Where Have all the Languages Gone, Long Time Passing? Family Language Policy across Time in a Filipino Diaspora (completed)

About the project

FLP Oslo-Filipino explores change in family language policy (FLP) in real time within five transnational families with Filipino descent in Oslo. The emerging field of FLP integrates the study of child language and language policy research in its approach to understanding language maintenance and shift (Li Wei 2012). In the Filipino diaspora in Oslo, Lanza and Svendsen (2007) revealed that the family language ideologies played a substantial role in parents’ decisions to maintain heritage language(s) or use the societal language with their children. The family language ideologies are thus one of several factors influencing children’s language competence and practice. In FLP Oslo-Filipino, the local-born children’s socialization to multilingualism, their language practice and competence in Tagalog, English and Norwegian are investigated at two different points in time with an interval of 20 years between them.


FLP Oslo-Filipino focuses on how multilingual families perceive and relate to their own multilingual competence and practice over time and the role of linguistic ideology; how they deal with potential incomplete acquisition, attrition or loss of heritage language(s); and the role of (Filipino) English in diaspora. Furthermore, it explores changes in the children’s multilingual competence, practice and identity constructions over time.


FLP Oslo-Filipino is part of the MultiLing portfolio of projects. It is anchored in all three of MultiLing’s research themes and will be carried out in 2018. The initial data were collected when the children were 8 to 9-years-old, i.e. in 1998/99 and the new data will be collected during their adulthood. The data consist of retellings of the narration in three picture books, a perception task, interactional data in situated discourse, ethnographic interviews and participant observations. Together with extensive ethnographic interviews with the parents, FLP Oslo-Filipino examines change in FLP in real time, a highly underexplored research area. It will be argued that Silverstein’s (1985) ‘total linguistic fact’ – structure, activity and ideology – is a feasible theoretical tool to understand various FLPs.

Related Projects

FLP Oslo-Filipino is part of the MultiLing project Family Language Policy in Multilingual Transcultural Families in which the main goal is to generate knowledge on one of the central dimensions of intensified mobility in contemporary society, viz. FLP in multilingual transcultural families, with a focus on language ideologies and language practices. In Family Language Policy in Multilingual Transcultural Families, the data collection will involve a triangulation of methods, including large-scale questionnaire surveys, ethnographic community profiling, focus group interviews, and in-home recordings of interaction. A strengthened knowledge base of multilingual FLP will provide insight into how transcultural families manage their linguistic and cultural heritage in contemporary urban spaces.

Published Dec. 8, 2013 5:12 PM - Last modified Feb. 21, 2020 10:15 AM


Bente Ailin Svendsen

(+47) 97562138