Multilingual family practices: an interactional study

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Many voices in contemporary sociolinguistics profess an understanding of multilingualism as a set of (social) language practices that make up a speaker’s language repertoires, rather than as a combination of separate languages seen as bounded entities. Such an interpretation of multilingualism, however, is hard to maintain from a language policy point of view, which typically, perhaps all too easily, assumes a macro-perspective. So even if policy makers include words such as “variety” and “multilingualisation” in their discourse, in practice policies evolve around top-down categories such as Nederlandstalig (‘Dutch-speaking’) and Franstalig (‘French-speaking’), which tend to eschew (and erase) the complexity and fluidity of microlinguistic contexts. In multilingual Brussels (Belgium), for instance, these categorisations, as well as the category anderstalig (‘other-speaking’), and combinations of all three, are frequently used. In this Chapter, I will look into some of the language practices of parents from different (linguistic) backgrounds in Brussels. Spoken data were collected from two parent-pairs with children enrolled in Dutch-medium education in Brussels, specifically focusing on the interactions between two of these parents, in this case the fathers, and their respective children. The data consist of audio recordings made by these parents during some of their daily routines, e.g. taking the children to school or extracurricular activities, or picking them up. The findings illustrate how these parents deploy and activate their various linguistic resources in day-to-day interactions, pointing to a variety and complexity of multilingual practices that may be ill served by the top-down classifications of “named languages” commonly used.
langue originaleAnglais
titreUrban multilingualism in the European Union
Sous-titreBridging the gap between language policies and language practices
rédacteurs en chefGiuditta Caliendo, Rudi Janssens, Stef Slembrouck, Piet Van Avermaet
Lieu de publicationBerlin, Boston
EditeurMouton de Gruyter
Nombre de pages24
ISBN (Electronique)978-1-5015-0320-7
ISBN (imprimé)978-1-5015-0320-7
Les DOIs
Etat de la publicationPublié - déc. 2019

Série de publications

NomContributions to the Sociology of Language
EditeurDe Gruyter Mouton
ISSN (imprimé)1861-0676

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  • Projets


    • 1 Présentation orale

    The multilingual family repertoires of transnational families: an interactional study

    Luk Van Mensel (Orateur)

    21 mars 2017

    Activité: Types de discours ou de présentationPrésentation orale

    Thèses de l'étudiant

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

    Author: Van Mensel, L., 24 janv. 2014

    Superviseur: Mettewie, L. (Promoteur), Leijnse, E. (Président), Darquennes, J. (Jury), Helot, C. (Personne externe) (Jury), Lamarre, P. (Personne externe) (Jury) & Janssens, R. (Personne externe) (Jury)

    Thèse de l'étudiant: Doc typesDocteur en Langues, lettres et traductologie


    Contient cette citation

    Van Mensel, L. (2019). Multilingual family practices: an interactional study. Dans G. Caliendo, R. Janssens, S. Slembrouck, & P. Van Avermaet (eds.), Urban multilingualism in the European Union: Bridging the gap between language policies and language practices (p. 141-164). (Contributions to the Sociology of Language; Vol 110). Mouton de Gruyter.