Family multilingualism from a southern perspective: Language ideologies and practices of Brazilian parents in Norway

Journal article by Rafael Lomeu Gomes in Multilingua - Journal of Cross-cultural and Interlanguage Communiciation, published July 22, 2020.

Cover picture of the journal Multilingua


This article derives from a three-year ethnographic project carried out in Norway focusing on language practices of Brazilian families raising their children multilingually. Analyses of interview data with two Brazilian parents demonstrate the relevance of examining intersectionally the participants’ orientation to categorisations such as social class, gender, and race/ethnicity. Additionally, I explore how parents make sense of their transnational, multilingual experiences, and the extent to which these experiences inform the language-related decisions they make in the home. Advancing family multilingualism research in a novel direction, I employ a southern perspective as an analytical position that: (i) assumes the situatedness of knowledge production; (ii) aims at increasing social and epistemic justice; (iii) opposes the dominance of Western-centric epistemologies; and (iv) sees the global South as a political location, not necessarily geographic, but with many overlaps. Finally, I draw on the notions of intercultural translation and equivocation to discuss the intercultural encounters parents reported. The overarching argument of this article is that forging a southern perspective from which to analyse parental language practices and beliefs offers a theoretical framework that can better address the issues engendered by parents engaged in South–North transnational, multilingual practices.

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Published Aug. 20, 2020 11:26 AM - Last modified Aug. 20, 2020 11:26 AM