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Language use and investment among children and adolescents of Somali heritage in Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0444-2207
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Language Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8869-6687
2019 (English)In: Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, ISSN 0143-4632, E-ISSN 1747-7557, Vol. 40, no 1, p. 64-75Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores language use and investment among Somali-speaking children and adolescents in Sweden, through group interviews and survey data. Our findings indicate that there are incentives to invest in Somali language learning considering the reported language use patterns and the expressed positive attitudes towards Somali mother tongue instruction. The Somali language was perceived to be ‘naturally’ linked to Somali identity and to being able to claim ‘Somaliness’, not only by the adolescents but also by the surroundings. Thus, advanced Somali language proficiency was perceived as necessary for being able to pass as ‘culturally authentic’ (Jaffe, A. [2012]. “Multilingual Citizenship and Minority Languages.” In The Routledge Handbook of Multilingualism, edited by M. Martin-Jones, A. Blackledge, and A. Creese, 83–99. London: Routledge). Furthermore, being perceived as unproficient in Somali or unable to transmit the language to future generations was experienced as guilt-provoking. Nevertheless, the adolescents articulated a compliance with the dominant linguistic order in Sweden, and their school’s assimilatory language rules (‘Swedish-only’). This compliance was associated with good manners and moral behaviour, thus reflecting the potentially harmful and pervasive nature of assimilatory language ideology and policy for individual students. The findings exemplify in many ways the struggles it entails to maintain and develop a minoritised language in a majority language context and the complex ‘ideological enterprise’ of language learning with its educational and ethical dilemmas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 40, no 1, p. 64-75
Keywords [en]
Linguistic order, minoritised language, mother tongue instruction, Somali–Swedish bilingualism
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics Educational Sciences
Research subject
Bilingualism; Language Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-155718DOI: 10.1080/01434632.2018.1467426ISI: 000454715200005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-155718DiVA, id: diva2:1201732
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 721-2012-4275Available from: 2018-04-26 Created: 2018-04-26 Last updated: 2020-03-04Bibliographically approved

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Ganuza, NataliaHedman, Christina
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Centre for Research on BilingualismDepartment of Language Education
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