WEBINAR: Virtual Wednesday Seminar: Anxiety, Mindsets and Family Language Pressure

Yesim Sevinc, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, MultiLing, will give a talk entitled "Mindsets and family language pressure: Language or anxiety transmission across generations".

Yesim Sevinc. Portrett. Foto.
Photo: Olaf Czyz, IVEDA, Poland.


Portrett av kvinne. Foto.In this talk I will present my recent work bringing together research on Family Language Policy (FLP) and Psychology of Language Learning (PLL).

I will address language anxiety and monolingual mindsets not only as they relate to family language use, but also to divergent social, cultural, and emotional domains of FLP decisions. I will discuss associations between language practices within the family, beliefs about multilingualism and language ability (e.g., monolingual mindsets), family relations, and emotions, with a specific emphasis on anxiety. 

Anxiety and mindsets

Based on interview data from two Turkish families in the Netherlands with high levels of language anxiety, this paper demonstrates how anxiety plays a central and unavoidable role in FLP, influencing family language practices unfavorably. Furthermore, it illustrates how parental anxiety about monolingual language norms among first- and second-generation immigrants affects children’s language use and development. The transmission of anxiety across generations can be prevalent in multilingual, transcultural families due to ‘aggressive monolingualism’ or ‘monolingual mindsets’, negatively influencing multilingual language practices in and outside the family. 

Anxiety and stress in regard to monolingual mindsets influence family communication and bonding as well as immigrants’ social interaction both in the host and so-called home country. FLP, when it is built on monolingual mindsets, pressure and anxiety, therefore, has not only linguistic but also social and psychological costs for individuals, families, and society.

Key words

Language maintenance, language shift, family language policy, monolingual norms, aggressive monolingualism, monolingual mindset, family language pressure, language anxiety.


Yesim Sevinc is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan (MultiLing) and holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Linguistics from MultiLing. 

Prior to MultiLing, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Norwegian University of Science and Technology, where she took part in the project of ‘Acquisition of English in Multilingual Classrooms in Norway’ funded by the Norwegian Research Council. Her main research interest lies in the topic of linguistic, social, psychological, pedagogical and physiological aspects of multilingualism with a special focus on minority contexts.

Published Mar. 26, 2020 10:55 AM - Last modified Apr. 8, 2020 8:06 AM