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Migrant ethnic identities, mobile language resources: Identification practices of Sri Lankan Tamil youth

Migrant ethnic identities, mobile language resources: Identification practices of Sri Lankan... Abstract In the context of multilingualism and migration, the place of ethnic identities has come into question. Applied linguists have to contend with the possibility that ethnic identities have to be redefined in the light of changing orientations in the field. The critique of essentialism, the dismantling of the ”one language = one community” equation, and the fluidity of translanguaging have raised the question whether ethnic identities can be treated as real anymore. In the face of these changes, one group of activist scholars invokes values of ecological preservation and language rights to insist on traditional ethnic identities. Another treats ethnic identities as transient and playful under labels such as ludic ethnicities and metroethnicities . Interpreting the identification practices of Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora youth in UK, USA, and Canada, this article argues for a middle position of strategic constructivism . That is, though the Tamil youth are multilingual, and do not claim full proficiency in Tamil language, they use their mix of codes to construct Tamil ethnicity in situated uses of their repertoire. The article argues that ethnicity should be treated as a changing construct, with different codes employed to index identity in changing times and places. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Applied Linguistics Review de Gruyter

Migrant ethnic identities, mobile language resources: Identification practices of Sri Lankan Tamil youth

Applied Linguistics Review , Volume 3 (2) – Oct 10, 2012

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 by the
ISSN
1868-6303
eISSN
1868-6311
DOI
10.1515/applirev-2012-0012
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract In the context of multilingualism and migration, the place of ethnic identities has come into question. Applied linguists have to contend with the possibility that ethnic identities have to be redefined in the light of changing orientations in the field. The critique of essentialism, the dismantling of the ”one language = one community” equation, and the fluidity of translanguaging have raised the question whether ethnic identities can be treated as real anymore. In the face of these changes, one group of activist scholars invokes values of ecological preservation and language rights to insist on traditional ethnic identities. Another treats ethnic identities as transient and playful under labels such as ludic ethnicities and metroethnicities . Interpreting the identification practices of Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora youth in UK, USA, and Canada, this article argues for a middle position of strategic constructivism . That is, though the Tamil youth are multilingual, and do not claim full proficiency in Tamil language, they use their mix of codes to construct Tamil ethnicity in situated uses of their repertoire. The article argues that ethnicity should be treated as a changing construct, with different codes employed to index identity in changing times and places.

Journal

Applied Linguistics Reviewde Gruyter

Published: Oct 10, 2012

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