Multilingual Practices and the Transmission of the Mother Tongue in Families of Moroccan Origin in Germany and France – a Biographical Evaluation of Language Learning Policies

Friday, 20 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Youssef ABID, Goethe University, Germany
Elise PAPE, University of Strasbourg, France
Christoph SCHWARZ, Philipps-University Marburg, Germany
Marion UHLE, University of Strasbourg, France
This presentation is part of the collective research project “Migreval” conducted at the Universities of Strasbourg and Frankfurt am Main on the “Biographical evaluation of social policies towards migrants in France and Germany”. The method of evaluation of public policies (Apitzsch et al. 2008) departs from the biographical experiences of persons who have benefited from institutional support; it allows to analyze the way policies concerning languages implemented in different fields such as the health, the educational or the employment sectors intertwine in the daily life of migrants and how the latter develop strategies to react and to contribute to shaping these policies. Thereby, not only the learning of the language of the country of arrival, but also policies favoring the transmission of the mother tongue as well as multilingualism are taken into account.

Departing from a case study of a family of Moroccan origin in Germany, this presentation will depict the different experiences the family members have made concerning language learning from the 1960’s until today. It will address the following questions: How did Morocco’s colonial past shape the family’s experience of multilingualism even before their migration? Which strategies did the family develop in order to learn and pass on both the German and their mother tongue to their children and grandchildren? Are these strategies themselves an object of intergenerational transmission, i.e. are they repeated by the younger generation? What relevance did their mother tongue have during different stages in their individual life courses in Germany: In preschool, the education system or the employment sectors? We will discuss these questions from a gender-centered as well a transnational perspective. Furthermore, this presentation will base on interviews collected in France among families of Moroccan origin, thereby opening a French-German comparative perspective regarding the place of multilingualism in different European countries.