Contesting 'Language' as 'Heritage': Negotiation of Identities in Late Modernity

Adrian Blackledge, Angela Creese, T Barac, A Bhatt, S Hamid, V Lytra, P Martin, CJ Wu, D Yagcioglu

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    93 Citations (Scopus)


    In this paper we question key terms which appear frequently in discussions of language teaching and learning: language and heritage. The paper draws on empirical data from one of four linked case studies in a larger project funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Investigating Multilingualism in Complementary Schools in Four Communities (RES-000-23-1180). In our analysis we argue that the relationships between language and heritage, far from being straightforward, are complex in the way they play out in classroom interactions. The data raise a number of questions in our attempts to understand how the linguistic practices of students and teachers in Bengali schools are used to negotiate young peoples multilingual and multicultural identities. First, participants articulate attitudes and values which raise questions about what constitutes language. Second, participants express views and attitudes, and perform interactional practices, which raise questions about what constitutes heritage. Our analysis finds that multilingual young people in complementary school classrooms use linguistic resources in sophisticated and creative ways to negotiate subject positions which appear to contest and subvert schools attempts to impose upon them heritage identities (Creese, A., A. Bhatt, N. Bhojani, and P. Martin. 2006. 'Multicultural, heritage and learner identities in complementary schools,' Language and Education 20/1: 23-44).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)533-554
    Number of pages22
    JournalApplied Linguistics
    Issue number4
    Early online date10 Jan 2008
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2008


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