|The thesis explores bilingual adolescents’ language use, linguistic resources, and language
practices in interaction at three junior high schools in Haparanda, a Swedish town on the
country’s northeastern border with Finland. A comparison is also made with interaction among
bilingual adolescents at two Sweden-Finnish junior high schools in Stockholm and at one
Swedish-speaking junior high school in Helsinki. The aim of the study is to increase our
knowledge of bilingual adolescents’ interaction practices and language repertoires, i.e.
translanguaging, in interaction.
The primary data consists of close to eleven hours of video- and audio-recorded informal
group and pair conversations. The data was collected in 2014–2015 among 14–15-year-old
bilingual adolescents at three junior high schools in Haparanda. The first set of material for
comparison, comprising six hours of bilingual 13–15-year-old adolescents’ informal
conversations, was collected in 2014 at a Swedish junior high school in Helsinki. The second set
consists of 8 hours of video- and audio-recorded group conversations among 13–15-year-old
bilingual adolescents in two Sweden-Finnish high schools in Stockholm in 2015–2016. Each of
the conversations lasted for between fifteen minutes and one and a half hours.
The theoretical framework is found in the field of translanguaging, which aims to describe
bilingual language use and interactional practices (including code-switching), rather than
focusing on the languages themselves. In translanguaging, research on interaction has the
multilingual speaker, not the monolingual individual, as the norm. The analysis of the
conversation data collected is mainly qualitative.
The qualitative analysis of the bilingual adolescents’ conversations in Haparanda reveals
patterns in their use of linguistic resources and translanguaging practices in interaction. The
interlocutors fluidly and flexibly make use of their language resources, including grammar,
morphology, syntax and language practices in their interaction. Not only are Standard Swedish
and Finnish used in the negotiation processes, but also Meänkieli, local dialects, youth slang, and
English. They translanguage in order to make sense beyond the resources of any one particular
language. Examined from the viewpoint of translanguaging, similar patterns could be found in
Haparanda, Stockholm and Helsinki, but there were also differences: in the recordings from
Haparanda, Finnish was the matrix language, i.e. the base language in eleven of the fourteen
conversations, but the bilingual adolescents frequently switched from Finnish to Swedish. In
the conversational data collected in Helsinki in 2014, the relationship between the languages in
the conversations was the reverse. In all the seven conversations from Helsinki the interlocutors
generally used Swedish as the matrix language and they switched from Swedish to Finnish. In
Stockholm, the interlocutors used more Swedish than Finnish and they switched more between
languages if they used Finnish as the matrix language. Their language use seems to be more
influenced by Swedish than adolescents’ language use in Haparanda. It can be assumed that
sociolinguistic factors, like the different language settings, have an impact on adolescents’
language use in Haparanda, Stockholm and Helsinki.