Things You Cannot Do in Norway: Multilingual Transnational Action and Interaction in Digital Communication
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonNordic Journal of African Studies. 2022, 31 (1), 45-71.
Migrants from Senegal constitute a small minority in Norway, which complicates their possibilities of carrying out certain linguistic and cultural practices face-to-face. However, with increased access to digital means, socio-cultural practices, including multilingual discourse, may be participated in transnationally. In this paper, we analyse two stretches of multimodal conversation between a Senegalese living in Norway and two interlocutors in Senegal, more specifically one WhatsApp conversation with a nephew, and one Messenger interaction with a close friend. Based on interview and interactional data, we investigate how they use their various communicative resources to negotiate transnational relationships, and to seek emotional, spiritual, and practical support. The analysis shows how language choice is used to create virtual togetherness (Baldassar 2008; Nedelcu and Wyss 2016) in different ways. The interlocutors engage in practices ranging from phatic communication, banter and gifting, to help with practical issues and doing business as they manage different mobile chronotopes (Lyons and Tagg 2019). Our research extends the use of the mobile chronotope to include voice messages and considers more intimate relationships. It shines light on the immense resourcefulness of highly multilingual individuals in achieving their communicative aims and points this out as a fruitful area for future investigation.
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