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'You Never Truly Feel at Home': Students' Perceptions of their Multilingualism and its Role in their Identity Construction: - A Study Performed in a Suburb Located in a Socially Vulnerable Area
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

A relevant subject in our globalized world concerns the relationship between language and identity, specifically amongst migrant youngsters’ experience of group belonging. This study therefore focused on how adolescents born to foreign parents in Sweden, perceived their multilingualism as part of their identity formation. I also aimed to include how socio-economic aspects could affect the process of identity construction. Thus, the investigation was performed with seventh grade students at a primary school located in the Stockholm suburb Bredäng. The methods consisted of a questionnaire, which was completed by the entire class and a group interview where six students participated. The results revealed that students adapted their language use based on the context, but Swedish was used most habitually. The informants viewed their multilingualism as beneficial but yet fully aware of the linguistic ideologies functioning in society. By combining their minority and majority language, the students were left with different ethnic identities and had diverse interpretations of what it meant to be Swedish. Even though all of them perceived themselves to have multiple ethnic identities, this was not solely seen positively. The issue of belonging was raised and the students claimed to be outcasts everywhere. However, the results differed depending on whether the students were born in Sweden or not. Also, most of them struggled with the process of assumed and ascribed identities, since they perceived themselves to be Swedish but experienced that society valued them as immigrants. Lastly, the study revealed that there were connections between their multilingualism and social mobility as the relationship towards the motherland was highly prioritized even with low levels of economic capital. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 36 p.
Keyword [en]
Multilingualism, perceptions, identity, adolescents, social mobility.
National Category
Humanities Languages and Literature General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131723OAI: diva2:941624
Available from: 2016-06-22 Created: 2016-06-22 Last updated: 2016-06-22Bibliographically approved

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