Multilingualism and identity in new shared spaces :a study of Cameroon migrant in a primary school in Cape Town
Jih, Tatah Gwendoline
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This thesis aims to explore the ways in which space patterns regimes of language use and language attitudes among Cameroonian immigrant children in a primary school in Cape Town. The presence of migrants in any classroom represents a significant challenge from the theoretical as well as practical point of view, given that schools are responsible for both socialization and learning (Gajo & Mondada 1996). Most African countries are going through large-scale migration from rural to urban areas as well as increasing transnational migration due to recent socio-economic and socio-political trends. These flows affect the sociolinguistic economy of the places concerned, not only the individuals within them. Thus immigrants' movement into an urban area not only affects their repertoires, as they find themselves confronted with the task of acquiring the communicative resources of the autochthonous population, but also those of the autochthonous population who find themselves confronted with linguistic communicative processes and resources ‘alien’ to their environment. Similar effects are felt by local educational and other institutions, now faced with learners with widely varying degrees of competence in the required communicative skills. The participants in this study are a group of young migrants from Cameroon where English and French are the two official languages. These learners already have some languages in their repertoire, which may include their mother tongue or either of the two official languages. My focus will be on the multilingual resources of these learners and how they make use of these in the daily life of their new spaces, the school, the homes and community spaces, to construct new social identities.