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Actors’ discourses on Language Supplementary Schools: Diaspora practices and emerging ideologies

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posted on 2022-10-25, 12:23 authored by Leonie GaiserLeonie Gaiser, Yaron Matras, Stephanie Connor, Katie Harrison

Drawing on interviews with staff from Language Supplementary Schools (LSS) in Manchester (UK), we discuss the emergence of makeshift ideologies whereby actors seek to legitimise choices and policies of heritage language transmission in the diaspora setting. Actors discuss the use of regional and vernacular varieties, the consideration given to pupils’ multilingual repertoires, and the use of the majority language (English) as ‘scaffold’. Conscious that such practices potentially clash with the schools’ expected mission statements and prevailing ideological dispositions, actors seek to justify them. They do this with reference to changes in setting and attitudes, which they position along time and place axes, comparing origin countries with the diaspora reality, thereby forging new language narratives as a ‘diasporic stance’. We consider the discursive tools and actions of talks that constitute descriptions, explanations, justifications, and their interplay in actors’ efforts to share their perspective on practices and the attitudes that accompany them. The study shows how ideologies regarding the particular diasporic situation are shifting, and the relevance of pluralistic language repertoires within it. Methodologically, the study suggests that ideologies are not just discursive dimensions, rather they are constructed and communicated discursively, allowing us to trace their emergence using semiotic and discourse-analytical tools.

Funding

Open World Research Initiative (AHRC) (‘Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community (Multilingual Communities strand)

British Academy Wolfson Professorial Fellowship, awarded to Professor Yaron Matras

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership, awarded to Leonie Gaiser and supervised by Yaron Matras

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