Reath Warren

Reported linguistic practices among high school students studying mother tongues/ community languages in Sweden and Australia

Anne Reath Warren

ccCC BY 4.0

Cite as: Reath Warren, A. (2018, December). Reported linguistic practices among high school students studying mother tongues/ community languages in Sweden and Australia. Paper presented at the Fourth Intergenerational Transmission of Minority Languages Symposium: Language and Identity.

This presentation focuses on descriptions of language use among high school students studying Arabic, Kurdish, Turkish and Urdu through mother tongue instruction in Sweden, and Vietnamese as a community language in Australia.  Mother tongue instruction in Sweden is an elective school subject available to students who speak languages other than Swedish on a regular basis with at least one guardian. In Australia, community language schools, run by volunteers and often operating on weekends, provide the opportunity to study and develop proficiencies in languages other than English to students who speak these languages with their guardians. Informed by emerging theories of translanguaging as everyday practice and pedagogy, transcriptions of four focus group discussions with 33 students in both these forms of education were analysed to explore how they describe their language use in different contexts. Further, similarities and differences in these student descriptions are discussed in relation to local and national language education policies. Preliminary analysis suggests that when students are not restrained by family or school language policies, they flexibly and strategically draw on a variety of linguistic resources, thus  facilitating communication, creating meaning, and reflecting their complex and dynamic plurilingual identities.


Keywords: mother tongue instruction; community language education; translanguaging, plurilingual identities

2 reaktioner på ”Reath Warren

  1. Hi Anne,

    Thanks for a very interesting presentation!

    I wonder, did you see any differences between children in families where both parents (or other close family members) shared one mother tongue language and where the parents had different/several mother tongue languages?

    Best wishes,

    1. Hi Ingrid,

      Thanks for this very valid question. In this analysis I did not look at that aspect, but I do have that data (parental language(s)) and it would certainly be another aspect to consider in my on-going analysis. I can report that the overwhelming majority of students at the Vietnamese CLS had Vietnamese parents who spoke either English or Vietnamese or both languages at home. The situation among the students in Sweden was more complex; the Kurdish students mostly had Kurdish parents, but there was at least one in the group interviewed with a Turkish father. Among the speakers of Arabic there was a mixture of backgrounds; parents speaking Arabic but from different countries, one parent speaking Arabic/one parent speaking Bulgarian, and the student who reported using Swedish most often was recently-arrived pupil with both parents from the same Arabic-speaking country.

      Please feel free to email me, or ask further questions if you have further ideas or suggestions!

      Best wishes

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