Using Mobile Phones: Recording as a Social and Spatial Practice in Multilingualism and Family Research




audio recordings, research and technology, mobile communication, family interaction, multilingualism research


Family spaces are considered deeply private environments—taking recording devices into the family home is thus usually not an easy task. And it is even harder to make speakers record themselves without the researcher present. In this article, I describe the development of a recording device for mobile phones as a device to be used in multilingualism research. I will look at how qualitative research data are produced through social, technical and spatial practices, and how the availability of certain technical features influences the possibilities of research in the family.

I am interested in understanding ways of organizing multilingual family life and as such, my research is situated in the field of family language policy. As part of an ongoing umbrella project on multilingual transcultural families (MultiFam), in my research I deal with families in Oslo who have been selected because they use both German and Norwegian in the family on a regular basis. Interviews, creative tasks and family recordings are among the methods used to collect data on the language ideologies of the parents, the language use in the family and the biographic experiences linked to languages of both parents and (pre-)school-aged children.


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Author Biography

Judith Purkarthofer, University of Oslo

Judith PURKATHOFER received her PhD in sociolinguistics/applied linguistics from the University of Vienna (Austria) and works as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan (University of Oslo, Norway). She is currently most interested in the construction of multilingual social spaces and language organization and does ethnographic and biographic research in families, schools and kindergartens.




How to Cite

Purkarthofer, J. (2019). Using Mobile Phones: Recording as a Social and Spatial Practice in Multilingualism and Family Research. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 20(1).



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