Reference : Forced Migration, Borders and Multilingualism: The Ideological Grounds of Linguistic ...
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Forced Migration, Borders and Multilingualism: The Ideological Grounds of Linguistic Integration in Luxembourg
Kalocsanyiova, Erika mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS) >]
Language and Borders: Rethinking Mobility, Migration and Space
from 26-03-2018 to 27-03-2018
University of Bristol
United Kingdom
[en] 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.
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