Ja J A H A N.

15 *SM1: ya:: # pos esto es una a hache.

%tra: yeah but this is an A H.

16 *UH1: hache e en!

%tra: H A N!

  • *INV: en.

%tra: N.

18 *UH1: en esto en.

%tra: N this N.

19 *INV: es una ene no una eme.

%tra: it’s an N not an M.

slide29
Example 5

20 *UH1: ene.

%tra: N.

21 *SM1: yo lo tengo que copiar de aquí: y en esto lo tienes con eme eh ## y aquí también # yo tengo que poner esto si no tendrás prob y aquí?

%tra: I have to copy what’s here and in this you have it with an M eh and here too I have to put this if you’ll have prob and here?

22 *SM1: ah era una eme?

%tra: ah it was an M?

23 *SM1: pos una no clar!

%tra: so one then!

24 *UH1: vale ## sí sí.

%tra: ok # yes yes.

slide30
Example 5

25 *SM1: vale muy bien # es que aquí mira lo tienes así.

%tra: okay fine # the thing is look here you have it like this.

26 *UH1: vale.

%tra: OK.

%com: laughs.

conclusions
Conclusions
  • Outstanding lack of integration of different semiotic modes to enhance meaning making.
  • Discrepancy between institutional constructions of multilingualism and clients’ actual practices and needs.
  • Ideological focus on the written mode.
  • Unidirectional control over orality and writing.
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