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Negotiating Boundaries at Work

Talking and Transitions

Edited by Jo Angouri, Meredith Marra, Janet Holmes

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Focuses on transition talk and boundary crossing discourse in the modern workplace

Moving between linguistic, professional and national boundaries is part of the daily reality of modern workplaces, where the concept of a 'job for life' is now outdated. Employees move between jobs, countries and even professions during their working lives, but the multilayered process of redefining personal, social and professional identities is not reflected in current workplace research.

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Chapter 1: Introduction: Negotiating boundaries at work
Jo Angouri, Meredith Marra & Janet Holmes
Part I: Transitions to a profession
Chapter 2: Negotiating social legitimacy in and across contexts: Apprenticeship in a ‘dual’ training system
Stefano A. Losa & Laurent Filliettaz
Chapter 3: Language mentoring and employment ideologies: Internationally educated professionals in search of work
Julie Kerekes
Chapter 4: ‘Oh it’s a DANISH boyfriend you’ve got’- Co-membership and cultural fluency in job interviews with minority background applicants in Denmark
Marta Kirilova
Chapter 5: Constructing a ‘mission statement’– A multimodal perspective on believable identity construction in a job interview
Ewa Kuśmierczyk-O’Connor
Chapter 6: Teamwork and the ‘global graduate’: Negotiating core skills and competencies with employers in recruitment interviews
Sophie Reissner-Roubicek
Chapter 7: ‘Doing evaluation’ in the modern workplace: Negotiating the identity of ‘model employee’ in performance appraisal interviews
Dorien Van De Mieroop & Stephanie Schnurr
Part II: Transitions within a profession
Chapter 8: Multilingualism and work experience in Germany: On the pragmatic notion of ‘patiency’
Kristin Bührig & Jochen Rehbein
Chapter 9: Working and learning in a new niche: Ecological interpretations of work-related migration
Minna Suni
Chapter 10: ‘Have you still not learnt Luxembourgish’? Negotiating language boundaries in a distribution company in Luxembourg
Anne Franziskus
Chapter 11: The ‘internationalised’ academic: Negotiating boundaries between the local, the regional and the ‘international’ at the university
Anne H. Fabricius
Chapter 12: Collaborating beyond disciplinary boundaries
Seongsook Choi

About the Author

Professor Jo Angouri is Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick

Meredith Marra is Associate Professor in the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Victoria University of Wellington.

Professor Janet Holmes is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at Victoria University of Wellington.


This is a stimulating volume in the relatively new area of workplace sociolinguistics. It gives detailed insights into the experience of being and belonging in environments of change. The crossing of physical, social and ideological barriers and its emotional toll is robustly addressed through micro-interactional analysis, while showing how institutions leak in at all points. The impressive range of workplaces speaks to complexities of transitions and, importantly, brings together the formalities of gatekeeping encounters and the coping and balancing strategies required to manage ordinary working conditions.

- Professor Celia Roberts, KCL


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