Bente Ailin Svendsen

Image of Bente Ailin Svendsen
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47 22856966
Room HW 416
Visiting address Henrik Wergelands hus Niels Henrik Abels vei 36 N-0313 OSLO Norway
Postal address Postboks 1102 Blindern 0316 Oslo

Bente Ailin Svendsen is Professor of Multilingualism and Second Language Studies. She initiated and co-developed MultiLing Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan, a Center of Excellence funded by the Research Council of Norway (RCN), where she was the Deputy Director 2013-2015 and the Leader of Theme 2 Multilingual Practices 2016-2017. She is Adjunct Professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway (2019-2023), attached to the research group "Linguistic variation and change in society and education". Svendsen has furthered citizen science in sociolinguistics (Svendsen 2018), in one of the recent top cited paper in Journal of Sociolinguistics. She has an extended outreach activity, particularly through her role as the project leader of the language exhibition Oslo says. Language in the City and the Language Lounge at the Oslo City Museum (2016-2018). She has given many public talks, participated in a variety of media channels for a diverse audience, and she has served as an expert witness in court involving bilingual development, custody and the Norwegian Child Welfare Service.


Svendsen has carried out research on multilingual socialisation, competence and use among children and adults; and on linguistic practices and identity constructions among young people in multilingual urban settings, as well as on media representations of minoritised language use and purported language users. Her publications include her PhD thesis on multilingual socialisation on Norwegian-Filipino children in Norway (e.g. published in International Journal of Bilingualism,  Lanza & Svendsen 2007), the paper "The dynamics of citizen sociolinguistics" in Journal of Sociolinguistics (2018), the book Language, Youth and Identity in the 21st Century. Linguistic Practices across Urban Spaces (co-edited with Jacomine Nortier, Cambridge UP, 2015), Multilingual Urban Scandinavia: New Linguistic Practices (co-edited with Pia Quist, Multilingual Matters, 2010). She is a co-author of the book Multilingualism and ageing (Brill, 2020), as well as the author of papers in European Journal of Applied Linguistics (Svendsen & Marzo 2015) International Journal of Bilingualism (e.g. Svendsen & Røyneland 2008) and in Nordic and Norwegian journals and books (e.g. Svendsen's book, 2021, Multilingualism - a Blessing and a Burden, Gyldendal Academic Press, 302 p.)


Svendsen teaches courses on Multilingualism (NOAS 1100, LING 1109), Second Language Studies (NOAS 1100), as well as the MA course Language and Communication in the Multicultural Society (SPR 4110).

Projects, dissemination, awards and appointments

Svendsen is the leader of the research group Urban Talk & Text. From 2013-2017, Svendsen was the leader of the project Norwegian Romani. She is the Department's former Research Director (2009-2012). Svendsen was Board member of the RCN program Cultural Conditions underlying Social Change (2011-2018) and Advisory Board member in the Language Council of Norway (2015-2018).

She was a Board member of the SONE-network (Sociolinguistic network) 2011-2016, and editor of the journal Norwegian as a Second Language (NOA. Norsk som andrespråk) 2013-2015.

Svendsen led, developed and produced the language exhibition Oslo says. Language in the city at the Oslo City Museum in collaboration with Ingunn I. Ims, Tommy Sørbø and Tank Design. Open: May 2016-April 2018. Watch a documentary film here.

In 2017, Svendsen was granted the ILN's Dissemination Award 2016 for the language exhibition, and in 2018, she was for the article The dynamics of citizen sociolinguistics and the exhibition Oslo sier. Språk i byen granted the Knowledge Oslo Award 2017. As part of an author collective of the book Multilingualism in School, she won the Language Award in 2009 (ed. Rita Hvistendahl).

Svendsen led the RCN's Research Campaign 2014: Ta tempen på språket!  [Taking the temperature of language!] where all students in all grades in Norway were invited to be language researchers.

Tags: Sociolinguistics, Second language acquisition, Scandinavian linguistics, Bilingualism, Multilingualism, Discourse Analysis


Articles and books

  • Bente A. Svendsen 2022. Contemporary Urban Speech Styles. Norway. In P. Kerswill & H. Wiese (eds.), Urban contact dialects and language change: Insights from the global North and South. London: Routledge.
  • Bente A. Svendsen 2021. Flerspråklighet - til begeistring og besvær [Multilingualism - a Blessing and a Burden]. Oslo: Gyldendal, 302 p.
  • Svendsen, B.A. and Goodchild, S. 2021, How We Talk about Language: Exploring Citizen Sociolinguistics. Rymes, Betsy, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 2020. 201 pp. 1st edition, ISBN: 9781108725965:
  • De Bot, K., A. Pleijert and H.G. Simonsen + V. Fyndanis, P. Hansen, M. Norvik, B. A. Svendsen & J. Svennevig 2020. Multilingualism and ageing. Brill.
  • Ryen, E. & B. A. Svendsen 2020. Bilingualism and Multilingualism in Primary Education (Norway). Education and Child Studies, Bloomsbury, 
  • Quist, P. & B. A. Svendsen 2020.  Urban speech styles of Germanic languages. M. Putnam & B. R. Page (Eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Germanic Linguistics.
  • Svendsen, B. A. 2018. The dynamics of citizen sociolinguistics. Journal of Sociolinguistics.
  • Lind, M.; Simonsen, H.G.; Ribu, I. S.; Svendsen, B.A.; Svennevig, J. & de Bot, K. 2018. Lexical access in a bilingual speaker with dementia: Changes over time. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics. ISSN 0269-9206. 32(4), s. 353–377. doi: 10.1080/02699206.2017.1381168.
  • Quist, P. & B. A. Svendsen 2015. MultiNord 2007–2015: Et nettverk for forskning om språk i heterogene byrom – empiriske og teoretiske hovedlinjer (MultiNord 2007-2015: A network for research on language in multilingual urban spaces]. NOA. Norsk som andrespråk 1-2: 151-194.
  • Nortier, J. & B. A. Svendsen 2015. Language, Youth and Identity in the 21st Century. Linguistic Practices across Urban Spaces. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Svendsen, B. A. & S. Marzo 2015. A 'new' speech style is born. The omnipresence of structure and agency in the life of semiotic registers in heterogenous urban spaces. European Journal of Applied Linguistics 3 (1): 47-85.
  • Madsen, L. M. & B. A. Svendsen 2015. Stylized voices of ethnicity and social division. In Nortier, J. & B. A. Svendsen (eds.), Language, Youth and Identity in the 21st Century. Linguistic Practices across Urban Spaces. Cambridge University. 207-230.
  • Svendsen, B.A. 2015. Language, youth and identity in the 21st century. Content and continuations. In Nortier, J. & B. A. Svendsen (eds.), Language, Youth and Identity in the 21st Century. Linguistic Practices across Urban Spaces. Cambridge University Press. 3-23.
  • Svendsen, B. A. 2014. Kebabnorskdebatten.En språkideologisk forhandling om sosial identitet. Tidsskrift for ungdomsforskning 2014 (1): 33-62.
  • Svendsen, B. A. 2012. Et språklig bakholdsangrep? "Østfold l-ens" inntog i Oslo. I: Fra holtijaR til holting. [A Linguistic Ambush? The March of Apical /ɭ/ in Oslo]. In Enger, H.O. og U. Røyneland (red.), Fra holtijaR til holting. Oslo: Novus. 349-366.
  • Svendsen, B. A. 2011. Fra språklig leilending til entreprenør? [A linguistic tenant farmer or entrepreneur?] I God(t) no(rs)k? - Språk og integrering. Integreringskartet, IMDI.
  • Uri, H. J. S. Nilsen, A. Østby og B.A. Svendsen 2011. Fakta faen. Oslo: Cappelen Damm.
  • Quist. P. & B. A. Svendsen 2010. MultiLingual Urban Scandinavia. New Linguistic Practices. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
  • Svendsen, Bente Ailin (2022). Norway Contemporary urban speech styles. In Kerswill, Paul & Wiese, Heike (Ed.), Urban Contact Dialects and Language Change, Insights from the Global North and South. Routledge. ISSN 9780429487958. p. 206–222. doi: https%3A/
  • Ryen, Else & Svendsen, Bente Ailin (2020). Bilingualism and Multilingualism in Primary Education (Norway). Bloomsbury Education and Childhood Studies. ISSN 2514-6440. doi: 10.5040/9781350996311.0005. Full text in Research Archive
  • Svendsen, Bente Ailin; Ryen, Else & Ims, Ingunn Indrebø (2020). Flerspråklighet i skolen: Forskningsstatus og data fra "Ta tempen på språket!" og "Rom for språk?". In Kulbrandstad, Lars Anders & Steien, Guri Bordal (Ed.), Språkreiser : festskrift til Anne Golden på 70-årsdagen 14. juli 2020. Novus Forlag. ISSN 9788283900422. p. 259–285.
  • Quist, Pia & Svendsen, Bente Ailin (2020). Urban Speech Styles of Germanic Languages. In Putnam, Michael T. & Page, B. Richard (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Germanic Linguistics. Cambridge University Press. ISSN 9781108378291. p. 714–735. doi: 10.1017/9781108378291.031.
  • Svendsen, Bente Ailin (2018). Sosiokulturell andrespråkslingvistikk. In Gujord, Ann-Kristin Helland & Randen, Gunhild Tveit (Ed.), Norsk som andrespråk - perspektiver på læring og utvikling. Cappelen Damm Akademisk. ISSN 9788202584702. p. 76–106.
  • Svendsen, Bente Ailin (2018). The dynamics of citizen sociolinguistics. Journal of Sociolinguistics. ISSN 1360-6441. 22(2), p. 137–160. doi: 10.1111/josl.12276. Full text in Research Archive
  • Lind, Marianne; Simonsen, Hanne Gram; Ribu, Ingeborg Sophie; Svendsen, Bente Ailin; Svennevig, Jan & de Bot, Kees (2018). Lexical access in a bilingual speaker with dementia: Changes over time. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics. ISSN 0269-9206. 32(4), p. 353–377. doi: 10.1080/02699206.2017.1381168. Full text in Research Archive

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  • Svendsen, Bente Ailin (2021). Flerspråklighet - til begeistring og besvær. Gyldendal Akademisk. ISBN 9788205548039. 302 p.
  • de Bot, Kees; Plejert, Charlotta; Simonsen, Hanne Gram; Fyndanis, Valantis; Hansen, Pernille & Norvik, Monica I. [Show all 8 contributors for this article] (2020). Multilingualism and ageing. An Overview. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 978-90-04-44539-0. 98 p.

View all works in Cristin

View all works in Cristin

Published May 7, 2012 9:19 AM - Last modified June 16, 2022 10:49 PM