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Shared Languages, Shared Identities, Shared Stories

A Qualitative Study of Life Stories by Immigrants from German-speaking Switzerland in Australia


Doris Schüpbach

This book explores how 15 immigrants from German-speaking Switzerland in Australia make sense of their migratory experience, of building a new life in a different language. It does so by examining their written and oral life stories. The analysis takes two complementary perspectives: Firstly, the construction of language identities is studied through the language practices and attitudes discussed and displayed by the participants. Secondly, the ways in which they create coherence in their life stories focuses on autobiographical identities where language is a medium of sense-making across their life course. The combined perspectives highlight the diversity among the participants and the complexities of language and identity construction in the context of migration.
Contents: Swiss German language varieties – Swiss immigration to Australia – Language practices – Language maintenance and shift – Language identity – Autobiographical identity – Narrative analysis / discourse analysis – Life story approach.