Introduction: New questions in research on multilingual identities in migration contexts. Inke Du Bois and Nicole Baumgarten
Introduction: New questions in research on multilingual identi- ties in migration contexts Inke Du Bois and Nicole Baumgarten 1. Migration, multilingualism and identity A young woman with a headscarf, jeans and sneakers stands across from me (I. D.) in the local train in Hamburg, Germany. She leads an animated conversation with someone on her smart phone in a language I do not understand – but given the sounds it could be Arabic or Farsi. The foreign sounds continue for several seconds and, to my surprise, the young wom- an says in German “das hat er da gepostet” (‘he posted it’) – again followed by a several utterances in the language I cannot clearly identify. The animated conversation continues for minutes, the woman’s utterances and words appear to merge into a new language, a mixed hybrid (at least half of which I cannot understand). I wonder about her interesting appearance and the seeming shemozzle of her talk. She speaks Standard German, without a second lan- guage accent. In her mid-twenties, her clothing and accessories are a semiotic code of her identity: the brand sneakers, skinny jeans, the smart phone and her petrol-colored headscarf project a new migrant phenomenon in Germany: This young woman’s appearance combines a synthesis of Western and Muslim fashion style. Modern Western cultural artifacts, the smart phone, the sneakers and skinny jeans go together with the headscarf, symbolizing at least outwardly adherence to a lifestyle patterned by Muslim religious beliefs. Back in 1990s Germany, Muslim migrant woman on urban streets...
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