Language practices of Brazilian families in Norway: a southern perspective
Aligned with other areas of sociolinguistic inquiry, studies on Family Language Policy (FLP) have recently turned their focus to examining how transnational migration and globalisation relate to the ways in which families make sense of themselves through language practices (King and Lanza 2017). However, since the epistemological matrices upon which most studies have drawn are largely from the Global North, FLP as a subfield may benefit from engaging with ‘southern theories’ (Connell 2007). This ethnographic study aims to offer a southern perspective (Kerfoot and Hyltenstam 2017) by employing a decolonial theoretical framework (Castro-Gómez and Grosfoguel 2007) to discuss the intersection of class, race and gender with participants’ migration trajectories and language practices in the home of Brazilian families in Norway. This paper reports on data collected through interviews, self-recordings, and field notes across 12 months in one household in order to examine the connections between language practices, language ideologies, and decisions concerning what languages to use in parent-child interactions. Preliminary results reveal a belief circulating among Brazilians in Norway that the higher the level of education of the parents, the greater the importance attached to using Portuguese in the home. Furthermore, participants invoke class-associated notions as a strategy to distinguish themselves from Brazilians with lower socioeconomic statuses, despite class being a much less salient category in Norway than in Brazil. Besides expanding the empirical scope of FLP by focusing on an under-examined cohort, this study takes a step towards redressing the extant underrepresentation of southern theories in sociolinguistics (Milani and Lazar 2017).
Rafael Lomeu Gomes, University of Oslo