-Oslo --Oslo-Oslo
What is UPUS-Oslo?
UPUS (=Linguistic development in urban environments) is a national research project funded by the National research Council. The Oslo-part of the project has as its goal to study linguistic practices among adolescents in multilingual and multicultural communities of practice in Oslo. The overarching goal of the project is to discuss a possible identification of one or more new varieties of Norwegian which might be traced to influences from a multilingual environment.

UPUS-Oslo consists of five researchers; one doctoral student, Toril Opsahl, two post doc positions, Bente Ailin Svendsen and Unn Røyneland - all three at the Department of Linguistics and scandinavian Studies at the University of Oslo, and two assistant professors, Finn Aarsæther at Oslo University College and Ingvild Nistov at University of Bergen. You may see some pictures of us here.

Multilingual Oslo
Linguistic diversity in
Norway has increased dramatically during the last 30-40 years, primarily as a consequence of migration. In Oslo, the capital, more than
one third of the pupils in primary and secondary school are so-called minority language speaking, and more than 120 different languages are represented. Even though the statistics bear witness to an immensely differentiated language situation, it does not tell us the factual vitality of these languages, neither about how, and to which purposes the languages are used, nor how the languages interact.

Multiethnolectal Norwegian
The idea that a new way of speaking Norwegian has emerged among adolescents in multilingual environments in Oslo has already been established in the media and among people in general. However, there has, as yet, not been any comprehensive study of this phenomenon apart from some smaller studies of lexical loans. Within the UPUS-project we are studying the linguistic traits which characterize these adolescents way of speaking Norwegian, but also their bi- or multilingual language socialization, especially in their families, but also at school and among their peers. The researches in the project are examining slightly different as
pects. Whereas some are concentrating on phonology/ prosody, morphology or syntax others are concentrating on functions or repertoires. The different research questions are as follows:
  • Are one or more multiethnolectal style(s) emerging in Oslo – as found for example in Hamburg, Mannheim, Stockholm, Utrecht
  • Can we differentiate these multiethnolectal style(s) from more idiosyncratic second language learner style(s) and from more general changes in progress?
  • Are these multiethnolectal style(s) also used to some extent by monolingual adolescents? 
  • To what extent can we connect certain linguistic practice(s) or linguistic traits to a (co-)construction of identities along dimensions such as youth, ethnicity, urbanity and gender?
Fieldwork and data
We have concentrated our field work to two local communities of practice, one in the southern part of the city and one in the old part of Oslo. Both of these areas have a migrant population of aprox 35 %.  We are collecting video-taped interviews and peer conversations both at schools, in families and among peer groups. At this point we have gathered data from aprox 50 adolescents. We are also planning to gather data in more trans-local contexts, such as central youth clubs, theatre, dance and other sports and leisure activities with no local attachment to it. The data is now beeing transcribed and is available trhough an internet based interface developed by Tekstlaboratoriet. To get access to the material one must send an application to UPUS-Oslo and NSD. The data is only available for research.