Pluriling

Plurilingualism in international business communication

PlurilingPlurilingual and intercultural proficiency are a part of the key competences in international business. In companies operating internationally, business people use several languages at the same time, switching and mediating between languages and cultures.

Thus far, the teaching of languages and communication included in academic economic education has targeted monolingual skills, whereas multilingual competences, such as changing between languages, mediating activities and transfer strategies, have been largely disregarded.
 
This research and development project starts by focusing on international business communication:

  • What kind of multilingual situations do business people encounter in international contacts?
  • Which linguistic and cultural competences are required and used, in other words,
  • what kind of plurilingual competence is necessary?

 
The plurilingual learning objectives for professional language curricula are then derived from the results of the needs analysis.
 
The project is interdisciplinary covering both subjects and languages. Based on the approaches of multilingual research, plurilingual situations and their demands in international business life are charted, and the competences necessary to cope in these situations are deduced. This analysis provides a foundation for developing global learning objectives, and plurilingual curricula in language didactics. Synergies in language learning are also expected in economic education, as well as an improvement in plurilingual and intercultural competences; resulting in more competent staff in international business communication.
 
The project is linked to the results from studies on awareness, attitudes, and strategies in plurilingual learning.

Liikesivistysrahasto / The Foundation for Economic Education supports the project.

Key words: plurilingualism, international business, language didactics.

> Results in a nutshell

Publications

Presentations:

16.–17.5.2019: Mehrsprachigkeit–Transkulturalität–Identitäten: Herausforderungen in mehrsprachigen Situationen. Forschungsseminar Universität Tampere

13.-15.9.2018: 11th International Conference on Multilingualism and Third Language Acquisition: Descriptors linking multilingual needs to plurilingual learning. From investigation to implementation, Plurilingual Descriptors Schlabach L3 conference Lisbon.

6.-8.9.2018: XV CercleS International Conference Poznan: Fostering linguistic awareness in multilingual business communication courses.

7.-8.9.2017: GAL-Sektionentagung Universität Basel: Schreiben in mehreren Sprachen in plurilingualen Kursen zur Geschäftskommunikation.

31.7.-4.8.2017: idt XVI. Internationale Tagung der Deutschlehrerinnen und Deutschlehrer Universität Freiburg/Friburg: Plurilinguale Kompetenz: Ein Lernziel für die Mehrsprachigkeitsdidaktik. Zu Theorie, Praxis und Relevanz für Deutsch als Fremdsprache.

7.-9.6.2017: Finnische Germanistentagung 2017 in Universität Turku / Åbo akademi: Plurilinguale Kompetenz – ein Lernziel für die Mehrsprachigkeitsdidaktik. Zur Theorie, zur Relevanz für (Wirtschafts-)Deutsch in Finnland und zur Umsetzung.

30.-31.5.2017: Kielikeskuspäivät UEF Kuopio: Plurilingual proficiency as a learning objective for a multilingual business communication course module at the University of Turku.

19.5.2017: Training Day - Centre for Language and Communication Studies, University of Turku: Plurilingual courses - the advantages of using two or three languages in parallel. 

2.12.2016: Vaasan yliopisto ja Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache, Zweig Vaasa: Plurilinguale Kompetenz für die internationale Geschäftskommunikation. Von der Bedarfsermittlung bis zur Praxis.

2.11.2016: Gastvortrag an der Universität Wien, Fachbereich Deutsch als Fremd- und Zweitsprache: Plurilinguale Kompetenz für die internationale Geschäftskommunikation. Zur Entwicklung innovativer Ansätze für die Mehrsprachigkeitsdidaktik.

28.9.2016: Multilingual in Business!-Seminar, Turku School of Economics: The Pluriling Study: Results in a Nutshell.

1.-3.9.2016: 10th International Conference on Multilingualism and Third Language Acquisition, Universität Wien / Austria: Symposium "Multicompetence approaches in Language Learning": From multilingual needs to plurilingual learning. From investigation to implementation.

10.-11.6.2016: Fachgebietsjubiläum Mehrsprachigkeit, TU Darmstadt / Deutschland: 10 vuotta monikielisyyttä - Hur gör vi det i Åbo? Das Turkuer Modell.

21.-23.4.2016: Mehrsprachigkeit und Deutsch in Finnland, Universität Helsinki / Finland: Plurilinguale Kompetenz für die internationale Geschäftskommunikation.

12.2.2016: DaF-Tag Hanken-AaltoBIZ Helsinki / Finland: Zum Deutschbedarf in der internationalen Geschäftskommunikation.

30.9.-3.10.2015: DGFF Ludwigsburg / Germany: Plurilinguale Kompetenz als Lernziel für ein mehrsprachiges Curriculum im Wirtschaftsstudium in Finnland.

25.8.2015: TSE Kielten ja liikeviestinnän yksikkö Turun yliopiston kauppakorkeakoulu: Plurilingual skills in international business communication: a needs analysis.

11.-12.6.2015: GEM&L 9th International Workshop on Management & Languge Aalto-BIZ Helsinki / Finland: Exploring the plurilingual skills of the individual in the workforce in international business communication: a needs analysis.

10.-12.6.2015 NBGT Tallinn / Estonia: Plurilinguale Kompetenz für die internationale Geschäftskommunikation.

3.-5.6.2015: Futuuri! Kielten kesäkoulu ja kielikeskuspäivät 2015 Jyväskylä / Finland: How should teaching adapt to meet the future needs of international business communication?

14.5.2015: CSW Workshop Tartu / Estonia: How employees evaluate the role of foreign languages in relationship building in international business.

7.-8.5.2015: ECML Graz / Austria: On the pathway to a whole school language policy at the Turku School of Economics.

14.4.2015: TSE IB research seminar Turun yliopiston kauppakorkeakoulu: How plurilingual are employees in International Business?

5.-7.3.2015: FaDaF München: Zur Bedeutung plurilingualer Fertigkeiten in der internationalen Geschäftskommunikation.

4.-6.9.2014: 13th CercleS Fribourg: Plurilingual profiles in international business communication.

Articles:

2019: Plurilinguale Kompetenz - Ein Lernziel für die Mehrsprachigkeitsdidaktik. Zu Theorie und ihrer praktischen Umsetzung im studienbegleitenden DaF-Unterricht an der Universität Turku. In: Barras, Malgorzata; Karges, Katharina; Studer, Thomas; Wiedenkeller, Eva: IDT 2017 Brücken gestalten - Mit Deutsch verbinden. XVI. internationale Tagung der Deutschlehrerinnen und Deutschlehrer 2017 in Freiburg Schweiz. Berlin: ESV. open access: 978-3-503-18163-6 Schlabach Plurilinguale Kompetenz IDT 2017.pdf.

2018: Henning, Ute & Schlabach, Joachim: Plurilinguale Kompetenz: eine didaktische Begriffsbestimmung für die internationale Geschäftskommunikation In: Merkelbach, Chris & Sablotny, Manfred (Hrsg.): Darmstädter Vielfalt in der Linguistik. Baltmannsweiler: Schneider-Verlag Hogengehren. 99-130. ISBN: 978-3-8340-1826-7.

2017: Probleme in mehrsprachigen Situationen. Zur Grundlage des Lernziels plurilinguale Kompetenz. Zeitschrift für Interkulturellen Fremdsprachenunterricht 22 (2). open access.

2017: Plurilinguale Kompetenz als Lernziel für ein mehrsprachiges Curriculum im Wirtschaftsstudium in Finnland. In: Appel, Joachim; Jeuk, Stefan & Mertens, Jürgen (Hrsg.), Sprachen Lehren. 26. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Fremdsprachenforschung in Ludwigsburg. 30. September 2015 – 3. Oktober 2015. [Beiträge zur Fremdsprachenforschung: Band 14]. Baltmannsweiler: Schneider-Verlag Hohengehren, 241-251.

2016: Plurilinguale Kompetenz für die internationale Geschäftskommunikation. Von der Bedarfsermittlung über die Ableitung von Lernzielen bis zur Implementierung. In: Triangulum, Germanistisches Jahrbuch 2015 für Estland, Lettland und Litauen. Hrsg: Tarvas, Mari; Marten, Heiko F.; Johanning-Radziene. Bonn/Vilnius, 219-229.

2016: Plurilingual proficiency as a learning objective for a multilingual curriculum in the study of business in Finnland. Language Learning in Higher Education CercleS 6.2, 495-507

2016: Monikielisyys on valttikortti kansainvälisessä liike-elämässä, Turun Sanomat, Alio, 26.9.2016, s.2

2016: Monikielisyys tuo kilpailuetua kansainvälisessä liiketoinnassa. Tempus 4, 20-21.

2016: Kielillä ja koodinvaihdolla kilpailukykyä?  Pulloposti 15/2016

2013: Vaihdako kieltä lennossa? Kansainvälistyvässä työelämässä usean kielten hallitseminen on valttti, Mercurius 2/2013

Workshops, panels, in house training etc.:

26.9.-28.9.2016: Multilingual in Business! -week at the Turku School of Economics

31.5.2016: Aalto language centre, Helsinki/Espoo: With multilingual courses on the pathway towards plurilingual proficiency

21.-23.4.2016: Mehrsprachigkeit und Deutsch in Finnland, Universität Helsinki / Finnland: Plurilinguales Lernen für die internationale Geschäftskommunikation

14.4.2016: University of Tampere: Monikielisyyden merkitys opinoissa ja työelämässä

10.3.2016: Universität Turku: Mehrsprachigkeit und DaF

Related projects

Pluri-De

Descriptors for plurilingual language courses.
Deduction, piloting, and evaluation at the Turku School of Economics at University of Turku.

There is a multilingual turn, both in language education and related fields (Conteh & Meier 2014). Within the course of this development, the term Plurilingual Proficiency has been coined (Henning & Schlabach in press) as one the main result of the Pluriling-research project (see references). In order to implement this new objective in language education, a new study module Multilingual business communication | Monikielinen yritysviestintä comprising cross-linguistic language courses with two or more languages has been introduced at the Turku School of Economics at University of Turku. This module is unique; and in this respect, several aspects of language teaching and learning have to be framed totally new manner. As a crucial element of language and communication courses, plurilingual descriptors are in focus of the Pluri-De project.

Research questions:
  • Which scope should the descriptors be targeted on?
  • Which descriptors are feasible both for students and teachers?
Working steps:
  • Formulating of descriptors, based on Plurilingual Proficiency,
    piloting and research on the implementation of the descriptors in the MONI-courses
  • Review of the theory (formulating multilingual descriptors) (Lenz & Berthele 2010), review of existing and proposed plurilingual descriptors (Pilotage CEFR-project (CoE), Carap-project, MAGICC-project)
  • Evaluating the descriptors (through questionnaire and evaluation of reports from students and through own reports on the use from colleagues in other languages)
  • Reporting to Pilotage CEFR descriptors’ project (= CoE-project)
  • Reporting and dissemination
Theoretical framework:
  • Multi-competence (Cook 1992, 2016), definition of multilingualism (Franceschini 2011),
  • Multilingual business communication (Piekkari, Welch & Welch 2014; Lüdi, Höchle Meier & Yanaprasart 2016)
  • Third language acquisition (Hufeisen 2010); M-/X-factor (Jessner 2006)
  • Modeling language competence (Küster 2016)
Dissemination:
  • 13.-15.9.2018: 11th International Conference on Multilingualism and Third Language Acquisition: Descriptors linking multilingual needs to plurilingual learning. From investigation to implementation.
Time:

    2017–2018/19

Keywords:

Multilingual communication, Plurilingual Proficiency, multilingual descriptors, multilingual communication course

Contact: Joachim Schlabach

Pluri-challenge

Challenges in multilingual communication situations

Within the course of the well-known multilingual turn (Conteh & Meier 2014), multilingual-geared language needs analyses (Huhta et al. 2013) like Pluriling and LangBuCom identified specific problems in multilingual communication situations in internationalizing firms (Piekkari et al. 2014; Lüdi et al. 2016) like language alternation, code switching and mediation (Schlabach 2016; Breckle & Schlabach 2017).

These studies focus upon real life communication, so the respondents’ answers reflect their respectively individual and with it obvious dissimilar experiences. The results are widespread concerning the given frameworks, which makes it difficult to draw a clear conclusion for plurilingual profiles, teaching goals or curriculum contents.

The project seeks to close this gap by using similar approaches with another target group reflecting speakers' challenges in controlled situations. In the Pluri-challenge project, the respondents are students in plurilingual courses at the University of Turku. Their specific problems in multilingual communication situations will be collected and analyzed using a multi-method approach (Caspari et al. 2016). As the results can be connected with the tasks of the plurilingual courses, the challenges can be conceived in a more appropriate way. As the results of the study with the Utu-students are more precise, we gain a base to review the results of the above-mentioned multilingual geared language needs analyses. As a final outcome it is expected a clear description of cross-linguistic competences as Plurilingual Proficiency (Henning & Schlabach 2018) for multilingual communication and with it a reliable educational framework for a plurilingual curriculum.

Research questions
  • What is difficult in multilingual communication situations?
  • Do students in plurlingual courses meet the same challenges as respondents in international business?
Theoretical framework
  • Multilingualism: Multi-competence (Cook 1992, 2016), multilingual competence (Franceschini 2011), new trends in applied linguistics (Jessner & Kramsch 2015); multilingual business communication (Piekkari, Welch & Welch 2014; Lüdi, Höchle Meier & Yanaprasart 2016)
  • Plurilingual education: Third language acquisition (Hufeisen 2010); M-and X-factor (Jessner 2006)
  • Foreign language research methods: Modeling language competence (Küster 2016); multi-method approaches (Caspari, Klippel, Legutke & Schramm 2016); language needs analysis (Huhta, Vogt, Johnson & Tulkki 2013)
Dissemination
Time

2018/19–2019/20

Keywords

Multilingualism; plurilingual courses; language needs analysis; quality management in education; research based language teaching

Contact: Joachim Schlabach

Pluri-EMOi

Using Emotional Intelligence to enhance Learning in Multilingual Business Communication Settings

A Case Study at the School of Economics at the University of Turku, Finland

In order to find out new ways and methods of teaching and learning multilingual communication, a pilot project called Pluri-EMOi (Plurilingualism and Emotional Intelligence) has started at the Turku School of Economics, Finland, in 2019. The aim of the project is to enhance linguistic awareness in both classroom and outside the classroom learning to develop social interactional skills parallel to the multilingual language competence.

The rising awareness of the crucial role that emotions play in business interactions is the basis for piloting the new approach to multilingual language learning. We, as teachers of future actors in the international economic field, need to focus on the soft skills required in a successful career. Emotional intelligence is connected with positive work attitudes. It is also linked to self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social skills.

The pilot study is conducted during a course of business language and communication combining the simultaneous and parallel use of German and French. Students are given written and oral tasks which are aimed to find out how learners perceive emotions in themselves and the others while they are learning and using several languages. Behind every task is the pedagogical aim to guide the student towards a more perceived level of self-awareness and self-regulation as well as the recognition, expression and managing of the emotions. The research question consists of finding out how emotional intelligence can be used to boost multilingual learning and increase learning commitment.

Language comparison

Language comparison in courses for plurilingual business communication

With the increasing international interdependence, the linguistic-communicative requirements of business people are changing. One result of the multilingual language needs analysis Pluriling is that multilingual situations are now very normal in international business communication and that employees use two, three or more languages in parallel (Schlabach 2017). Concrete challenges include specific plurilingual activities such as language change, code switching, mediation and transfer. These four cross-linguistic activities form didactically the core of the learning objective Plurilingual Competence (Henning & Schlabach 2018), which in turn provides the curricular basis for the course module Plurilingual Business Communication / Monikielinen yritysviestintä comprising courses with two or three languages for business communication (MONI1 English-Swedish-German, MONI2 German-Swedish, and MONI3 French-German).
The languages comparison plays a central role in both the didactic development and the practice of our plurilingual courses. Different linguistic proximities between the languages involved have different and varying effects, as the distance between mother tongue and target languages is widely different. Our utu-students have as their first language Finnish, a Finno-Ugric language, while English and Swedish – mostly L2 and L3 – as well as German belong to the Germanic languages-family. Following the linguistic presupposition, linguistic proximity supports mutual intelligibility and plurilingual languaging. In contrast the results of the Pluriling-study as well as comments of MONI-courses’ students stress the linguistic proximity in the Germanic languages as a factor arousing code-mashing or less negative code-mixing. In the plurilingual classes the students explicitly appreciate language-comparative discourses when commenting on their plurilingual tasks.

Language comparison is an important step for training plurilingual proficiency. In order to shed light on this field (language comparison in multilingual education), I propose a project describing the linguistic basis and didactic function of language comparison for plurilingual courses.

Research questions
  • Which fields of language comparison are addressed in plurilingual courses?
  • What is the function of language comparison addressed in plurilingual courses?
  • For which areas of communication (spoken, written, multilingual) is linguistic comparison a suitable learning tool?
Theoretical framework
  • Cook, Vivian (1992), Evidence for multicompetence. Language Learning 42: 4, 557-591.
  • De Angelis, Gessica (2019), Cross-linguistic Influence and Multiple Language Acquisition and Use. In: David Singleton und Larissa Aronin (Hg.): Twelve Lectures on Multilingualism. Multilingual Matters,163-177.
  • Enell-Nilsson, Mona (2008)‚ 'In einer Birke an der Szene sitzt ein kleiner Junge […].‘. Schwedisch-deutsche falsche Freunde als ein Phänomen interindividueller und individueller Wortschätze, Universitas Wasaensis, Vaasa.
  • Gabrys-Barker, Danuta (2018): Applied Linguistics and Multilingualism. In: David Singleton und Larissa Aronin (Hg.): Twelve Lectures on Multilingualism. Multilingual Matters, 35–64.
  • Henning, Ute & Schlabach, Joachim (2018): Plurilinguale Kompetenz: Eine didaktische Begriffsbestimmung für die internationale Geschäftskommunikation. In: Merkelbach, Chris & Sablotny, Manfred (Hrsg.): Darmstädter Vielfalt in der Linguistik. [Mehrsprachigkeit und multiples Sprachenlernen: 13] Baltmannsweiler: Schneider-Verlag Hohengehren, 99–130. ISBN: 978-3-8340-1826-7.
  • Küster, Lutz (2016), Kompetenzorientierung im Kontext des Lernens und Lehrens von Sprachen. In: Burwitz-Melzer, Eva; Mehlhorn, Grit; Riemer, Claudia; Bausch, Karl-Richard & Krumm, Hans-Jürgen (Hrsg.), Handbuch Fremdsprachenunterricht. 6. Aufl. Tübingen: Francke, 83-87.
  • Hufeisen, Britta (2010), Third language acquisition.
  • Wild, Kathrin (2006), Einsatz von Sprachvergleich im frühen DaFmE-Unterricht (Deutsch als Fremdsprache mit Englisch), in: Rückl, Michaela (ed.), Sprachen und Kulturen: vermitteln und vernetzen. Beiträge zu Mehrsprachigkeit und Inter-/Transkulturalität im Unterricht, in Lehrwerken und in der Lehrer/innen/bildung. Münster, Waxmann, 153-165.
  • Wildenauer-Józsa, Doris (2005), Sprachvergleich als Lernerstrategie. Eine Interviewstudie mit erwachsenen Deutschlernenden, Fillibach, Freiburg.
Dissemination
  • Schlabach, Joachim (2020): Sprachenvergleich in plurilingualen Kursen zur internationalen Geschäftskommunikation an einer finnischen Hochschule. Ein Werkstattbericht. In: Salzmann, Katharina & Hepp, Marianne (Hrsg.): Sprachvergleich in der mehrsprachig orientierten DaF-Didaktik. Theorie und Praxis. Studi Germanici. Rom: Istituto Italiano di Studi Germanici, 43–58. 978-88-95868-48-6.

Time

2019–2020

Keywords

Language comparison; multilingualism; plurilingual courses; research based language teaching

Contact: Joachim Schlabach

Pluri◦Deutsch -hanke

Pluri◦Deutsch was iniciated by German teachers of universities in Finland to design and develop plurilingual course concepts. ...

> Pluri◦Deutsch

Funding: DAAD Bonn and Emil Öhmann foundation Helsinki

Contact: Joachim Schlabach

Pluri-awareness

Multilingual awareness in plurilingual courses – How effective is portfolio work?

Metalinguistic awareness is a cognitive process that allows individuals to monitor and control their use of languages. It is the ability to recognize languages detached from its symbolic meaning and supports the implementation of linguistic knowledge and transfer across languages. Plurilingual individuals have greater cognitive control than their monolingual counterparts.

In plurilingual courses, metalinguistic awareness plays a particular role as it allows plurilingual activities to be actively controlled. In the given teaching context, cross-linguistic meta-linguistic awareness appears in two positions: (1) As a learning goal in the form of multilingual awareness – plurilingual individuals need this awareness to employ plurilingual activities efficiently. (2) As a didactic-methodical approach in cognitive teaching to reflect this in the training of multiple language use including language choice, code-switching, transfer and mediation. In class, this is carried out through discussions and language comparison tasks and by reflecting on one's own language use; outside the classroom, it can be documented in writing and multimodally in one's own portfolio.

The impact of metalinguistic awareness is considered confirmed in research, while the use of multilingual awareness as a didactical tool for training plurilingual competence has not yet been investigated. It is planned to fill the research gap with a study on the efficacy of multilingual awareness-oriented portfolio work. A multi-method approach with interviews, classroom observation and document analysis (qualitative analysis, Grounded Theory) is planned for the students of MONI-courses in 2021–2022. Self-formulated and predefined specification of the plurilingual activities, skills and strategies, as they also appear in can do-statements, will be used as indicators. Illustrative descriptors of the plurilingual skills will be used to answer whether (and to what degree) the ability to reflect on one's own multiple language use, as recorded in portfolios, changes during the course.

Dissemination
  • Conferences in 2022
Time

2021–2022

Keywords

Metalinguistic awareness; multilingualism; plurilingual courses; research based language teaching

Contact: Joachim Schlabach

Pluri·Impact

Plurilingual courses – approach, implementation, and impact

Plurilingual courses are language courses with two or more target languages, characterized by a double referentiality to multilingualism: On the one hand, educational reference is made to previously learned languages and to the experiences made in the process of multiple language acquisition, as well as to the strategies associated with them. On the other hand, the emphasis is on the objective of plurilingual competence, which, in addition to the ability to act in three languages, includes inherent cross-linguistic activities such as language alternation, code-switching, transfer and (cross-language) mediation.

So far, the approach has been implemented in a few contexts, both in language teaching during university studies at the University of Turku (KieVi-courses in Monikielinen yritysviestintä) and in the context of plurilingual whole school curricula approaches at schools.

The research interest includes the examination of the concept of 'plurilingual courses' (i.e., theoretical clarification, rationale and implementation) and the retrospective exploration of the learning outcomes from the learners' perspective.

The project aims to clarify the following interrelated questions. Are plurilingual courses a meaningful way of didactically implementing plurilingual competence? Do plurilingual courses really 'work'? Do the learning outcomes have an impact also in the retrospective of the alumni? Was it any good for them to take these courses? Can they use or further develop the skills they have acquired?

Expected results are multilingual profiles with aspects such as attitudes towards languages/multilingualism, the concrete use of languages, further language acquisition but also language loss of the former course participants. This provides indications to further develop the plurilingual courses.

For the theoretical part, a document analysis with a presentation of the didactical factors and framework of plurilingual courses is planned. The empirical part is a qualitative survey of former learners, which will be piloted in a school beforehand. The project is carried out in cooperation with the Technische Universität Darmstadt.

Dissemination
  • Conference papers, articles ...
Time

2021–

Keywords

Multilingualism; multiple language aquisition; plurilingual courses; research based language teaching

Contact: Joachim Schlabach