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'If they could, they would put them on a drip with Dutch' : language learning and the professional integration of migrants in Flanders

Sarah Van Hoof (UGent) , Sara Nyssen (UGent) and Sibo Kanobana (UGent)
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Abstract
This contribution investigates the rationale and implementation of an employment policy that envisions the quick insertion of migrants in the labour market through short and intensive language learning. We present an ethnographic analysis of a short and intensive course of Dutch for migrant job seekers developed in the context of Flemish employment policy. Our data show that the policy is framed in a discourse of empowerment and efficiency, but in its implementation focuses strongly on surveillance, the punitive consequences of which are tacitly attenuated by the practitioners implementing it. The drive towards quick and efficient language learning could be seen to conflict with the unpredictable nature of language learning. A focus on short-term language learning and quick professionalisation trajectories moreover seems to push migrants into low-skilled, precarious employment and to have stratificational outcomes along gendered lines. While arguing for the need to raise awareness of the way gender intersects with issues of language learning and professional integration, this contribution also reflects on the limitations of language learning as a strategy for migrants’ empowerment and contends that an exclusive focus on language as the key to integration erases the structural factors that produce inequality on the labour market.
Keywords
Linguistics and Language, Language and Linguistics, second language learning, employment, migration, gender, integration

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MLA
Van Hoof, Sarah, et al. “’If They Could, They Would Put Them on a Drip with Dutch’ : Language Learning and the Professional Integration of Migrants in Flanders.” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF LANGUAGE, vol. 264, 2020, pp. 73–94, doi:10.1515/ijsl-2020-2094.
APA
Van Hoof, S., Nyssen, S., & Kanobana, S. (2020). ’If they could, they would put them on a drip with Dutch’ : language learning and the professional integration of migrants in Flanders. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF LANGUAGE, 264, 73–94. https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2020-2094
Chicago author-date
Van Hoof, Sarah, Sara Nyssen, and Sibo Kanobana. 2020. “’If They Could, They Would Put Them on a Drip with Dutch’ : Language Learning and the Professional Integration of Migrants in Flanders.” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF LANGUAGE 264: 73–94. https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2020-2094.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Van Hoof, Sarah, Sara Nyssen, and Sibo Kanobana. 2020. “’If They Could, They Would Put Them on a Drip with Dutch’ : Language Learning and the Professional Integration of Migrants in Flanders.” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF LANGUAGE 264: 73–94. doi:10.1515/ijsl-2020-2094.
Vancouver
1.
Van Hoof S, Nyssen S, Kanobana S. ’If they could, they would put them on a drip with Dutch’ : language learning and the professional integration of migrants in Flanders. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF LANGUAGE. 2020;264:73–94.
IEEE
[1]
S. Van Hoof, S. Nyssen, and S. Kanobana, “’If they could, they would put them on a drip with Dutch’ : language learning and the professional integration of migrants in Flanders,” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF LANGUAGE, vol. 264, pp. 73–94, 2020.
@article{8671685,
  abstract     = {This contribution investigates the rationale and implementation of an employment policy that envisions the quick insertion of migrants in the labour market through short and intensive language learning. We present an ethnographic analysis of a short and intensive course of Dutch for migrant job seekers developed in the context of Flemish employment policy. Our data show that the policy is framed in a discourse of empowerment and efficiency, but in its implementation focuses strongly on surveillance, the punitive consequences of which are tacitly attenuated by the practitioners implementing it. The drive towards quick and efficient language learning could be seen to conflict with the unpredictable nature of language learning. A focus on short-term language learning and quick professionalisation trajectories moreover seems to push migrants into low-skilled, precarious employment and to have stratificational outcomes along gendered lines. While arguing for the need to raise awareness of the way gender intersects with issues of language learning and professional integration, this contribution also reflects on the limitations of language learning as a strategy for migrants’ empowerment and contends that an exclusive focus on language as the key to integration erases the structural factors that produce inequality on the labour market.},
  author       = {Van Hoof, Sarah and Nyssen, Sara and Kanobana, Sibo},
  issn         = {0165-2516},
  journal      = {INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF LANGUAGE},
  keywords     = {Linguistics and Language,Language and Linguistics,second language learning,employment,migration,gender,integration},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {73--94},
  title        = {'If they could, they would put them on a drip with Dutch' : language learning and the professional integration of migrants in Flanders},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2020-2094},
  volume       = {264},
  year         = {2020},
}

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