Abstract Recent developments in sociolinguistics and applied linguistics have put emphasis on the contrast between ideologies of distinct ‘languages’ and the multifaceted reality of linguistic practices. This article argues that recent usage-based reconceptualisations of the notions of competence and repertoire can help paint a more complex picture of the relationship between monolingual ‘ideologies’ and diverse linguistic ‘realities’. Drawing on data from interviews with highly proficient adult speakers of Finnish as a second language, I explore some aspects of how speakers’ competence can be understood as shaped by language use, and what role linguistic ideologies, social expectations and speakers’ environments play in this process. I conclude that, in a languagised world, the ability to keep ‘languages’ apart and to successfully display monolingual competence can be seen as part of multilingual speakers’ competence. In this way, a usage-based perspective on competence enables us to treat ‘languages’ as ideological constructs, while at the same time acknowledging their ‘real’ effects on speakers’ competence and language use.
Applied Linguistics Review – de Gruyter
Published: Sep 1, 2016