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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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Loving Bollywood and being Dutch: Language choice and identity issues among Surinamese-Hindustani women in Amsterdam. Dipika Mukherjee


Loving Bollywood and being Dutch: Language choice and iden- tity issues among Surinamese-Hindustani women in Amsterdam Dipika Mukherjee 1. Introduction In recent years sociolinguistic studies have focused on the study of language as a political and economic entity, and the findings have been highly nuanced when immigrant groups are the focus of the study. Researchers have investigated language choice as an expression of anti-racism (Rampton 1995), as covert subversion of the dominant language (Mukherjee 2003; Gal 1994) or as resistance to a dominant social code (Mukherjee and David 2007; Mukherjee 2006; Miller 2004). In this paper, I focus on a group of women in the Suri- namese-Hindustani community in the Netherlands and specifically look at language mainte- nance and loss as it relates to a sense of their ethnic identity. One of the most vigorous and exciting arenas for linguistic change and innovation is within immigrant communities, and the Surinamese-Hindustani community in the Nether- lands is positioned within a multilingual Europe, within a continent still coming to terms with the racial tensions inherent in a multilingual population with cultural pluralism. As Eu- rope wrestles with the problems of assimilation and integration of ethnic minorities, detailed sociolinguistic studies of immigrant groups serve to highlight the importance of culture and ethnic backgrounds in shaping practices and narratives. For this study, I focused on a group of 22 women who shared a Surinamese-Hindustani ancestry, and had enrolled at a Bollywood Dancing class held at Daalwijkdreef in Amster- dam. The popularity of Bollywood dance...

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