Linguistic Power Wielding and Manipulation Strategies in Group Conversations Between Turkish-Danish Children

Lian Malai Madsen

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Bilingualism; Danish Language; Turkish Language; Manipulation Strategies


The study concerns the linguistic power wielding in group conversations among bilingual children and adolescents. In bilingual conversations one of the pragmatic linguistic means of negotiating power relations and identities is of course the choice of language. This is also the main subject of the study of Jørgensen (1993) who presents a view on the linguistic power wielding in group conversation in which he combines code-switching theories with Kjøller’s (1991) concepts of linguistic power wielding. Kjøller claims that schools ought to teach children how to exercise linguistic power.

Jørgensen shows that in spite of this the bilingual children do acquire manipulation skills. He also emphasizes the fact that co-operation is not the only principle that rules the conversations.

Jørgensen finds that the manipulation strategies, which Kjøller has established, are useful in the study of bilingual conversations from the Køge Project. Inspired by this, this article describes some of the principles behind the manipulation strategies used by the children in my data. The article focuses on the conflicts in the conversations. The study consists of 1) a qualitative analysis of the manipulation strategies and the power-processes in the negotiations, and 2) a quantitative study of the outcome of the conflicts in the conversations. The study, which is described in Madsen (2001), concerns both linguistic and social parameters. The relationships between linguistic variation and social structures are considered. As a starting point linguistic variation is seen as a means of negotiating power relationships and identities. The linguistic choices bring about social relations in the conversation. The results, however, suggest that linguistic behavior in the conversation to some extent depends on brought-along social factors (Rampton 1995).

Copyright (c) 2003 Lian Malai Madsen