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Multilingual Communication and Binational Families (Call for papers)

Zuletzt aktualisiert: 20 Okt 2009
01-Sep-2010 - 04-Sep-2010
Southampton, United Kingdom

Contact Person: Liliane Meyer
Meeting Email: liliane.meyerisw.unibe.ch

Call Deadline: 09-Nov-2009

Panel: Multilingual communication in binational families: negotiating languages, identities and everyday tasks.

Call for Papers

The growing geographical mobility of the past decades has increased migration and facilitated the formation of binational couples and multilingual families. Migrating to another country means leaving behind one's accustomed way of living, family members and friends, and entering a new social, cultural, and linguistic environment. While many of the migrants move to another country together with their families and keep using their native language(s) at home, some start a new life with a partner from the host country. Partners in such binational relationships are confronted with the 'other' (person, language, culture) on a more personal and intimate basis, in their homes.

Binational families can be regarded as a type of 'laboratories' (Varro 1998: 109) for studying language choice (maintenance or loss), the formation of (hybrid) identities, the development of multilingual speaking practices, or intercultural communication (Piller 2002). At the same time, these families have to deal with everyday activities, to negotiate tasks, chores and roles, which involves accommodating and overcoming linguistic and cultural differences.

In this thematic panel we would like to bring together researchers working on everyday communication in multilingual families and thus create a platform for exchanging ideas and discussing data collected in different multilingual settings. We would like to focus on binational families where a) one of the partners has migrated into the country of the other, or b) two partners with different linguistic backgrounds have migrated into a third country. Since only audio or video recordings of conversations enable us to conduct detailed analyses of the multilingual realizations of everyday practices, we are particularly interested in contributions taking a qualitative and interactional approach to the topic and using methods such as Discourse and Conversation Analysis.

Such an approach allows us to study not only the use of multiple languages, but also aspects of construction and negotiation of linguistic resources, everyday activities and identities. We therefore welcome papers on a range of topics, including aspects of language use, identity construction and performance as well as the accomplishment of tasks and chores in different languages. The investigation of multilingual families offers a deep insight into communication in multilingual environments and it highlights the social and cultural significance of multilingual language use. Against the background of the current political discussions in many European countries about (linguistic) integration of different migrant groups, we would like to show how different linguistic resources can be activated and combined to solve communicative tasks in everyday family activities across linguistic and cultural boundaries.