The language policy of trilingual transnational families living between Antioch, Paris and Berlin

Authors

  • Suat Istanbullu CNRS (Centre National pour la Recherche Scientifique); INALCO (Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales); Paris

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/sols.39512

Keywords:

family language policy, trilingual families, transnational families, intergenerational language practices, linguistic variation, multilingualism, corpus linguistics

Abstract

In this article I analyze the family language policy of trilingual transnational families (Arabic, Turkish, French or German) through a comparative study of their intergenerational language practices in France and Germany. This study is based on a multi-sited ethnography, with recordings of individual interviews and socially situated heterogeneous language practices involving two families of three generations with similar trajectories and socioeconomic and linguistic profiles. The analyses of their language practices demonstrate that family language policy is based on individual freedom of choice; it is not explicit, fixed or rigid but unconstrained and ?uctuating. With respect to the inherited familial languages, contrary to expectations, I observe that they are maintained relatively well, especially in the case of Arabic; this is true even for the youngest participants, the third generation. I show that the factor supporting the maintenance of Arabic in the third generation is the grandparents’ alignment with the youngest participants’ language choice as well as their caring attitude, expressed mainly in Arabic, but also, though less regularly, in Turkish.

Author Biography

Suat Istanbullu, CNRS (Centre National pour la Recherche Scientifique); INALCO (Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales); Paris

Suat Istanbullu (Ph.D. 2017, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Inalco, Paris) is a teacher and research assistant at Inalco and junior researcher at the SeDyL Research Centre (UMR8202 of CNRS, the French National Centre for Scientific Research), France. Her research mainly focuses on multilingual interactions involving Arabic, Turkish and dominant languages (French, German) within transnational families, revolving around the question of multilingualism, national and family language policies, linguistic variation and language shift. 

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Published

2021-02-10

How to Cite

Istanbullu, S. (2021). The language policy of trilingual transnational families living between Antioch, Paris and Berlin. Sociolinguistic Studies, 14(4), 459–481. https://doi.org/10.1558/sols.39512

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