Tales@home, language maintenance and language use in plurilingual families (plenary)

Sabrina Colombo & Maria Stopfner, Institute of Applied Linguistics - Eurac Research, Bolzano/ Bozen, Italy, ID LLCE2017-143;     Abstract: The Erasmus+ project Tales@home aims to investigate how plurilingual families relate to and deal with their languages at home. Since south Tyrolean society has always been multilingual for different historical reasons, families in which more than one language is spoken are quite common. However, since the 1990s the number of plurilingual families has even increased (ASTAT, 2014) due to immigrants that settled in Italy’s northernmost Province. Yet, being a plurilingual family is not always easy: Different attitudes towards language use, language maintenance and language learning can cause controversy and raise negative emotions. In order to address the family members’ implicit feelings, attitudes and expectations, semi-structured interviews with 50 plurilingual families were carried out in four different European countries. The qualitative analysis of the collected data will be the topic of my presentation, from the point of view of sociolinguistics. One of the main outcomes of Tales@home is a web-application (App) offering families a playful tool to manage their language use at home. The research uses a “user centered design” method based on the feedback of plurilingual families and professionals working with them.

KEYWORDS: plurilingualism, applied linguistics, language use, language maintenance, language policy, interlinguistics

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