Textually-mediated social organisation for the exchange of knowledge : A study of language choice in organisational texts in Malta

Bagley, Melissa Joan and Sebba, Mark (2020) Textually-mediated social organisation for the exchange of knowledge : A study of language choice in organisational texts in Malta. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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In what is officially a bilingual nation-state, post-colonial Maltese public institutions operate without explicit language policy guidance, such as provided in other jurisdictions by ‘language schemes’. Whilst both official languages are used in formal institutions, English appears to be the more popular choice of language for organisational texts. As social practices are a better indicator of actual language ideologies (Spolsky, 2004), a transdisciplinary approach was adopted, looking into select textually-mediated practices that coordinate institutionally-based activities (Smith, 1990b; Campbell and Gregor, 2004) and textual analysis (Fairclough, 2003). Taking texts as social spaces where the ideational and interpersonal metafunctions of language are activated (Halliday and Matthiessen, 2014; Fairclough, 1995) and writing as a disembedding mechanism (Giddens, 1990), choice of language in organisational texts may be due to the need for objectifying knowledge for sharing within the relations of ruling (Smith, 1990a; Campbell and Gregor, 2004), abstract, intangible social connections predominantly involved in the social organisation of knowledge societies within a global inter-state system (Hopkins and Wallerstein, 1982). The analysis suggests that language choice in institutional texts may depend on knowledge exchange systems designed for frontstage and backstage performativity. Furthermore, these language patterns imply that the environment within which these language practices occur needs to be accounted for in terms of polycentric social space (Lefebvre, 1991; Soja, 1985; Blommaert, 2007). Such variation, as well as the apparent stability of such language differentiation, may be better understood when looking beyond the borders of the nation-state and taking the world analysis system (WSA) as one influential model to understand language choice.

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Thesis (PhD)
?? societal bilingualismlanguage choiceinstitutional textsorganisational textsspacepolycentricitylanguage practiceslanguage policylanguage schemesmaltese language ??
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16 Dec 2020 09:47
Last Modified:
22 Jul 2024 00:38