Actions sur les langues et les situations linguistiques : observer les pratiques
(Taking action on languages and language situations: looking at the practice)
2004, Vol. IX-2, pp. 81-94
Bilingualism can be approached either according to a traditional approach of languages as separately identifiable, describable and usable objects or through the observation of ordinary speech practices, i.e. language in action, analysis viewing languages as socially-constructed, unstable objects, which can be variably categorized according to practical ends in the course of action. This approach has been chosen as the framework of the present paper for the analysis of bilingual interactions. Two kinds of observations are made: far from being merely analyzable in terms of code-switching, bilingual interaction has to be described in finer strata, from linguistic sub-systems to ways of speaking and addressing participants in which discourse is jointly realized through the adjustment of such resources to the on-going action. Thus embodying languages in meaning-making social practices leads to questioning drastically reducing and lethal models for language planning which are founded on academic approaches of bilingualism.