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 Second Language Acquisition and Scandinavian Linguistics. 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 Professor II at the University of South-Eastern Norway (2019-2021), attached to the research group "Linguistic variation and change in society and education". Svendsen has an extended outreach activity, particularly through the language exhibition Oslo says. Language in the City and the Language Lounge at the Oslo Bymuseum (2016-2018). She has given many talks, for instance in prison and she has served as an expert witness in court.


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 spaces. Her publications include the paper "The dynamics of citizen sociolinguistics" in Journal of Sociolinguistics, 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), as well as papers in European Journal of Applied Linguistics, International Journal of Bilingualism and Nordic and Norwegian journals and books. 


Svendsen teaches courses on Multilingualism, Sociolinguistics, Second Language Acquisition and Scandinavian linguistics.

Projects, dissemination, awards and appointments

Svendsen is the Department's former Research Director (2009-2012). She 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). From 2013-2017, Svendsen was the leader of the project Norwegian Romani.

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

  • 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.

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View all works in Cristin

Published May 7, 2012 9:19 AM - Last modified July 12, 2021 1:07 AM