Language at the margins: the case of somali in Liverpool

J. Arthur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Drawing on a recent ethnographic research project conducted in an urban neighbourhood of Liverpool, England, this paper focuses on Somali speakers, relating the experience of members of this minority language community to the local linguistic and cultural ecology of the city. The community forms part of a Somali diaspora created largely as a consequence of civil war in Somalia towards the end of the twentieth century. The paper opens with an account of the context of the languages and cultures of Liverpool, going on to explore the communicative roles of languages and literacies — Somali, English and Arabic — in the lives of members of the Somali community. Also reported are insights, gained in interviews, into the symbolic values which these languages and literacies hold for them. These data indicate unresolved tensions felt by the interviewees in relation to issues both of cultural identity and of social and educational aspirations — tensions which are closely linked to widespread concern in the community over what is perceived as inter-generational language shift, from Somali to English. This concern has led to the setting up of Somali literacy teaching for young people in the community, and the study included observation of these classes. The paper considers the contribution of such affirmative action to the maintenance and valorisation of Somali, as the language of community heritage, before concluding with discussion of the implications of the Somali community experience in Liverpool — of both marginalisation and resistance — for the management of multilingualism in this modern city.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-240
JournalLanguage Problems and Language Planning
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Fingerprint

Ecology
Linguistics
Teaching
language
community
Somalia
affirmative action
multilingualism
cultural identity
diaspora
civil war
ecology
experience
twentieth century
research project
literacy
minority
linguistics
interview
management

Cite this

@article{d9b264f910244cf69ad871c7612c8a1c,
title = "Language at the margins: the case of somali in Liverpool",
abstract = "Drawing on a recent ethnographic research project conducted in an urban neighbourhood of Liverpool, England, this paper focuses on Somali speakers, relating the experience of members of this minority language community to the local linguistic and cultural ecology of the city. The community forms part of a Somali diaspora created largely as a consequence of civil war in Somalia towards the end of the twentieth century. The paper opens with an account of the context of the languages and cultures of Liverpool, going on to explore the communicative roles of languages and literacies — Somali, English and Arabic — in the lives of members of the Somali community. Also reported are insights, gained in interviews, into the symbolic values which these languages and literacies hold for them. These data indicate unresolved tensions felt by the interviewees in relation to issues both of cultural identity and of social and educational aspirations — tensions which are closely linked to widespread concern in the community over what is perceived as inter-generational language shift, from Somali to English. This concern has led to the setting up of Somali literacy teaching for young people in the community, and the study included observation of these classes. The paper considers the contribution of such affirmative action to the maintenance and valorisation of Somali, as the language of community heritage, before concluding with discussion of the implications of the Somali community experience in Liverpool — of both marginalisation and resistance — for the management of multilingualism in this modern city.",
author = "J. Arthur",
year = "2004",
doi = "10.1075/lplp.28.3.01art",
language = "English",
volume = "28",
pages = "217--240",
journal = "Language Problems and Language Planning",
issn = "0272-2690",
publisher = "John Benjamins Publishing Company",
number = "3",

}

Language at the margins: the case of somali in Liverpool. / Arthur, J.

In: Language Problems and Language Planning, Vol. 28, No. 3, 2004, p. 217-240.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Language at the margins: the case of somali in Liverpool

AU - Arthur, J.

PY - 2004

Y1 - 2004

N2 - Drawing on a recent ethnographic research project conducted in an urban neighbourhood of Liverpool, England, this paper focuses on Somali speakers, relating the experience of members of this minority language community to the local linguistic and cultural ecology of the city. The community forms part of a Somali diaspora created largely as a consequence of civil war in Somalia towards the end of the twentieth century. The paper opens with an account of the context of the languages and cultures of Liverpool, going on to explore the communicative roles of languages and literacies — Somali, English and Arabic — in the lives of members of the Somali community. Also reported are insights, gained in interviews, into the symbolic values which these languages and literacies hold for them. These data indicate unresolved tensions felt by the interviewees in relation to issues both of cultural identity and of social and educational aspirations — tensions which are closely linked to widespread concern in the community over what is perceived as inter-generational language shift, from Somali to English. This concern has led to the setting up of Somali literacy teaching for young people in the community, and the study included observation of these classes. The paper considers the contribution of such affirmative action to the maintenance and valorisation of Somali, as the language of community heritage, before concluding with discussion of the implications of the Somali community experience in Liverpool — of both marginalisation and resistance — for the management of multilingualism in this modern city.

AB - Drawing on a recent ethnographic research project conducted in an urban neighbourhood of Liverpool, England, this paper focuses on Somali speakers, relating the experience of members of this minority language community to the local linguistic and cultural ecology of the city. The community forms part of a Somali diaspora created largely as a consequence of civil war in Somalia towards the end of the twentieth century. The paper opens with an account of the context of the languages and cultures of Liverpool, going on to explore the communicative roles of languages and literacies — Somali, English and Arabic — in the lives of members of the Somali community. Also reported are insights, gained in interviews, into the symbolic values which these languages and literacies hold for them. These data indicate unresolved tensions felt by the interviewees in relation to issues both of cultural identity and of social and educational aspirations — tensions which are closely linked to widespread concern in the community over what is perceived as inter-generational language shift, from Somali to English. This concern has led to the setting up of Somali literacy teaching for young people in the community, and the study included observation of these classes. The paper considers the contribution of such affirmative action to the maintenance and valorisation of Somali, as the language of community heritage, before concluding with discussion of the implications of the Somali community experience in Liverpool — of both marginalisation and resistance — for the management of multilingualism in this modern city.

U2 - 10.1075/lplp.28.3.01art

DO - 10.1075/lplp.28.3.01art

M3 - Article

VL - 28

SP - 217

EP - 240

JO - Language Problems and Language Planning

JF - Language Problems and Language Planning

SN - 0272-2690

IS - 3

ER -