Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 16

Accepted Abstracts

Translanguaging Practices and National Identity in Multilingual Contexts

Céline Raffo-Wychowaniec, Université de Lorraine (France)


An estimated 65% of the world’s population is bilingual or multilingual, yet the myth that multilingualism is damaging society and individuals remains solidly alive. Luxembourg is a small country of nearly 1.000 square miles where roughly 170 nationalities come into contact: 625.000 residents, among whom 296.500 are non-nationals (48%), 200.000 French, Belgian and German daily cross-border workers. If a language portrait silhouette (LPS) of Luxembourg would be possible, chances are high that its linguistic repertoire would manifest tremendously colored and would not be restricted to the three official languages Luxembourgish, French and German. While English spreads in Europe, the Grand Duchy still stands as a European exception, with French remaining the primary lingua franca. Another unusual fact relies in the late recognition in 1984 of Luxembourgish, formerly considered a spoken idiom, as the national language. As one of the smallest in the world, the country tackles a complex linguistic situation combined with a few globalization challenges. The linguistic jigsaw of the ecology shaped by growing transnational movements since the 1970s has turned code-switching, translanguaging and negotiation of meaning into a daily Luxembourgish routine. This bourgeoning linguistic reality led the Luxembourgish Government to make multilingual significant decisions in early childhood education to adapt to its super-diversity.  New laws calling for multilingual education facilities in early education were voted in September 2017. We will conduct a review of French, English and German literature to assess the efficiency of multilingualism as an opportunity to enhance individual’s cognition as much as literacy in different repertoire. The main goal of this study challenges the traditional monolingual model by addressing the benefits of flexible language practices. The second objective addresses the topic of linguistic rights in time of a pandemic as a journey towards sustainable social integration and equality. The expected outcome within the Luxembourgish paradigm is that diffusion of code-switching phenomenon beyond schooling or language education has a positive impact on the expansion of the national language among non-nationals. Finally, the original Luxemburgish model permits to prove that collaborative flexible language practices are neither distorting national identities nor damaging national languages.

Keywords: language ideologies, identity, code-switching, super-diversity, social justice.


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  • Vertovec, S. (Nov. 2007). Super-diversity and its implications. Ethnic & racial Studies, 30(6), 1024-1054. 

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