Ethnic Minority Language Use at Home and in Schools: An Investigation into the Somali Children's Bilingualism in Manchester.

Al-Azami, Salman and Hailemariam, Chefena (2015) Ethnic Minority Language Use at Home and in Schools: An Investigation into the Somali Children's Bilingualism in Manchester. In: Ethnic and Cultural Identity: Perceptions, Discrimination and Social Challenges. Nova Science Publishers, New York, pp. 103-120. ISBN 978-1-63483-871-9

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Abstract

This research investigates the effects of language policy on ethnic minority language maintenance among a relatively newer community in Manchester. It looks into bilingualism among the Somali children in two schools in Manchester in terms of the communicative roles of languages inside and outside the school environment. The study examines the overt and covert issues that affect ethnic minority children’s use of their heritage language while learning in English in their schools. Statistics from local educational authorities provides educational achievement patterns by ethnicity. However, such data may not always reveal the actual linguistic, social and psychological underpinning, such as language literacy practices specific to a community, social identity, school-home cooperation etc. This study deals with issues and emerging themes from focus group meetings conducted with pupils, parents and teachers in two primary schools in Manchester with significant presence of ethnic Somali pupils. The main purpose of this small-scale research was to identify the real issues that young Somali children encounter in a context of constant struggle between their heritage language, which remains their ethnic identity whether they had ever been to Somalia or not, and English, which they have to use to succeed in their adopted country. The study concludes that despite positive reinforcement by both the schools about children’s heritage language and good home-school link lack of effective national language policy regarding teaching ethnic minority languages in schools have contributed to the decline in use of Somali by children in both the schools. The study also observes that over-emphasis on modern foreign languages in UK schools means that ethnic minority languages have little role in the school environment leading to many children’s language shift.

Item Type: Book Section
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > English
Depositing User: Salman Al-Azami
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2016 09:09
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2016 09:09
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/1273

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