Language policies and early bilingual education in Sweden : An ethnographic study of two bilingual preschools in Stockholm

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Centrum för tvåspråkighetsforskning

Abstract: This research aims to shed light on language policies and early bilingual education in Sweden. It highlights the main language policies developed by Sweden while framing them within a European perspective, thus comparing the “national” language policies to the “international” language policies, stressing differences and similarities. More specifically, it analyzes the language policies and guidelines related to bilingual education created by the Council of Europe and afterwards applies the same procedure to the Swedish ones. Furthermore, this study investigates the language practices of children and teachers in two bilingual/multilingual settings. In order to do this, the research was framed as a sociolinguistic ethnography and was carried out using observations, interviews and audio-recordings in order to achieve triangulation wherever possible. Interview and observational data were analyzed thematically while interactional data was analyzed to establish the purposes for which different languages were used by participants. In conclusion, this study might give an idea of how appropriate the Swedish language policies are while stressing the need to revise and implement those policies that might affect the success of early bilingual/multilingual preschool education in Sweden. 

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