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Multilingual Identities: New Global Perspectives

Edited By Inke Du Bois and Nicole Baumgarten

The contributions in this volume shed light on lived multilingualism around the globe. A small, but still representative selection of the multitude of migrant experiences, all studies share the intertwining of geographical mobility and non-mainstream linguistic practices which serves as a resource of agency and promotes alternative multiple identities of the immigrant speakers. This volume is based on the two core tenets of sociolinguistic identity research. First, it accepts the idea that identities or sub-identities are in a sense pre-given and can be formulated through membership categories. Second, identities are viewed as being enacted and performed, thus constituting social realities. In the social construction of identity, national and linguistic boundaries dissolve. The originating countries of the participants (and/or their ancestors) in the studies of this volume include Argentina, Ethiopia, Yugoslavia, Russia, Morocco, the Phillipines, Korea, Kazakhstan, Suriname and India. The countries of immigration include Germany, the USA, Israel, France and the Netherlands.


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Made in Berlin: Bilingualism and identity among immigrant and German-background children. Janet M. Fuller


Made in Berlin: Bilingualism and identity among immigrant and German-background children Janet M. Fuller 1. Introduction This paper explores the changing ideologies about German identity in Berlin, Germany in its post-unification incarnation. In terms of both language policy and public discourse, Germany has long been known for ethnonational ideals (DeSoto and Plett 1995), but the Berlin of the twenty-first century has been changed by immigration. In addition to the continued presence of Turks and the increased influx of Eastern Europeans, who are largely lower-income work- ers in Germany, there has been an increase in immigration of middle-class professionals. The ideal of the Gastarbeiter ‘guest worker’ has dissipated, and many of the immigrants to Ger- many come to stay. The increased integration of immigrants from all over the world into German society has, at least in some sectors of the population, changed what it means to be German (Ezell et al. 2003; Miller-Idriss 2006; Sperling 2004; but also see Schneider 2002 for evidence of the maintenance of ethnonationalist values). This paper looks at the ideologies and identities of pre-teens in Berlin with data from an ethnographic study, augmented with recordings of naturally occurring interactions from German-English bilingual classrooms and data from a written survey of the children in these classrooms. This triangulation provides the opportunity for an analysis of the children’s ideo- logies about German identity as well as the social meanings of the German language. 2. Identity The perspective on identity in this research is a social constructionist one; social...

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