A diary is often a personal and private matter, a well-kept secret. This article discusses findings from ethnographic research in which language diaries and diary-based interviews were used as a means to collect qualitative data. The article is based on case studies of six high school students who at the time of the study were enrolled at an international boarding school in Sweden. During the interviews, the students spoke about personal matters associated with languages, identities and discriminatory practices in school and in society.
The aim of the paper is twofold: (1) to investigate and describe the students' language practices, their translanguaging practices and their multilingual literacies, and (2) to analyze diary-based case studies – based on language diaries and diary-based interviews – from a methodological viewpoint as a means to collect data. The study wishes to contribute to the growing body of ethnographic research on literacy that highlights and nuances the intricate ways in which languages are being used by bilingual and/or multilingual adolescents in their everyday lives in a globalized world.
The diaries together with the diary-based interviews reveal significant findings about multilingualism both on a micro and macro level. On a micro level these findings relate to, for instance, the use of translanguaging that forms part of the students' multilingual repertoires and the construction of identities in a transnational space such as the school. On a macro level, the findings relate to, for instance, language ideologies, language policies and teaching and learning in a transnational space.
The results of the study have implications for language policies and teaching practices in schools with bilingual/multilingual students. The study shows how the students' language practices differ from that of the school. Furthermore the study contributes to the methodological advancement of ethnographic research methods and shows how the use of language diaries can enable the production of self-reflection based on students' language practices.
2013. no 224, 85-117 p.
multilingual literacies, bilingualism, language diaries, translanguaging, ethnography