Professionals who work in global companies in Sweden are in their daily work expected to speak, read, and write in at least Swedish and English. The presentation will focus on texts and literacy practices in modern workplaces and address the following questions:

  • How are different linguistic and other semiotic resources used in written texts?
  • What factors influence the choice and use of linguistic and other semiotic resources?
  • What practices and processes surround the texts?

The data was constructed by linguistic ethnographic methods, e.g. observations and interviews, at two companies in the Stockholm area. The data of particular relevance here are written texts, e.g., emails, documents, notes and PowerPoint presentations. These texts are analyzed in relation to interview data where participants discuss their writing practices, and ethnographic data on the processes around the texts. Theoretically the article builds on concepts such as multilingual literacies (Martin-Jones & Jones 2000), literacy practice (Barton et al. 2000) and translanguaging (García & Li Wei 2014).

The results show that also when a text is monolingual, the practices around that text – e.g. the writing of the text, the notes to presentations – are often multilingual. Professionals decide which languages to write their texts in based on, for instance, imagined readers and future potential use of a text. The data comes from the research project ‘Professional Communication and Digital Media: Complexity, Mobility and Multilingualism in the Global Workplace’ (Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation, 2016-2019).

References: See pdf below.