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Title: Experiences of being bilingual : seven French and Spanish-speaking families in Kent
Author: Deakin, Annie
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 1329
Awarding Body: Canterbury Christ Church University
Current Institution: Canterbury Christ Church University
Date of Award: 2016
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This study is an exploration of familial bilingualism in which I examined the reported experiences of a small group of bilingual family members who live in the South of England and whose heritage languages are French or Spanish. The study, located in applied linguistics and sociolinguistics, draws upon the main fields of bilingualism, second language acquisition, language ideologies, family language policies, as well as bilingualism and emotions. It offers evidence of the difficulties to transmit heritage languages and implement familial bilingualism because of a mixture of intertwined ideological and practical factors. Having experienced familial bilingualism, I was interested in understanding the meaning that familial bilingualism had for other families and how familial bilingualism subjectively affected family members in their everyday lives and in their interactions at home and in society. To conduct the study, I adopted an interpretative approach in which I tried to derive context-situated interpretations from the narratives of my participants. Thus, my data enabled me to examine the complexity of maintaining and transmitting heritage languages within families. The data highlighted the strong link between familial bilingualism and society as the heritage languages of the participants could be construed as social capital that the parents had to transmit in order to be 'good parents'. The data also highlighted the complex relationships between bilingualism and emotions not only at societal level but also at individual and familial levels. The salient emotions revealed in the data comprise feelings of responsibility about maintaining and transmitting heritage languages as well as feelings of insecurity and isolation generated by migrating and belonging to bilingual families. A greater understanding of familial bilingualism and how families view their languages as lenses through which they negotiate family and societal relations, as well as emotions and education, is not simply an academic exercise but is arguably of importance to all of us, given the world in which we live, with diversity and migration featuring as major political and ideological issues.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: CS0038 Family history covering more than one country ; HQ The family. Marriage. Woman ; PB Modern European Languages