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NorPol: L2 Communication among Polish migrants in Norway

The project examines factors that enhance or inhibit communication between Poles and Norwegians in workplace interaction. 

A man and a woman wearing helmets on the workplace. Photo.

About the project

Language skills are often assumed to be crucial for success in working life. The project "Second-language communication in workplace settings — the case of Polish migrants in Norway (NorPol)" highlights the importance of language and communication for understanding inclusion and exclusion in professional settings.

One of the central dimensions of our contemporary working life is the object of study: the communication involving speakers of Norwegian as their second language (L2). More specifically, we look into the case of Polish migrants in Norway. Being the largest migrant group in Norway, speaking a first language (L1) in many ways structurally different from Norwegian, Poles constitute an important case to gain better knowledge of the interplay between language skills and integration.

The project sets out to investigate socio-cultural, interactional and linguistic factors that enhance or inhibit communication between Poles and Norwegians, by asking questions like:

  • Which types of linguistic practices are especially challenging for Polish L2 speakers of Norwegian?
  • What are the characteristics of Poles' L2 Norwegian when communicating, and how does this communicative style affect communication and social relations?
  • To what extent do different stereotypes of Poles and Norwegians affect negotiations of legitimacy and agency in interaction?

We also involve Norwegian L1 speakers by asking how they design their utterances in order to ascertain adequate comprehension in professional settings involving Poles.

By providing knowledge of the factors that enhance or inhibit communication, with an emphasis on workplace interaction, the project is likely to have impact on policy and practice pertaining to inclusion, welfare and secure working life for all citizens.


Primary objective 

Which socio-cultural, interactional and linguistic factors enhance or inhibit communication in Norwegian workplace interaction between Poles and Norwegians?

Secondary objectives

  1. To identify and explain communication styles and linguistic patterns when Poles use Norwegian as their second language (L2) in and across professional settings
  2. To evaluate what aspects of Poles' use of their L2 that account for (un)successful communication
  3. To examine how the L2 speakers cope with communication challenges, and how their interlocutors contribute to mutual understanding
  4. To explore the role of attitudes and negotiation of identity in situated interaction
  5. To extend knowledge about the character of intercultural interactions in professional settings
  6. To suggest implementation of the findings in Norwegian L2 training aimed primarily at workplace communication.


Research council of Norway, FRIPRO scheme.




The Text Laboratory


  • Golden, Anne & Szymanska, Oliwia (2022). Griper polske studenter poenget på norsk? Forståelse av metaforiske uttrykk blant norskstuderende i Polen. Nordand : nordisk tidsskrift for andrespråksforskning. ISSN 0809-9227. doi: 10.18261/nordand.17.2.1.
  • Golombek, Paula; Olszewska, Aleksandra & Coady, Maria (2022). Humanizing power of counter-stories: Teachers’ understandings of emergent bilinguals in rural settings. Teaching and Teacher Education : An International Journal of Research and Studies. ISSN 0742-051X. 113. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2022.103655.
  • Olszewska, Aleksandra Ita; Coady, Maria & Markowska-Manista, Urszula (2022). Language Planning, Linguistic Imperialism, and English Language Teacher Education in Post-Soviet Poland: A Literature Review. In McCallum, Lee (Eds.), English Language Teaching Policy and Practice across the European Union. Springer. ISSN 978-981-19-2152-0. p. 51–67. doi: 10.1007/978-981-19-2152-0_4.
  • Golden, Anne; Jensen, Bård Uri & Szymanska, Oliwia (2021). Multiple choice tests in studies of metaphor comprehension among learners of Norwegian. NOA - Norsk som andrespråk. ISSN 0801-3284. 37(1-2/2021), p. 107–132. Full text in Research Archive
  • Urbanik, Pawel Kazimierz (2021). Directives in the construction site: Grammatical design and work phases in second language interactions with crane operators. Journal of Pragmatics. ISSN 0378-2166. 178, p. 43–67. doi: 10.1016/j.pragma.2021.02.016. Full text in Research Archive
  • Opsahl, Toril (2021). Invisible Presence?: Polish in Norwegian Public Space. In Blackwood, Robert & Dunlevy, Deirdre A. (Ed.), Multilingualism in Public Spaces: Empowering and Transforming Communities. Bloomsbury Academic. ISSN 9781350186590. p. 111–136. Full text in Research Archive

View all works in Cristin

  • Szymanska, Oliwia (2022). Insulinpumpen som ikke ville snakke med sensoren. Bruk av metaforiske uttrykk hos leger med L2 norsk.
  • Szymanska, Oliwia (2022). «Metaforiske uttrykk på 123» Å øke metaforisk bevissthet i L2 ved bruk av samfunnsrelevante tekster.
  • Szymanska, Oliwia (2022). «When a pump ignores a sensor» Metaphorical expressions in physicians consulting their patients in L2.
  • Olszewska, Aleksandra Ita (2022). “JustWork”: In pursuit of linguistic justice in the workplace for Polish migrants to Norway .
  • Szymanska, Oliwia (2022). How to stimulate metaphoric awareness by deploying public information texts?
  • Szymanska, Oliwia (2022). Covid-19 information texts in teaching L2 metaphorical expressions.
  • Szymanska, Oliwia (2022). How immigrant doctors secure understanding in L2 communication with patients: Insights from the Norwegian healthcare system.
  • Szymanska, Oliwia & Domeradzka, Magdalena (2022). Keep calm and learn Scandinavian: Getting ready for work in Swedish and Norwegian healthcare.
  • Szymanska, Oliwia & Golden, Anne (2022). L2-metaforiske uttrykk i flomlyset. Polske studenters håndtering av metaforer i norsk.
  • Szymanska, Oliwia & Golden, Anne (2022). Throwing lights on L2-learners and metaphors An extended study on Polish students’ comprehension of frequent metaphorical expressions in Norwegian.
  • Szymanska, Oliwia (2022). How physicians use metaphors in their L2.
  • Szymanska, Oliwia (2022). Slik sikrer utenlandske leger sin kredibilitet.
  • Szymanska, Oliwia (2022). Metaphor competence among L2-doctors .
  • Szymanska, Oliwia & Janik, Marta (2022). «Hvis du tåler det godt, så vil jeg gjerne beholde den dosen» Tempusbruk i spontan produksjon hos en voksen norskbruker.
  • Garbacz, Piotr (2022). What enhances or inhibits communication between Poles and Norwegians in workplace interaction? .
  • Solarek-Gliniewicz, Magdalena (2022). Polske overlegers mottakertilpasning av medisinske termer i samtaler med pasienter på norsk.
  • Solarek-Gliniewicz, Magdalena (2022). RECIPIENT DESIGN OF MEDICAL VOCABULARY by Polish physicians with L2 Norwegian .
  • Solarek-Gliniewicz, Magdalena (2022). Recipient design of medical terminology: data session with international researchers.
  • Solarek-Gliniewicz, Magdalena (2022). "As doctors we apply too much jargon when we speak". Co-constructing intersubjectivity of medical terms during consultations with Polish physicians speaking Norwegian.
  • Solarek-Gliniewicz, Magdalena (2022). Polske overleger med L2 norsk i spesialisthelsetjenesten i Norge. Kommunikasjonsutfordringer og språklige strategier.
  • Solarek-Gliniewicz, Magdalena (2022). Polish physicians with L2 Norwegian in a patient-centred way of communication.
  • Solarek-Gliniewicz, Magdalena (2022). How to transform and adapt medical vocabulary to be more patient-friendly: the case of cardiac resynchronisation therapy analysed with CA.
  • Solarek-Gliniewicz, Magdalena (2022). Polish physicians with L2 Norwegian in a patient-centred way of communication: WELL-STRUCTURED CONSULTATION AS A POINT OF DEPARTURE. .
  • Solarek-Gliniewicz, Magdalena & Garbacz, Piotr (2022). Nor-Pol project. With a focus on recruitment of Polish informants and the data collection. .
  • Solarek-Gliniewicz, Magdalena (2022). Repair trouble sources in consultations between Polish physicians with L2 Norwegian and patients in specialised healthcare in Norway.
  • Golden, Anne & Opsahl, Toril (2022). Hermegåsa kommer? Erfaringer fra bruk av videostimuli i talespråksforskning.
  • Urbanik, Pawel; Opsahl, Toril & Lilleslåtten, Mari (2021). Polske anleggsarbeidere bruker norsk språk målrettet for å løse oppgaver. [Internet]. HF-aktuelt.
  • Garbacz, Piotr; Golden, Anne; Opsahl, Toril; Solarek-Gliniewicz, Magdalena; Svennevig, Jan & Szymanska, Oliwia [Show all 7 contributors for this article] (2021). Hva hemmer og fremmer kommunikasjon mellom nordmenn og polakker? Utrop - Norges første flerkulturelle avis.
  • Solarek-Gliniewicz, Magdalena (2021). In a completely new reality with Norwegian speaking patients – language barriers and strategies used by Polish physicians with Norwegian as their L2 in specialised health care in Norway.
  • Szymanska, Oliwia (2021). An L2-speaking doctor in Norwegian health care: Expectations, Domains and Challenges .
  • Szymanska, Oliwia (2021). Norsk som andrespråk i (lege)praksis.
  • Opsahl, Toril (2021). Introduction to the NorPol project.
  • Szymanska, Oliwia (2020). Verke, banke, murre, skjære, synkope og prolaps. Dypdykk i symptombeskrivelse - workshop med fokus på helserelatert ordforråd.
  • Szymanska, Oliwia (2020). Et par ord om kompleksiteten av sykehusuniverset. Innføring i helsenorsk og utfordringer for andrespråksbrukere.
  • Opsahl, Toril & Golden, Anne (2020). Limited by stereotypes? Learning Norwegian as a Pole.
  • Solarek-Gliniewicz, Magdalena (2020). Samhandling ved konsultasjoner i spesialisthelsetjenesten i Norge. Erfaringer fra Tolkesentalen.

View all works in Cristin

Tags: Multilingual ideologies and language policies, Multilingual language practices, Multilingual competence
Published Mar. 16, 2020 1:58 PM - Last modified Nov. 8, 2022 3:37 PM