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See detailTowards an understanding of the language–integration nexus: a qualitative study of forced migrants’ experiences in multilingual Luxembourg
Kalocsanyiova, Erika UL

Doctoral thesis (2019)

This cumulative thesis offers insights into the under-researched area of linguistic integration in multilingual societies. It is a collection of four papers that seek to address key questions such as: How ... [more ▼]

This cumulative thesis offers insights into the under-researched area of linguistic integration in multilingual societies. It is a collection of four papers that seek to address key questions such as: How can people’s existing language resources be validated and used to aid language learning? What are the politics of language and integration in settings of complex linguistic diversity? What role do language ideologies play in their creation and/or perception? What types of individual trajectories emerge? The research reported here is grounded in the Luxembourgish context, which represents an important European focal point for exploring the dynamics of linguistic integration. Taking a qualitative approach informed by linguistic ethnography (Copland & Creese 2015; Pérez-Milans 2016; Rampton 2007a; Rampton et al. 2015; Tusting & Maybin 2007), this work focuses on the language learning and integration experiences of five men who, fleeing war and violence, sought international protection in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Building on theories of multilingual communication (Canagarajah & Wurr 2011), translanguaging (Creese & Blackledge 2010; García & Li Wei 2014) and receptive multilingualism (ten Thije et. al. 2012), the first paper of this thesis considers the affordances of multilingual learning situations in classroom-based language training for forced migrants. The second paper moves on to scrutinise the instrumental and integrative dimensions of language (Ager 2001), as articulated and perceived by the research participants. It exposes the vagueness and contradictory logics of linguistic integration as currently practiced, and throws light on how people with precarious immigration status interpret, experience and act upon ideologies surrounding language and integration (cf. Cederberg 2014; Gal 2006; Kroskrity 2004; Stevenson 2006). The third paper, likewise, directs attention to the controversies and potential unwarranted adverse effects of current linguistic integration policies. Through juxtaposing the trajectories of two forced migrants – who shared similar, multi-layered linguistic repertoires (Blommaert & Backus 2013; Busch 2012, 2017) – this part of the thesis elucidates the embodied efforts, emotions, and constraints inherent in constructing a new (linguistic) belonging in contemporary societies. Taken together, these papers illustrate and expand the discussion about the language–integration nexus. Additionally, by bringing into focus multilingual realities and mobile aspirations, they seek to provide a fresh impetus for research, and contribute to the creation of language policies that recognise a larger range of communicative possibilities and forms of language knowledge (cf. Ricento 2014; Flubacher & Yeung 2016). The thesis also makes a methodological contribution, by demonstrating the value of cross-language qualitative research methods in migration and integration research. It includes a detailed discussion of the complexities of researching in a multilingual context (Holmes et al. 2013; Phipps 2013b), as well as a novel inquiry into the interactional dynamics of an interpreter-mediated research encounter (fourth paper). [less ▲]

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See detailQualitative interviewing in multilingual research
Kalocsanyiova, Erika UL; Shatnawi, Malika

Scientific Conference (2019, September 27)

A growing body of research in super-diverse societies is conducted, by necessity, in multiple languages. Multilingual research practices can play a fundamental role in empowering participants and ... [more ▼]

A growing body of research in super-diverse societies is conducted, by necessity, in multiple languages. Multilingual research practices can play a fundamental role in empowering participants and privileging their voices, especially in migration-related studies. Yet, questions of cross-language interviewing are for the most part avoided or ignored in mainstream research. This contribution seeks to bring cross-language communication back into the focus of methodological discussions. Our paper builds on multilingual interview material extracted from a two-year linguistic ethnographic research project on forced migrants’ integration trajectories in Luxembourg. It looks at interpreter-mediated research encounters, as well as interviewees’ translation and translanguaging moves. Audio recordings and field notes from collaborative data analysis sessions underpin the data for this contribution. Our examples show that there is merit in fixing our analytical gaze on the minute details of language use across different codes, as these allow for a novel inquiry into specific moments of meaning making, role performances and rapport-building in qualitative interviewing. [less ▲]

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See detail(Im)mobilizing languages
Kalocsanyiova, Erika UL

Scientific Conference (2019, September 19)

This presentation is concerned with the impact of multilingualism on forced migrants’ trajectories. It reports the findings of a two-year qualitative research project, which used ethnographic research ... [more ▼]

This presentation is concerned with the impact of multilingualism on forced migrants’ trajectories. It reports the findings of a two-year qualitative research project, which used ethnographic research methods, including narrative and go-along interviews, classroom and participant observations and linguistic analysis of interactional data. The project set out to investigate how forced migrants reflect, position, and affirm themselves – through languages – in multilingual societies. Our contribution aligns itself with the body of research that challenges hegemonic monolingual and monocultural practices (Grzymala-Kazlowska/Phillimore 2018, Van Avermaet 2009). Other major influences were Juffermans and Tavares’s (2017) research on south-north trajectories and linguistic repertoires, Stevenson’s (2014, 2017) work on language (hi)stories and Busch’s (2017) biographical explorations of Spracherleben. In this talk, the focus will be on the experiences of three men from Syria and Iraq who have obtained humanitarian protection in Luxembourg, but aspire to fulfil their integration aspirations across multiple locations and countries. A careful analysis of divergent trajectories sheds light on how experiences of linguistic inequality and/or success are imprinted on forced migrants’ repertoires and shape their understanding of (successful) integration. [less ▲]

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See detailForced migrants in Luxembourg: an LE approach to linguistic integration
Kalocsanyiova, Erika UL

Scientific Conference (2019, June 28)

This paper outlines the core contributions that a linguistic ethnography (LE) approach can make to forced migration and integration research. LE provides multiple tools for capturing the complexity and ... [more ▼]

This paper outlines the core contributions that a linguistic ethnography (LE) approach can make to forced migration and integration research. LE provides multiple tools for capturing the complexity and transient character of the real social environments in which forced migrants integrate. After summarising the main arguments of the literature which examines the language–displacement nexus, this contribution moves on to discuss the nature and focus of the proposed approach. It then turns to specific examples from a two-year LE research project that addressed the impact of multilingualism on forced migrants’ trajectories in Luxembourg. [less ▲]

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See detailMultilingualism in forced migration research: insights from an ethnographic study in Luxembourg
Kalocsanyiova, Erika UL

Scientific Conference (2018, September 27)

This paper outlines some methodological considerations for researching integration trajectories in multilingual societies. It draws on a linguistic ethnographic study undertaken in Luxembourg. It ... [more ▼]

This paper outlines some methodological considerations for researching integration trajectories in multilingual societies. It draws on a linguistic ethnographic study undertaken in Luxembourg. It discusses ways of accommodating the participants’ (and my own) multilingual but distinct language competences. I reflect upon how my positionality as a multilingual researcher became part of the research process, shaping both the research design and the relationships I had with the informants. Multilingual research practices can play a fundamental role in empowering participants and privileging their voices in migration-related studies. This paper outlines some of the benefits/complexities that can arise if both participants and researchers draw on their old and newly acquired language resources. In this connection, I will argue that narrative analysis allows a refined understanding of foreign- and cross-language exchanges, which in turn helps to uncover the many ways in which linguistic integration can be understood, practiced and experienced. Narratives also proved to be an excellent tool for exploring multiple and shifting ideological stances in (meta)discourses surrounding language, identity and societal participation in the context of this research. [less ▲]

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See detailExploring Multilingual Pedagogies: Forced Migrants’ Learning Experiences in Luxembourg
Kalocsanyiova, Erika UL

Scientific Conference (2018, June 20)

While most societies are structured around diverse flows of people and complex linguistic repertoires, (language) education schemes are still dominated by monolingual instructional practices. This paper ... [more ▼]

While most societies are structured around diverse flows of people and complex linguistic repertoires, (language) education schemes are still dominated by monolingual instructional practices. This paper aims to contribute to current discussions on the affordances of multilingual pedagogies in contexts of forced migration. It draws on a range of linguistic ethnographic data (Copland & Creese, 2015) that was collected over the period of 2016-2017 in diverse settings of language learning and socialization. Our research sites in Luxembourg included language courses in French, English and German, mathematics courses, application and web development training, and diverse leisure activities. Having followed the learning trajectory of five asylum applicants, we explored how they built on their old and newly-acquired language resources. Our findings confirm that in order to make their voices heard, the learners often drew upon elements from multiple languages, including those local languages they had no extensive competence in. This multilingual orientation enabled them to see the local languages as new functional resources in their growing repertoires (Kalocsányiová, 2017). This is of special relevance in contexts of forced migration, where learners need to become users of the languages they are learning from the first day onward. [less ▲]

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See detailWalks in Luxembourg: researching forced migrants’ multilingual language practices
Kalocsanyiova, Erika UL

Scientific Conference (2018, March 28)

Luxembourg has a long-standing tradition of multilingualism: according to the 1984 language law, Luxembourgish, German and French are all acknowledged as languages of administration. This rich linguistic ... [more ▼]

Luxembourg has a long-standing tradition of multilingualism: according to the 1984 language law, Luxembourgish, German and French are all acknowledged as languages of administration. This rich linguistic environment is further complexified by the languages and language varieties of the large international community – composed of 160 different nationalities – that resides in Luxembourg City. Hence, other languages such as English, Portuguese or Italian might be equally important for navigating local life. Most members of the local society move fluidly back and forth between a multitude of languages, often within a single speech event. Luxembourg’s multilingualism is not territory-based; it is reflected in different patterns of language use that are intertwined with competing social positions and collective identities (Horner, 2015). This contribution presents data from an ongoing doctoral research project that follows the language learning trajectory of five asylum applicants in Luxembourg. The project follows a linguistic ethnographic approach (Copland & Creese, 2015), which is well suited to reveal the participants’ attitudes towards different languages, practices and (linguistic) identities. Based on participant observation, interviewing and go-alongs (Kusenbach, 2003), the present contribution examines how research participants draw on their linguistic resources as they move across different sites in their daily trajectories. Their language practices are analysed as in situ responses to specific situations/settings in Luxembourg’s multilingual environment. Our findings suggest that in their daily interactions, the research participants use both their old and newly-acquired language resources, without too much regard to the boundaries between them. This confirms the asylum applicants’ positive attitude towards Luxembourg’s languages and their wish to incorporate a wide range of local resources into their communicative repertoires (Kalocsányiová, 2017). By the same token, the participants’ multilingual practices are indicative of new complex forms of linguistic identification. [less ▲]

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See detailForced Migration, Borders and Multilingualism: The Ideological Grounds of Linguistic Integration in Luxembourg
Kalocsanyiova, Erika UL

Scientific Conference (2018, March 27)

The purpose of this contribution is to identify the complexities that surround the linguistic integration of forced migrants in multilingual societies. We present data from an ongoing doctoral research ... [more ▼]

The purpose of this contribution is to identify the complexities that surround the linguistic integration of forced migrants in multilingual societies. We present data from an ongoing doctoral research project that follows the trajectory of five refugees who fleeing war and political unrest in the Middle East, sought international protection in Luxembourg. Large proportion of Luxembourg’s workforce originates or lives outside of the boundaries of the nation state (Statec, 2016). The notion of a homogenous speech community – be it formulated in terms of a monolingual identification with the Luxembourgish language, or as a trilingual identification with the three languages (Luxembourgish, French and German) recognized by the language law of 1984 (Horner, 2015) – is continuously under pressure. The erosion of traditional linguistic boundaries is reinforced by the strong presence of English, Portuguese, Italian and dozens of other migrant languages, including the multiple language resources forced migrants bring to this context. This creates new forms of linguistic intersection, where the negotiation of differences can lead to either the reinforcement of existing barriers, or the embracement of the multilingual affordances created by this new emerging context (Kalocsányiová, 2016 & 2017). In multilingual societies, the successful navigation of local life requires the development of different capabilities in a variety of languages and for a range of purposes. According to the research participants’ accounts, their language learning trajectory in Luxembourg has been substantially influenced by the uncertainty of their situation. Forced migrants “dwell on the borders” while awaiting a decision on their asylum claims and beyond, which has clear implications for their language choices and the language learning options available to them. The project follows a linguistic ethnographic approach (Copland & Creese, 2015): based on interviewing, participant observations and go-alongs, we examine a broad range of competing ideologies that forced migrants are required to balance in their daily efforts to integrate. [less ▲]

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See detailAt the borders of languages: the role of ideologies in the integration of forced migrants in multilingual Luxembourg
Kalocsanyiova, Erika UL

in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (2018)

This paper considers the role of language ideologies in the linguistic integration of forced migrants. It discusses the findings of an ethnographic exploration that was conducted in Luxembourg with five ... [more ▼]

This paper considers the role of language ideologies in the linguistic integration of forced migrants. It discusses the findings of an ethnographic exploration that was conducted in Luxembourg with five individuals who sought refuge there. A network of teachers and institutional representatives constituted the secondary pool of research participants. Through analysis of metalinguistic discourse and narrative episodes, the paper scrutinises the instrumental and integrative dimensions of language. In particular, it draws attention to and problematises the hegemonic ideologies that inform linguistic integration. By bringing into focus multilingual realities and mobile aspirations, this research seeks to provide a new impetus to the reconceptualisation of integration. [less ▲]

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See detail“They can communicate, BUT…” - Language learning goals of forced migrants in multilingual Luxembourg
Kalocsanyiova, Erika UL

Scientific Conference (2017, October 13)

This contribution presents data from an ongoing doctoral research project that focuses on the linguistic integration trajectory of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Luxembourg. Drawing on interview data and ... [more ▼]

This contribution presents data from an ongoing doctoral research project that focuses on the linguistic integration trajectory of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Luxembourg. Drawing on interview data and classroom observations we explore teachers’ and learners’ attitudes towards Luxembourg’s main languages and their beliefs about how to approach language learning in a multilingual society. Upon arrival, refugees are immediately exposed to the country’s immense linguistic diversity along with ambiguous and often competing ideologies as to what languages to learn. While French is the main vernacular language, English has been gaining importance as lingua franca of the Grand Duchy’s large international community. Government sources increasingly emphasise the role of Luxembourgish as the sole language of integration, despite its minority position in several domains. Other languages such as German or Portuguese might be equally important for navigating local life. Refugees from regions where (a regional/dialectal form of) Arabic enjoys the status of majority language, are expected to encounter difficulties in adapting to the complex language situation of Luxembourg. As a result, the research participants have shown a strong interest in developing different capabilities in a variety of languages and for a range of purposes. Our data confirms that wide-ranging learning outcomes are pursued in this context. While teachers acknowledge the importance of this aspect for setting language learning goals, system-wide, policy-declared goals still prevail in their pedagogical practice. Yet, we have observed instances of more holistic approaches that recognize the multilingual character of communication and learning, and take better account of the learners’ short- and long-term expectations. [less ▲]

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See detailWhat Happens Next? Language Learning Trajectory of an Iraqi Asylum Seeker in Luxembourg
Kalocsanyiova, Erika UL

Scientific Conference (2017, May 05)

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is often portrayed as a country of immigration. Official government policies continually draw upon the rhetoric of trilingualism to support claims about the country’s ... [more ▼]

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is often portrayed as a country of immigration. Official government policies continually draw upon the rhetoric of trilingualism to support claims about the country’s openness and multicultural spirit. This, along with the recognition of three languages – Luxembourgish, German and French – is expected to facilitate the integration of foreign nationals. It is claimed no Luxembourger is monolingual: moving fluidly back and forth between a multitude of languages is a communication method in its own right and members of the local society are believed to excel in it. Despite widespread acceptance and favourable attitudes towards multilingualism, language resources outside the recognised trilingual model have ambiguous statuses. As a result, broader societal multilingualism is perceived as problematic in numerous instances (Horner & Weber, 2008; Horner, 2015). In present-day language ideological debates, the strong presence of foreigners tends to be perceived as a threat to the established language regime and particularly to the position of the Luxembourgish language. The role of Luxembourgish as “language of integration” has been increasingly emphasised, although it is the one resource new arrivals are least likely to have in their communicative repertoires (de Bres, 2014). The often conflicting nationalist and multilingual language ideologies give rise to ambivalent messages as to what languages and what identities should be offered to newcomers, among them to the refugees who have sought international protection in Luxembourg. This contribution offers detailed insights into the linguistic integration trajectory of an Iraqi asylum seeker who arrived to Luxembourg in the summer of 2015. Our aim is to explore how his language resources are being compiled, enhanced and discarded in the course of the integration process, i.e. the reorganisation of his communicative repertoire. As integration seldom starts from scratch, first we report on language resources the research participant accumulated prior to his arrival to Luxembourg. These are being discussed in the context of his educational and professional experiences and future life-projects. Secondly, we examine his language learning trajectory bearing in mind the competing linguistic ideologies and practices refugees are required to adjust in their daily efforts to integrate in Luxembourg. Thirdly, we offer examples of the language practices he engaged in. These demonstrate how he responded to multilingual social settings in both language use and attitudes towards the languages and identities offered. Furthermore, they provide clues about what language resources have become part of his complex repertoire. Blommaert and Backus (2013) described language learning as a “process of growth” drawing attention to the fact that repertoires do not develop in linear fashion, but “explosively in some phases of life and gradually in some others”. Our data suggest that the process of repertoire-building is highly dynamic during this transition period. The research participant’s deliberate use of newly-acquired language resources, without regard to how well he knows the languages involved, indicates new forms of linguistic identification. These include fluid multilingual practices, which are considered to be expressions of his new emerging identity. This contribution presents data from an ongoing linguistic ethnographic research (obtained through interviews, classroom observations and shadowing) and will include a discussion about the challenges brought by working with vulnerable research participants and the need to research multilingually. [less ▲]

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See detailTowards a repertoire-building approach: multilingualism in language classes for refugees in Luxembourg
Kalocsanyiova, Erika UL

in Language and Intercultural Communication (2017), 17(4), 474-493

This contribution examines how the diverse language resources that teachers and learners bring to the classroom can support the process of language learning. It draws on a range of linguistic ethnographic ... [more ▼]

This contribution examines how the diverse language resources that teachers and learners bring to the classroom can support the process of language learning. It draws on a range of linguistic ethnographic data collected at a French language course that was attended mostly by Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Luxembourg. Drawing on the analysis of multilingual interactional practices, the article sheds light on some of the opportunities for learning that emerged as a result of translation, translanguaging and receptive multilingualism. It discusses the relevance of these practices for building a repertoire of resources that enables forced migrants to communicate in multilingual contexts such as Luxembourg. [less ▲]

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See detailMultilingualism in Language Classes for Refugees in Luxembourg: Second Language Teaching or Repertoire Building?
Kalocsanyiova, Erika UL

Scientific Conference (2016, October 22)

Official trilingualism is often drawn upon to portray Luxembourg as a heterogeneous society with high levels of linguistic capital, where multilingualism is declared to be an asset both at individual and ... [more ▼]

Official trilingualism is often drawn upon to portray Luxembourg as a heterogeneous society with high levels of linguistic capital, where multilingualism is declared to be an asset both at individual and societal level. With the increased number and shifted geographic origin of migrants from refugee backgrounds new questions surface concerning the linguistic integration of these new arrivals, who are often incorrectly associated with zerolingualism and whose language capital is seldom perceived as a valuable asset. It has been argued that in contexts of forced migration one cannot talk of second or foreign language learning: migrants are not acquiring the language(s) of the mainstream society for the mere reason of approximating native speakers’ performances; these languages form part of their everyday lived experiences, hence they have to appropriate features that best suit their needs. Accordingly, their full linguistic repertoires constitute single integrated continua that include all the language resources they have learned and accumulated. In line with this and contesting the idea of zerolingualism, we maintain that through a wide variety of trajectories ranging from comprehensive learning to informal encounters with languages, migrants from refugee backgrounds have developed partial, truncated competences in several languages that have resulted in complex linguistic repertoires. Our contribution aims at investigating whether the recognition of multilingualism in Luxembourg entails the acknowledgment of the refugees’ full linguistic repertoires, or on the contrary, it remains limited to the appreciation of official trilingualism and proficiency in standard English. In our analysis we are going to rely on data collected in the context of a French language course for beginners, which is offered to newly arrived migrants by volunteer teachers. Besides commenting on the presence (or absence) of multilingual approaches, we seek to explore whether migrant language features are acknowledged as useful resources and how, if at all, the class draws on the fluid use of all the languages present for both learning and functional purposes. On this note, we aim to determine what is more prominent in this context: the monoglossic perspective where languages are conceived in a linear and compartmentalised way or a repertoire-building approach based on awareness and positive attitudes towards teachers’ and learners’ multilingual repertoires. [less ▲]

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See detailDynamic encounters between asylum applicants and the multilingual society of Luxembourg - linguistic repertoires built with truncated competences?
Kalocsanyiova, Erika UL

Scientific Conference (2016, October 05)

Our contribution aims at investigating the communication challenges brought by a rather abrupt and recent change in Luxembourg’s refugee intake patterns, reflected in the increased number and shifted ... [more ▼]

Our contribution aims at investigating the communication challenges brought by a rather abrupt and recent change in Luxembourg’s refugee intake patterns, reflected in the increased number and shifted geographic origin of international protection applicants. We have adopted a border studies approach to explore the new linguistic and social reality, which emerges through continuous interactions between the diverse, mobile and multilingual society of Luxembourg, on one hand, and on the other hand, the linguistic and cultural repertoires that recently arrived asylum seekers – mostly Syrians, Iraqis and Afghanis – bring to this context. We argue that theoretical and applied knowledge generated by previous research on multilingualism in cross-border regions is transferable to this new field of inquiry. [less ▲]

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See detailLinguistic Integration of Asylum Applicants: Policies and Practice in Luxembourg
Kalocsanyiova, Erika UL

Presentation (2016, June 21)

This contribution aims at investigating the language policies that are in place in Luxembourg to support the linguistic integration of adult migrants from refugee backgrounds. A rather abrupt and recent ... [more ▼]

This contribution aims at investigating the language policies that are in place in Luxembourg to support the linguistic integration of adult migrants from refugee backgrounds. A rather abrupt and recent change in the country’s refugee intake patterns -reflected in the increased number and shifted geographic origin of international protection applicants- is presenting new challenges for the process of integration and the actors involved. Language is a crucial aspect for inclusion and participation in working and social life, especially in highly diverse, mobile and multilingual contexts such as Luxembourg. It has been demonstrated that in multilingual environments people are more likely to establish effective ways of communication without sharing a common language code, principally through the productive-creative combination of all available language and other communication resources. Against this background, the present contribution examines the presence (or absence) of multilingual approaches in local policies for linguistic integration and language learning. In this connection, I am going to explore whether the inclusion of multilingualism entails the acknowledgment of the asylum applicants’ full linguistic repertoires, or whether it remains limited to the appreciation of those languages that are generally recognized in our context such as French, English, German or Luxembourgish. Similarly, the purposes and forms of available linguistic training are going to be discussed, with particular focus on the organization of formal language education, language training for low educated and illiterate asylum applicants, policy measures for the support of informal/non-formal language learning activities, and potential integration of language learning with professional development and social participation. Main policies at national and organizational level are going to be reviewed and commented on using interview data from key actors involved in the process. The aim is to offer different perspectives on the linguistic integration of adult migrants from refugee backgrounds in Luxembourg. [less ▲]

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