Language labels, language practices: a multiple case study of parents with children enrolled in Dutch-medium education in Brussels

Student thesis: Doc typesDoctor of Languages, Letters and Translation


In this dissertation, we looked into the language practices and language-related representations (or labels) of parents from different (linguistic) backgrounds in multilingual Brussels. Applying a social rather than linguistic approach to bilingualism, we conducted semi-directed interviews and collected spoken data from five couples, which were analyzed through a critical discourse analytic approach. The main aims of the study were threefold: (1) to investigate how the parents themselves relate to a number of common sociolinguistic labels used in policymaking, research and general discourse on language and identity in Brussels; (2) to look into the language practices these parents engage in and the ways in which these practices resonate with the labels used; (3) to examine whether and how having a child in Dutch-medium education in Brussels both informs these parents’ language practices and the way they describe themselves.
Date of Award24 Jan 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Namur
SupervisorLaurence Mettewie (Supervisor), Elisabeth Leijnse (President), Jeroen Darquennes (Jury), Christine Helot (Jury), Patricia Lamarre (Jury) & Rudi Janssens (Jury)


  • sociolinguistics
  • qualitative research
  • Brussels
  • education
  • parents

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