Language and Identity : attitudes towards code-switching in the immigrant language classroom

University essay from Umeå universitet/Institutionen för språkstudier

Abstract: Although many studies have been conducted on second language acquisition and bilingual education, little is known about the role of language in the formation of identity by adolescent immigrants in the language classroom. More specifically, this study aims to investigate the use of code-switching by immigrant and refugee students learning Swedish and English in a high school preparatory program. Furthermore, this study investigates the relationship between students’ and teachers’ attitudes towards code-switching and language as a resource, and theories on language as a marker of identity. Quantitative collection of data and qualitative interviews reveal tensions between the ways in which teachers and students relate to code-switching and bilingualism. This study concludes that language in general, and code-switching in particular, can be used by students as a marker of identity. It further concludes that teachers to some extent discourage the use of code-switching, and thereby undermine the students’ possibilities in forming multicultural identities.

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