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Becoming Multilingual

Language Learning and Language Policy between Attitudes and Identities


Edited By Konrad Bergmeister and Cecilia Varcasia

Research into the complex phenomenon of multilingualism is rapidly increasing. This book looks at multilingualism through its interfaces with language policies, language attitudes and issues of language awareness and identity. The aim is to examine the dynamic processes that lead or hinder the development of such phenomena. One of the scopes of the volume is to represent the complexity of the multilingual speaker by shedding light on different multilingual settings in the world. The chapters of this volume tackle the topic from a sociolinguistic perspective by showing how multilingualism is dynamically constructed. They provide empirical research on language learning in different multilingual environments in the world as well as practical suggestions for the investigation of multilingualism and the improvement of its education.


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AMANDA HILMARSSON-DUNN / ROSAMOND MITCHELL - Multilingual Migrants in England: Factors Affecting their Language Use - 65


AMANDA HILMARSSON-DUNN / ROSAMOND MITCHELL Multilingual Migrants in England: Factors Affecting Their Language Use 1. Introduction In order to fulfil the aim of this research, the researchers investigated students’ attitudes, behaviours and beliefs in relation to their own mul- tilingualism and the school context in which they function, including:  which languages multilingual students use with their teachers, friends and family at home and school;  how multilingualism influences interactions with monolingual native English speakers and other multilingual students and teachers;  students’ attitudes towards the different languages they know. Social network theory has often been applied to research on language use in multilingual communities. In LINEE, we were interested in ex- ploring how far network theory could be applied to the multilingual- ism of migrants in England, while also referring to results from part- ner projects in Italy and Austria. However, we have found it necessary to draw on other concepts and factors to explain contemporary mi- grants’ language attitudes and behaviours, for example the relative perceived status of different languages; attitudes of migrant students’ families and teachers; and underlying policy for languages and migra- tion in the UK and EU. 66 Amanda Hilmarsson-Dunn / Rosamond Mitchell 2. Literature review 2.1. Social networks and factors affecting participation in these networks Milroy’s work on social network theory suggests that a close network structure, where speakers can form a cohesive group resisting linguis- tic pressure from outside the group, facilitates language maintenance (Milroy, 1987: 182). On the other hand, if the group is less...

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