Translingual family repertoires: ‘no, Morci is itaiitai panzita, amor’

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 2019
Issue Date:
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© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Drawing on data from a longitudinal linguistic ethnographic study of a trilingual (English, Japanese, Spanish) family in Australia, this paper suggests that rather than looking at their language use in terms of family language policy, better insights can be gained by exploring the translingual family repertoire. This repertoire is a central apparatus in the operation of this family, part of what holds the family together, both as an everyday means of communication and as an ideal of family integration. It is a set of resources that different members of the family can draw on in their everyday interactions. Looking at everyday interactions in the family, and the ways these are related both to this repertoire and to surrounding objects and space, this paper suggests that the focus of language use in the family is not on heritage language maintenance or any other kind of language policy, but rather on getting by translingually, on doing family life with the aid of a repertoire of diverse resources. This has important implications for how we think about multilingual families within the wider social domain.
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