IOE EPrints

Multilingual identities in higher education : Negotiating the 'mother tongue', 'posh' and 'slang'

Preece, Siân (2009) Multilingual identities in higher education : Negotiating the 'mother tongue', 'posh' and 'slang'. Language and Education, 24 (1). pp. 21-39. ISSN 0950-0782. DOI UNSPECIFIED

PDF (Preece2010multilingual21.pdf)
Preece2010multilingual21.pdf - Other

Download (157Kb) | Preview


This paper examines linguistic diversity among minority ethnic undergraduate students categorised as from widening participation backgrounds in a new university in London. All the students are British-born and educated and from working-class families. The paper considers how the students negotiate multilingual and bidialectal identities within the context of an academic writing programme regarded as providing English language remediation. Firstly, there is a consideration of how the students position their heritage languages in relation to English. It identifies three key ways in which the students adopt multilingual identity positions in the academic community, showing how these allow the students to display weaker to stronger affiliation to heritage languages in the setting. Secondly, there is an exploration of how the students adopt bidialectal identity positions to contrast the ‘posh’ (standard English) practices of the academic community with the ‘slang’ (vernacular English) language practices of their peers. It considers ways in which the ‘posh/ slang’ binary enables the students to establish social networks and negotiate their positioning as in need of English language remediation. The paper argues for an imagining of English-medium universities as multilingual spaces in which the linguistic diversity of non-traditional minority ethnic students is viewed primarily as asset, rather than problem.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article analyses spoken interaction gathered during a longitudinal project into language and identity with first year students from working-class, minority ethnic backgrounds. It examines how the students position their heritage language in relation to English and how they position academic English in relation to the language used among peers. It is a cutting edge article in that it is among the first to take a holistic view of second generation minority ethnic university students' linguistic repertoires, to critique the view of these students as in need of language 'remediation' and to call for English-medium HEIs to be imagined as multilingual spaces. It has been published by Language and Education, a leading international journal that provides a forum for the discussion of recent topics and issues in the language disciplines which have an immediate bearing upon thought and practice in education. This is an electronic version of an article published in Preece, Siân (2010) Multilingual identities in higher education: negotiating the 'mother tongue', 'posh' and 'slang'. Language and Education, 24 (1). pp. 21-39. Language and Education is available online at:
Controlled Keywords: Higher education institution; Diversity; English as a second language; Multiculturalism; Learning and teaching in further/higher education; Widening participation; Linguistics; Ethnicity; higher education; minority ethnic students; multilingual identities; heritage languages; standard and vernacular English
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Culture, Communication and Media
Depositing User: IOE Repository Editor (2)
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2010 10:23
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 08:36
View Item View Item