Lära och leka med flera språk: Socialt samspel i flerspråkig förskola.

Björk-Willén, P.
Linköping: Tema Barn, Linköpings Universitet.


The objective of this dissertation   is to analyse the interaction and participation of three five-year-old children in a multilingual context. The analysis focuses in particular on the concepts of participation, learning and play in child-child relationships and child-adult relationships. Different aspects of children’s multimodal interaction are captured as well as their participation in activities at the daycare centre, including their speech, gestures, facial expressions, bodies and physical artefacts.  The author wants to analyse the language and actions of the child at play as well as the child’s use of different modalities to trigger participation in different social contexts.


In summary the studies show that bi/multilingual children use multimodal resources to achieve participation in play and adult-supervised activities. Daily use of several languages adds an extra dimension to social interaction. The dissertation concludes that the pedagogical routines and patterns at the kindergarten guide the child’s participation in various activities, but that the child also demonstrates a creative linguistic capability. The child demonstrates a pragmatic and contextual use of different multimodal resources (verbal expressions, gestures, gazes, bodily expressions, etc.) in participation in both free play and activities organised by adults. It is concluded that the child has a pragmatic use and choice of language, but despite being multilingual, the unilingual norm is strongly rooted in children’s mutual interaction and in the interaction between the child and the child carer.   The studies show that participation is a precondition for learning and that participation in itself is part of the learning process. In other words, participation in a social context is a fundamental part of a child’s socialisation. The child’s bi/multilinguality is one of several multimodal resources which the child employs to participate in play and organised activities.


The video material comprises 44 hours of film, of which 37 hours are from a Swedish multilingual kindergarten and seven hours are from an Australian multilingual kindergarten.


Björk-Willén, P. (2006). Lära och leka med flera språk: Socialt samspel i flerspråkig förskola. Linköping: Tema Barn, Linköpings Universitet.

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