What can interactional sociolinguistics bring to the family language policy research table? The case of a Malay family in Singapore

Journal article by Seyed Hadi Mirvahedi in Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, published online January 2021.

Front cover of the Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, yellow patterned background with black lettering.Abstract

This research applies interactional sociolinguistics within a family language policy framework to investigate how social structures and institutional discourses outside the home trickle into daily mundane activities within a Malay-English bilingual family in Singapore. Drawing upon ethnographic interviews and naturally-occurring interactions at home, the study examines the parents’ reported linguistic ideologies and the ‘practiced’ family language policy. The analysis suggests that the family embraces language mixing in the family and reports making efforts to strike a balance between Malay and English at home as a way of raising the children bilingually. The analysis of familial interactions, however, shows that the parents’ and children’s language practices vary as certain frames are evoked in the conversation. The findings suggest that a better understanding of language maintenance and shift processes through family language policy research necessitates a nuanced examination of how languages are used to evoke, negotiate and establish certain frames during daily activities at home.

Published May 26, 2021 10:40 AM - Last modified May 26, 2021 10:51 AM