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Accepted Paper:

More than a tool - emotional aspects of language in transcultural contexts.  
Dorothea Breier (University of Helsinki)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on interview material with people of German-Finnish background, this presentation reflects on emotionality of language: at what points in life does language become particularly important? What does it mean (not) to be able to choose, especially regarding one's feeling of belonging?

Paper long abstract:

There are many ways of approaching mobility and migration. However, issues related to language seem to play a prominent role in most studies of that field. This does not come as a surprise, considering the impact language has on our lives. Language is crucial for survival: through language, we transfer knowledge, we establish bonds to other people, we express our thoughts and wishes.

In the context of mobility and migration, language may serve as a way to maintain ties to the homeland, both in forms of social networks, of open options, and last, not least of emotional connectedness.

In Dorothea Breier's study on Germans and their descendants in contemporary Helsinki, Finland (2017), language was of central significance. In her presentation, Breier draws on interview material of her research to present different aspects regarding the impact of language on lives of German migrants, and specifically on lives of their descendants. The latter grew up with the influence of both German and Finnish cultural frameworks, though not all of them were raised bilingually. How did and does language influence their self-identification and feeling of belonging? At what points of their lives did language become particularly important, possibly even conflictual, and something to reflect upon consciously? How did they explain those processes and negotiations as part of their life-narratives?

Panel P061
Linguistic agency and responsibility in (im-)mobility
  Session 1 Friday 17 August, 2018, -