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Jones, Susan Mary (2009)
Languages: English
Types: Unknown
This thesis considers the role of language and literacy in supporting the exploration of bilingual identities. Two groups of bilingual girls participated in the study when they were aged between 11 and 13. One group are British-Asian girls, located within an English inner-city; the other group live in North West Wales. Like many bilinguals, the girls in this study experience the daily interaction of different – and sometimes dissonant – realities. These are represented both by their languages and by the varying cultural practices and values of their communities, many of which can be seen reflected in different literacy practices. Early in the study, quantitative analysis of the reading practices of the research participants and their peers in both communities suggested significant differences in the amount and nature of the engagement with text that occurred in English and in minority languages. A series of interviews with the two groups of girls over the next two years allowed further insight into a range of complex factors that affected their engagement with their languages and literacies. The study offers a consideration of these interconnected factors. It is argued that the interaction between languages and literacies experienced by these young bilinguals supports their ongoing negotiation of identities. The girls are shown to actively utilise the repertoire of cultural resources they experience as part of this process, using their languages and literacies as a space where they explore and demonstrate their bilingual identities.
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