WP314. Citizen (socio)linguistics: What we can learn from engaging young people as language researchers

Svendsen & Goodchild


This paper discusses how citizen science (CS) – the “participation of non-professional contributors in the production of scientific knowledge” (Kasperowski et al., 2021:14) – is conceptualised and applied in (socio)linguistics. After outlining the recent impetus of CS across scientific fields, in research policy and planning, it presents the European Citizen Science Association’s ten principles of CS and then describes the state of the art of (youth) citizen sociolinguistic studies, exploring epistemological, methodological and ethical considerations as well as the impact of engaging (young) people as language researchers. As an empirical point of entry, the paper presents insights from a small-scale citizen (socio)linguistic project in Oslo, namely Youths Speak Back, where young people were engaged as researchers in multiple stages of the research process. It outlines some of the outcomes for the participants themselves and for the professional researchers, and the ethical and methodological concerns that it critically addresses include issues of recruitment, mutual trust and motivation, some of them more pertinent in citizen humanities and citizen social sciences. It is argued that there is a need to push forward collaborative approaches in CS and consequently in (socio)linguistics to support the UN’s sustainability goal no 10, Reduced inequalities.