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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton April 26, 2017

Language policies in play: Learning ecologies in multilingual preschool interactions among peers and teachers

Asta Cekaite and Ann-Carita Evaldsson
From the journal Multilingua

Abstract

In this study we argue that a focus on language learning ecologies, that is, situations for participation in various communicative practices, can shed light on the intricate processes through which minority children develop or are constrained from acquiring cultural and linguistic competencies (here, of a majority language). The analysis draws on a language socialization approach to examine the micro-level contexts of an immigrant child’s preschool interactions with peers and teachers, and the interplay between these and macro-level language and educational policies. It was found that, in contrast to institutional and curricular policy aspirations concerning the positive potentials of children’s play as a site associated with core learning affordances, the language learning ecology created in the multilingual peer group interactions was limited. Social relations in the peer group, the novice’s marginal social position, and the child’s rudimentary knowledge of the lingua franca, Swedish, precluded her from gaining access to shared peer play activities. The current study thus corroborates prior research showing that peer interactions in second language settings may pose a challenge to children who have not already achieved some competence in the majority language and that more support and interactions with the teachers can be useful.

Acknowledgement

Financial support from Swedish Research Council, grant no. 721-2011-5842, project ‘Language policies in multilingual preschools and families’, is gratefully acknowledged.

Transcription Key

:

prolonged syllable

[ ]

demarcates overlapping utterances

(.)

micropause, i.e. shorter than (0.5)

(2)

numbers in single parentheses represent pauses in seconds

AMP

relatively high amplitude

x

inaudible word

(tack)

unsure transcription:

° °

denotes speech in low volume

(( ))

further comments of the transcriber

?

denotes rising terminal intonation

.

indicates falling terminal intonation

=

denotes latching between utterances

Fare

sounds marked by emphatic stress are underlined

haha

indicates laughter

kommer

indicates talk in Swedish

muzi

children’s linguistic innovations

come

translation to English

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Published Online: 2017-4-26
Published in Print: 2017-7-26

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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