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Multilingual competence from a usage-based perspective (completed)

Multilingual competence in international higher education: a usage-based perspective

Taking a usage-based perspective, the project investigates how multilingual competence emerges within multilingual communities in international higher education settings, and how it can be described in terms of linguistic structures.


Hana Gustafsson.

Photo: Nadia Frantsen, UiO.

About the Project

The project aims to contribute to the understanding of what constitutes multilingual competence in an international higher education setting – a prime example a multicultural and multilingual community of language users. Usage-based approaches provide a suitable framework for such investigations because they see language as a socio-cognitive phenomenon and linguistic competence in a language user is seen as emergent from the history of his/her language use. In terms of structure, usage-based approaches describe language as an inventory of form-meaning mappings conventionalized in a language community and entrenched in the minds of its language users.

Based on these views, the project addresses the following general questions:

  1. What form-meaning mappings become conventionalized in such multilingual communities?
  2. How is the process of conventionalization influenced by the linguistic and cultural backgrounds of the language users?

Methodologically, the project draws on usage-based analyses informed by Cognitive Linguistics and Construction Grammar, and on Corpus Linguistic analyses of frequency distributions.


3 years

Published Oct. 23, 2014 12:37 PM - Last modified Apr. 21, 2020 10:59 AM


Hana Gustafsson