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Meanings attached to intergenerational language shift processes in the context of migrant families

Floor Verhaeghe (UGent) , Piet Van Avermaet (UGent) and Ilse Derluyn (UGent)
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Abstract
In most migrant families, a language shift from the heritage language(s) to the dominant language takes place over generations. This shift is influenced by different factors, among which the political and societal pressure to use the mainstream language. The consequences for intergenerational family relations remain understudied. This article sheds light on how families navigate this language shift through eight three-generation family interviews (i.e. grandparent, child, grandchild; n = 24 interviewees) with migrants residing in Flanders (the northern, Dutch-speaking part of Belgium). Results show that both heritage and dominant languages are important for sentimental (i.e. opening up possibilities for a closer belonging) and instrumental reasons (i.e. multilingualism as an asset). However, the heritage languages have faded away, which is experienced as a loss. The second generation is blamed for this loss, but simultaneously has to solve the communication gap between their parents and their children by acting as a translator. We argue that this specific position of the second generations, and the burden attached to the individualised responsibility of second generations, for both learning the majority language and maintaining the heritage languages, needs further study.
Keywords
Language shift, multilingualism, migrant generations, multi-generational family interviews, bilingualism, maintenance, identity, students

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MLA
Verhaeghe, Floor, et al. “Meanings Attached to Intergenerational Language Shift Processes in the Context of Migrant Families.” JOURNAL OF ETHNIC AND MIGRATION STUDIES, 2020.
APA
Verhaeghe, F., Van Avermaet, P., & Derluyn, I. (2020). Meanings attached to intergenerational language shift processes in the context of migrant families. JOURNAL OF ETHNIC AND MIGRATION STUDIES.
Chicago author-date
Verhaeghe, Floor, Piet Van Avermaet, and Ilse Derluyn. 2020. “Meanings Attached to Intergenerational Language Shift Processes in the Context of Migrant Families.” JOURNAL OF ETHNIC AND MIGRATION STUDIES.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Verhaeghe, Floor, Piet Van Avermaet, and Ilse Derluyn. 2020. “Meanings Attached to Intergenerational Language Shift Processes in the Context of Migrant Families.” JOURNAL OF ETHNIC AND MIGRATION STUDIES.
Vancouver
1.
Verhaeghe F, Van Avermaet P, Derluyn I. Meanings attached to intergenerational language shift processes in the context of migrant families. JOURNAL OF ETHNIC AND MIGRATION STUDIES. 2020;
IEEE
[1]
F. Verhaeghe, P. Van Avermaet, and I. Derluyn, “Meanings attached to intergenerational language shift processes in the context of migrant families,” JOURNAL OF ETHNIC AND MIGRATION STUDIES, 2020.
@article{8636933,
  abstract     = {In most migrant families, a language shift from the heritage language(s) to the dominant language takes place over generations. This shift is influenced by different factors, among which the political and societal pressure to use the mainstream language. The consequences for intergenerational family relations remain understudied. This article sheds light on how families navigate this language shift through eight three-generation family interviews (i.e. grandparent, child, grandchild; n = 24 interviewees) with migrants residing in Flanders (the northern, Dutch-speaking part of Belgium). Results show that both heritage and dominant languages are important for sentimental (i.e. opening up possibilities for a closer belonging) and instrumental reasons (i.e. multilingualism as an asset). However, the heritage languages have faded away, which is experienced as a loss. The second generation is blamed for this loss, but simultaneously has to solve the communication gap between their parents and their children by acting as a translator. We argue that this specific position of the second generations, and the burden attached to the individualised responsibility of second generations, for both learning the majority language and maintaining the heritage languages, needs further study.},
  author       = {Verhaeghe, Floor and Van Avermaet, Piet and Derluyn, Ilse},
  issn         = {1369-183X},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF ETHNIC AND MIGRATION STUDIES},
  keywords     = {Language shift,multilingualism,migrant generations,multi-generational family interviews,bilingualism,maintenance,identity,students},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {19},
  title        = {Meanings attached to intergenerational language shift processes in the context of migrant families},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1369183x.2019.1685377},
  year         = {2020},
}

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