“Speaking like a Native”? Biographical Perspective on Language Performance of Migrant Students between Othering, Mimicry and Desire for Passing

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Minna-Kristiina RUOKONEN-ENGLER, Institute for Social Research at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
By drawing on my research on educational biographies of migrant students enrolled in higher education in Germany, I discuss in my paper how the notion of “speaking like a native” is imbued with different societal, normative, hegemonic expectations that are encountered by migrant students not only with cognitive response of language performance, but with emotional ambivalences and negotiations of belonging. I focus on the clarification of these societal expectations and individual emotional responses by analyzing biographical, narrative interview sequences that indicate how the process of language performance consists of experiences of othering as well as of a desire of belonging to the hegemonic speaking culture. I use here the analytical concepts of mimicry and passing as concepts that help explaining the desire for a transformed language subjectivity as a contested performance in multilingual migration contexts.