Great Aunt Edna’s Vase: Multilingual families, heritage, and identity

Seminar/Forum

Great Aunt Edna’s Vase: Multilingual families, heritage, and identity

Every day, multilingual families make decisions – both consciously and subconsciously – about language use. These decisions are linked both to constructed identities, and to identity construction, having an important impact on how children view, and relate to, the various family languages. Often, though, speaking in the heritage language is seen as much more important than speaking about the heritage language, leaving discontentment, opinions, and sometimes heartache, to grow unchallenged and undiscussed. This talk centres around a study involving a questionnaire study involving 212 multilingual families, followed up by 10 in-depth family interviews, and presents a framework aimed at helping family members understand the differentiated attachments – both emotional and pragmatic – various family members might have, and exploring what happens when families are invited to communicate their views in a supportive, facilitated environment. The link to Great Aunt Edna’s Vase will be revealed.

Presenter

  • Dr Sabine Little
    Dr Sabine Little, Lecturer in Languages Education