Reference : Walks in Luxembourg: researching forced migrants’ multilingual language practices
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Unpublished conference
Arts & humanities : Languages & linguistics
Multilingualism and Intercultural Studies
Walks in Luxembourg: researching forced migrants’ multilingual language practices
Kalocsanyiova, Erika mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS) >]
Tlang conference: Communication in the Multilingual City
from 28-03-2018 to 29-03-2018
University of Birmingham
United Kingdom
[en] communicative repertoires ; refugee integration ; (linguistic) identity ; multilingual practices ; go-along
[en] 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.
Researchers ; Professionals ; Students

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