Language and emotions: a follow-up study of ‘moral allegiances’- the case of Wiktoria
Keywords:Family and Community, Multilingualism, Socialisation, Morality, Emotions
This paper is a follow-up study of one Polish immigrant child’s early experience as she is attending different primary schools in Ireland. The focus is on how heritage language socialisation goals affect her goals and identity negotiation through her daily practices as she grows up in multilingual environment and try to find her place in a new country and society.
We set out the theoretical background, methodology, final results from the longitudinal study (four years) involving such student and her family, as she also attends Polish weekend school in addition to her mainstream school. The theoretical and analytical approach combines Ethnography of Communication approach to data collection and field work (participant home and school observations, audio-recordings of child’s interactions with her peers, her teachers and parents, open-ended interviews, samples of her written work) with Discourse Analysis approaches (Duff, 1995; Davis & Harre 1990, Harre & Langenhove, 1999, Ochs & Capps, 2001). A particular focus is placed on positions and stances taken with respect to sociohistorical and cultural norms and values represented by each language and culture including religious practices. When a new language and culture are being socialized, they must inevitably affect individuals’ moral and emotional systems to a great extent. This is because, some unresolved conflicts of cultural allegiances and ambivalence about identity may shake one’s sense of belonging and even slow the learning process. It can impact on the later command of two languages and integration. On the other hand, “comfortable bicultural identity” and “non-ethnocentric views” of people in general, together with a strong aptitude for language learning, proved to be one of the main factors determining success in becoming skilled in two languages and two cultures (Lambert, 1962, in Paulson & Tucker 2006, pp.315-319). Thus, it is often admitted in the Language Socialisation literature that cultural ideologies not only have a profound effect on those who learn a new language, but also influence the learning and further socialisation of their first language and culture. This micro-analysis of language socialisation is contextualized within a more holistic account of the Polish community in Ireland (Singleton, 2007) - a community culturally shaped by, and in turn shaping, wider societal and cultural ideologies, values and power relations.