1st Edition

Migration, Adult Language Learning and Multilingualism Critical Sociolinguistics Research with New Speakers of Faroese

By Anna-Elisabeth Holm Copyright 2024
    234 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book extends lines of inquiry at the nexus of migration, adult language learning, and multilingualism, illuminating the lived experiences of migrants in the Faroe Islands and critical new insights into sociolinguistics from the periphery.

    Building on recent epistemological shifts in research on minoritised languages, this volume integrates threads from scholarship on migration studies, new speakers, and critical sociolinguistics in examining blue-collar workplaces in the Faroe Islands. In bringing greater attention to these contexts, Holm showcases how these sites, when analysed via an ethnographic lens, reflect both the changing sociolinguistic landscape at the periphery in light of globalisation and adult language learners’ commitment to language learning as a form of personal and social investment. In shedding light on the specific case of Faroese, the volume critically reflects on the specific challenges involved in acquiring a small language in a bilingual context and on those impacting the sustainability of minoritised languages, including the increasing use of English, and the opportunities for stakeholders in language policy and planning to promote greater social inclusion for adult migrants.

    This volume will be of particular interest to students and scholars in critical sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, language education, migration studies, and applied linguistics.

    1  Introduction

    A study with new speakers of Faroese
    Objectives and research questions
    The significance of the study and its contribution to research
    My own trajectory and my own perspectives as a researcher
    Overview of the volume

    2  New times in the Faroe Islands: The social and historical context

    The socio-historical context for the study
    A historical portrayal of the sociolinguistic context
    ‘Normalization’ efforts: Language policy and planning
    New times and a changing sociolinguistic landscape
    Mobility and migration: Part of the culture
    Contemporary trends in in-migration in a changing sociolinguistic landscape
    Migrants, public discourses and integration policy and initiatives
    Characteristics of the labour market

    Multilingualism in the periphery
    Faroese as an Additional Language: Challenges and opportunities
    Availability of courses in Faroese language and culture


    3  The conceptual framing of my research in the Faroes

    Conceptual shifts within sociolinguistics in the wake of globalisation
    A shift towards globalisation and contemporary mobilities
    A shift towards speaker trajectories
    A shift towards superdiversity, in rural areas as well as urban areas
    A shift towards the notion of new speaker (as opposed to non-native speaker)
    Recent research on language and transnational migration and the view from the periphery
    Language, migration and contemporary workplaces
    Language, border crossing and residence rights
    The view from the periphery
    Research into adult language learning in the context of migration
    The limitations of the traditional research approach to second language acquisition
    A critical framework focusing on situated investment in language learning
    An extended model of investment in language learning

    Adapting the extended model of investment in language learning to my research in the Faroes

    4  Research methodology

    Critical sociolinguistic ethnography
    Fieldwork, methods and data collection
    Visits to the field: Moving from observer to co-worker
    The first phase: scoping the field

    The second fieldwork visit: Identifying research sites
    A brief third visit
    The fourth and fifth fieldwork visits: Moving from observer to worker
    The sixth fieldwork visit
    Other visits and data gathering opportunities
    Recruiting research participants
    The research participants
    The focal participants
    Research sites: blue-collar workplaces
    A multilingual cleaning company
    The two fish-processing plants
    The semi-structured interviews with the participants
    Interviews with employers in blue-collar workplaces
    My researcher diary, observations and the ethnographic protocols
    Other ethnographic data: Documents and photographs

    Ethics, reflexivity and researcher positioning
    Ethical considerations
    Researcher positioning
    My approach to data analysis

    5  Linguistic resources and language learning trajectories

    Linguistic resources and funds of knowledge from the country of origin

    New linguistic resources developed in the Faroes
    Alex - a case of non-investment in new linguistic resources
    David’s disposition and reasons for not investing in Faroese
    Anna’s continuous investment in learning Faroese
    Joanna’s investment in Faroese and reflections on deskilling
    Natalia, a proficient new speaker of Faroese

    Language learning as situated practice

    6  Linguistic resources and identities at work

    Fish-processing plants as workplaces in the Faroes
    Workplace observations during the first phase of fieldwork
    More detailed observations in one factory during the second phase of fieldwork
    Five focal participants: Language resources, funds of knowledge and identities
    Identity disruption in the context of migration

    7  Language ideologies

    Ideologies and ideological currents in contemporary public discourses
    Media discourse in the Faroes about adult migrants’ language learning and about ‘integration’
    The participants’ perceptions of the value of Faroese and the ideological conditions for language learning
    Participants’ perceptions of the value of Faroese
    Media representations of adult learners, their lived experiences of language learning and their positioning as new speakers of Faroese
    The value and significance of Danish in Faroese society: Differing viewpoints among the particpants
    Lea’s language learning dilemma: Pride and affiliation or profit?
    The shaping of views through lived experience: Participants’ encounters with Danish
    A dual language learning barrier to labour market advancement: Helena’s views and experiences

    Public discourses regarding other languages
    Ideologies regarding bilingualism and multilingualism
    English as the new lingua franca: A neutral vehicle of communication? A highly valued asset?

    8  Conclusion

    Revisiting the research questions and summary of findings
    Research question 1
    Research questions 2 and 3
    Research question 4
    Directions for future research
    Faroese as an Additional Language (FAL)
    Understanding investment in language learning: a diary study with a small group of focal participants
    Multilingualism as added value
    Language, inclusion and labour markets

    The policy implications of the research






    Anna-Elisabeth Holm works at the University of the Faroe Islands. Her doctoral research was completed at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. Her main research interests include sociolinguistic ethnography, language education for adult migrants, multilingualism in peripheral regions, and language policy and practice. Recent publications include: Holm et al. (2020). “Employers could use us, but they don’t”: voices from blue-collar workplaces in a northern periphery. Language Policy, Vol. 19, Issue 3, pp. 389-416; Hoffmann & Holm (2022). Learning Insular Nordic Languages: Comparative Perspectives on Migrants’ Experiences Learning Faroese and Icelandic. Nordic Journal of Migration Research, Vol. 12, Issue 3.