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Diversity in Language Practices in a Multilingual and Multiethnic Society

Renganathan, Sumathi and Chong, Su Li (2007) Diversity in Language Practices in a Multilingual and Multiethnic Society. In: The 2nd International Conference on Language, Education & Diversity (LED 2007), 21-24 Dec 2007, University of Waikato, New Zealand.

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Abstract

This study aims to contribute to recent research on language socialization in bilingual and multilingual settings. However, majority of these studies explore multilingualism in contexts where being bilingual or multilingual is not the norm such as studies on immigrants in monolingual biased societies in US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Thus, in this study we explore multilingualism in a context where being bi or tri-lingual is common and where the majority of the population are also either bi or tri-lingual. This study examines how some Malaysian undergraduates who represent a multilingual and multi-ethnic society are socialized by and through language. By drawing on the experiences and social practices of these students, we explore not only their use of languages, but also how their attitudes and identities towards the languages are constructed. The underpinning theories informing this study are sociocultural theories of language learning especially the poststructralist approaches to language learning and language use. Our findings reveal that although there is a dominant language used at home, students’ choice of languages depend largely on the context and to whom they are speaking to. For some students, language is intricately linked to their ethnic identities and as such, delimits their use of other languages. On the other hand, for some students, languages are first and foremost a communication tool, and this encourages them to use different languages.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects:L Education > L Education (General)
Departments / MOR / COE:Departments > Management & Humanities
ID Code:3721
Deposited By: Dr Sumathi Renganathan
Deposited On:28 Dec 2010 00:26
Last Modified:28 Dec 2010 00:26

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