CeLM seminar: “Linguistic issues surrounding refugees”

 “Linguistic issues surrounding refugees: a study of migrant Facebook posts”


Guest Speaker: Dr. Mohammed Ateek, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge

Code switching is a widely observed phenomenon, especially seen in multilingual and multicultural communities. Migration plays a large role in forming these communities. it is widely known that code-switching and translanguaging are common communicative practices within migrant communities. Therefore to understand migrant communities, such as the recent waves of refugees coming from countries like Syria and Iraq, we should gain a good understanding of their communicative practices, experiences and identity.

Social media has supported the emergence of global multilingual networks and facilitated unbounded spaces for interaction amongst diasporic groups. Research (e.g. Androutsopoulos 2006) shows how multilingual practices on social media functions to construct and negotiate diasporic experience and identities, and has illustrated how code choice and switching are strategically invoked to mark boundaries between in- and out-groups and to negotiate subject experience and rhetorical positions.

In this paper we will report on a pilot study of Facebook (FB) posts written by 7 Syrian refugees over the initial period (first year) of their settlement within the UK. Our study seeks to explore the dynamic and stable linguistic (and semiotic) practices of individuals as they integrate into life in the UK and to explore the (un)-bounded affordances of social media as a unique platform of communication amongst refugees. The study of language choice and translanguaging on FB provides a window through which to view how the practices of this particular group reflect and create a new set of identities specific to them. As such this material reinforces and complements other sources of data about the linguistic and identity-related issues which such groups face.

Other linguistic issues such as the use of Language Analysis for the Determination of Origin (LADO), the hierarchy of languages and the host country policies for language education are also discussed in the seminar.

Bi/Multilingualism and the History of Language Learning and Teaching

HoLLTnet international meeting:

‘Bi/Multilingualism and the History of Language Learning and Teaching’

University of Reading, United Kingdom, 6-7 July 2018

HoLLTnet (www.hollt.net) is a Research Network of AILA (L’Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée). The Research Network was founded in 2015 to stimulate research
into the history of language learning and teaching within applied linguistics internationally.
Building on several successful previous colloquia (www.hollt.net/events.html), this
international conference aims to situate the history of language learning and teaching in the
wider context of multilingualism across time and space. Possible topics for contributions
include, but are not limited to:

  • Bi/Multilingual dictionaries, grammars and other language-learning materials
  • Language learning and teaching in multilingual communities
  • Scholars of classical languages as learners of modern languages, and vice versa
  • Language learning and teaching in colonial contexts
  • The role of L1 in foreign language teaching
  • Polyglottism in the history of language learning
  • The role of translation and bilingual texts in language learning
  • Non-native speaker teachers in the history of language learning

All papers should be based on historical research.

If you would like to be considered for participation in the colloquium, please send your
presentation title, your name, email address, institutional affiliation, and a 250-word abstract
to r.mairs@reading.ac.uk by 23 February 2018. Those sending proposals will be notified of
the outcome as soon as possible after that date.

Further information on conference registration for those not presenting papers will be
circulated in due course.

The event has been made possible by the generous support of the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism and Department of Classics at the University of Reading. The university campus has quick and convenient transport links to London and Heathrow and Gatwick Airports. More information on getting to campus. 

Dr Rachel Mairs, Associate Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies, University of

Dr Richard Smith, University of Warwick, and Professor Giovanni Iamartino, University of
Milan, Joint convenors, AILA Research Network on History of Language Learning and

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CeLM Week Public Lecture

Professor Rhona Stainthorp will be giving a public lecture about multilingual literacy development. The event, hosted by the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM), aims to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities multilingual children face when they learn how to read and write in more than one language.

Successful reading and writing involves coordinating word reading and spelling processes with language comprehension processes including vocabulary knowledge. Multilingual literacy involves coordinating these processes in at least two languages and two writing systems. We need to understand how the writing systems work to appreciate the challenges and opportunities faced by young literacy learners.

The public lecture will be followed by a roundtable discussion with Q&A with Professor Rhona StainthorpProfessor Ludovica Serratrice, Dr Naomi Flynn, and education practitioners. Before the public lecture, guests can attend our art exhibition titled ‘Point of Entry’ by Duncan Swann.

Admission is free, but booking is required.