”SEN KANSKE MAN INTE KAN JÄMFÖRA SIG MED EN VUXEN AKADEMIKER" Hur ungdomar skattar och kontextualiserar språkfärdigheter.
This essay examines how youths reason when self-assessing language proficiency, and how they motivate their language preference. The data consists of interviews with youths aged 16-19 in Gothenburg, conducted in the larger project (SSG) Språkbruk i Stockholm och Göteborg in 2014. In the interviews the informants self-assess their proficiency in Swedish, English, and native languages, and report which language they believe to be their best, and which they prefer to speak. The study shows that they do not judge their proficiency in the different languages in the same way when self-assessing. Due to a higher proficiency, Swedish is contextualized in ways that the other languages are not. Informants also show attitudes towards “good” and “bad” language use in Swedish. This is discussed in relation to overt and covert prestige, and language ideologies. Motivations for language preference are expressed in four ways: 1) they prefer to speak the language that they know best; 2) language choice depends on context so they report several languages; 3) they report a language that they wish to speak or learn; and 4) they report the language that they usually speak. The study offers an insight into how youths reflect upon their language proficiency, preference and use. The results presented are valuable when designing self-assessment scales in studies concerning language proficiency.