Almost all language practices are multilingual in their nature since they include different languages, language varieties, genres, styles, so-called dialects, etc. In a highly globalised era characterised by emigration and the movement of people with different linguistic backgrounds, questions related to multilingualism are crucial for single individuals, immigrants who seek new homes and asylum in Europe, as well as for these hosting countries.
A relevant example is the wave of Ukrainian immigration in Europe and, in particular, Estonia. Despite sharing a common background, Ukrainians are characterised by extremely variegated language repertoires and linguistic skills that they accommodate in the hosting countries. When coming to Estonia, Ukrainians might use English (if they have enough proficiency in the language) but they can also communicate in Russian as both Estonians and Ukrainians have considerable L2 experience from the Soviet time. However, roughly 30% of the population constitutes a Russian-speaking minority in Estonia, and the young generation of Estonians mostly have only passive knowledge of Russian. In this case, it is also possible to employ Ukrainian while communicating with Estonians and reach an understanding via passive knowledge of Russian (e.g., mediated receptive multilingualism). Interlocutors can negotiate the meaning, combine code-switching with other language modes, etc., to make communication happen.
This course is particularly focused on the complexity of multilingualism in Estonia and the European context (based on a few examples). In particular, we aim to pay attention to how individuals use resources for their language repertoire to accommodate communication in the current context of emigration.
Alessandra Dezi and Anna Branets, Ph.D. Students
Students completing the course will:
– Understand the complexity of the concept of multilingualism and multilingual practices
– Have an overview of multilingualism in Estonia in the current global situation
– Develop critical alanytical skills to approach questions related to multilingualism
– Understand methods applied for the analysis of different material
– Develop own experimental design or research framework
The course presumes active participation and contribution from students with their own reflecting and research tasks. The target group is BA, MA students, and life-long learners who are interested in multilingual studies and aim to expand their theoretical and practical knowledge or who are interested in the Estonian multilingual context.
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