Language and Identity in a Multilingual, Migrating World
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Language and Identity in a Multilingual, Migrating World

About the Book

Issues of language and identity can make or break any kind of development project—in large part because they determine the degree of access to new information, ideas and behavior, but also because they influence a community’s willingness and desire to make any kind of change in the first place. Failure to take these concepts into account can result in irrelevant projects, unused products, programs without impact, and lost opportunities. But the relationship between language and identity is complex and varied—and even more so in a highly multilingual, massively migrating world.

These are the issues that were addressed in the Pike Center symposium on the theme of Language and Identity in a Multilingual, Migrating World. The symposium was held 10–15 May 2018 in Penang, Malaysia. This volume contains the full text of the papers that were presented at the symposium.

About the Editors

J. Stephen Quakenbush
J. Stephen Quakenbush

J. Stephen Quakenbush is Director of Strategic Initiatives (Language Services) with SIL International. He has served as Director of SIL Philippines, Academic Services Director for SIL Asia, and also International Academic Services Director. He has published on language development, language vitality and endangered languages. Otherwise, his publications have centered on the linguistics and sociolinguistics of Agutaynen, an Austronesian language of Palawan, Philippines, where he engaged in translation and language development work over a twenty-year period. He holds a PhD in Sociolinguistics from Georgetown University, and is a Fellow of the Pike Center for Integrative Scholarship.

Gary F. Simons
Gary F. Simons

Gary F. Simons is the Chief Research Officer for SIL International (Dallas, TX) and Executive Editor of the Ethnologue ( He is also Adjunct Professor of Applied Linguistics at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (Dallas, TX). Early in his career he was involved in language development activities in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.  More recently he has contributed to the development of cyberinfrastructure for linguistics as co-founder of the Open Language Archives Community ( and co-developer of the ISO 639-3 standard of three-letter identifiers for all known languages of the world ( He holds a PhD in general linguistics (with minor emphases in computer science and classics) from Cornell University. He is an author or editor of over 100 publications (

Table of Contents

    • Contributors
    • 1. Introduction
      • 1.1 Part One: Understanding Multiples
      • 1.2 Part Two: Varying Contexts
      • 1.3 Part Three: Heart Matters
      • 1.4 Part Four: Descriptive Studies
      • 1.5 Afterword
      • 1.6 References
  • Part One: Understanding Multiples
    • 2. Identity Choices of Minoritized Communities: Testing the Identity Construction Factors
      • 2.1 Defining who we are
      • 2.2 The Identity Construction Factors (ICF)
      • 2.3 How the ICF relates to identity choices
      • 2.4 Two case studies
      • 2.5 Applying the ICF to the case studies
      • 2.6 Critiquing the ICF approach
      • 2.7 Practical application of the ICF
      • 2.8 References
    • 3. Remembering Ethnicity: The Role of Language in the Construction of Identity
      • 3.1 Introduction
      • 3.2 The role of language as one among multiple markers of ethnic identity
      • 3.3 Identities and languages in contact
      • 3.4 Sustaining the memory of a heritage identity
      • 3.5 Strategies for preserving the memory of an ethnic identity
      • 3.6 Emerging identities, emerging languages
      • 3.7 Conclusions
      • 3.8 References
    • 4. The Dynamics of Identity: How Migration and Diaspora Impact Identity and Multilingualism
      • 4.1 Introduction
      • 4.2 Superdiversity
      • 4.3 The value of a model and the Perceived Benefit Model
      • 4.4 The importance of identity, affiliation, and solidarity
      • 4.5 Appropriate consideration of identity
      • 4.6 Conclusion
      • 4.7 References
    • 5. Identity and Melting Pots: Negotiating Identity by Resisting or Pursuing Accommodation
      • 5.1 Introduction
      • 5.2 Historical overview of the Frisians
      • 5.3 Frisians and accommodation
      • 5.4 Theoretical foundation
      • 5.5 Connecting practice to ideal
      • 5.6 Frysk and “Language of the Heart”
      • 5.7 Language and identity
      • 5.8 Conclusion
      • 5.9 References
  • Part Two: Varying Contexts
    • 6. New Urban Varieties in Africa and the Identities That Go with Them
      • 6.1 The linguistic context
      • 6.2 A typology of urban African varieties
      • 6.3 Language development and hybrid language practices
      • 6.4 Urban identities
      • 6.5 Conclusion: Urban language varieties and identities that do not self identify
      • 6.6 References
    • 7. Translanguaging, Identity, and Education in Our Multilingual World
      • 7.1 Introduction
      • 7.2 Multilingualism: Two kinds, but a continuum between the two
      • 7.3 Multilingualism from a multilingual perspective
      • 7.4 Multilingualism and mother tongue (MT)
      • 7.5 Translanguaging as effective linguistic performance
      • 7.6 Translanguaging and complex and fluid identity
      • 7.7 Implications of translanguaging in education
      • 7.8 Conclusion
      • 7.9 Appendix: Transcription Conventions
      • 7.10 References
    • 8. Identity and Diaspora: Making Personal Identity Claims through Relational Networks
      • 8.1 Introduction
      • 8.2 Defining identity and diaspora
      • 8.3 Language use by transnationals and translocals
      • 8.4 Territory and transnationals and translocals
      • 8.5 Relational networks and identity claims within diasporas
      • 8.6 Living as transnationals and translocals
      • 8.7 Conclusion
      • 8.8 References
    • 9. Hidden Language, Hidden Identity: Identity Issues of Refugees from Minority Language Groups
      • 9.1 Introduction
      • 9.2 My personal journey
      • 9.3 Definitions of identity, ethnicity, and refugee
      • 9.4 Experiences impacting identity issues of the refugee
      • 9.5 Language and identity
      • 9.6 Rebuilding identity
      • 9.7 Conclusion
      • 9.8 Appendix: Data summary
      • 9.9 Appendix: Interview Questions
      • 9.10 References
    • 10. African Cross-Border Languages: Might or Plight?
      • 10.1 Context and rationale for researching cross-border languages
      • 10.2 Describing the cross-border language situation of Africa
      • 10.3 The vitality of Africa’s vehicular cross-border languages, and their impact on identity and language shift
      • 10.4 The vitality of Africa’s limited cross-border languages, and their impact on language shift and development
      • 10.5 Understanding the implications for development of cross-border languages
      • 10.6 Summary and conclusion
      • 10.7 References
  • Part Three: Heart Matters
    • 11. “Heart Language” as a Technical Term: A Critical Review
      • 11.1 SIL’s historical language ideology
      • 11.2 Searching for the origins of “heart language”
      • 11.3 Fitting terminology to audience
      • 11.4 Perpetuating a monolingual bias
      • 11.5 Hindering academic discourse
      • 11.6 Conclusion
      • 11.7 References
    • 12. L1 and L2 Comprehension and Emotional Impact among Early Proficient Bilinguals
      • 12.1 Introduction
      • 12.2 Comprehension
      • 12.3 Impact
      • 12.4 Conclusion
      • 12.5 References
    • 13. When None of My Heart Languages Is My Mother Tongue
      • 13.1 Introduction
      • 13.2 Comprehension
      • 13.3 Intuitive impact
      • 13.4 Social capital
      • 13.5 Case studies and application
      • 13.6 Conclusion
      • 13.7 References
    • 14. Reflections on “Language of the Heart” or “Acquired Reflex Language”
      • 14.1 Reflections
      • 14.2 Notes relative to theoretical models
      • 14.3 References
  • Part Four: Descriptive Studies
    • 15. Linguistic Identity and Dialect Diversity: A Conundrum with Regard to Magar Kham
      • 15.1 Introduction
      • 15.2 Linguistic diversity among the Magar Kham
      • 15.3 Ethnic identity as a foil of linguistic diversity
      • 15.4 Responses to linguistic diversity
      • 15.5 Magar Kham: A family of languages or dialects
      • 15.6 Magar Kham aspirations
      • 15.7 Lack of fit
      • 15.8 Summary
      • 15.9 References
    • 16. Hiding Your Identity: The Case of Talysh
      • 16.1 Introduction
      • 16.2 The Talysh community
      • 16.3 The Lezgi and Pamiri communities
      • 16.4 Talysh revisited
      • 16.5 Implications
      • 16.6 References
    • 17. Language Choice and Language Attitudes in Identity Formation among the Roma of Sadova
      • 17.1 Aims
      • 17.2 Background
      • 17.3 Research questions
      • 17.4 Theoretical background
      • 17.5 Methodology
      • 17.6 Questionnaire results
      • 17.7 Discussion of interview results in combination with other observations
      • 17.8 Implications for language development work
      • 17.9 References
    • 18. Ethnolinguistic Landscapes of Madagascar: Surviving a Century of Erosive Language Policies
      • 18.1 Imagine the scene
      • 18.2 Language development in Madagascar
      • 18.3 Language ecology
      • 18.4 Sociolinguistics and language policies in Madagascar
      • 18.5 Diglossia
      • 18.6 Views of ethnicity, ethnolinguistic vitality, and Ethnolinguistic Identity Theory
      • 18.7 Applying ethnolinguistic identity theory (ELIT) to the case of language maintenance in Madagascar
      • 18.8 Conclusion
      • 18.9 References
    • 19. Multilingualism, Urbanization, and Identity among the Ejagham Speaking People
      • 19.1 Introductory and theoretical comments
      • 19.2 Profile of the Ejagham community
      • 19.3 Nodes of convergence
      • 19.4 Eastern Ejagham region relative to multilingualism and urbanization
      • 19.5 Western Ejagham region relative to multilingualism and urbanization
      • 19.6 Ejagham and education
      • 19.7 Diaspora relative to multilingualism and urbanization
      • 19.8 Conclusion
      • 19.9 References
    • 20. Ethnologue as a Sourcebook for Mapping Multilingualism: The Case of Sango
      • 20.1 The changing role of Ethnologue in a multilingual world
      • 20.2 Mapping the range of L2 use
      • 20.3 Mapping the degree of L2 use
      • 20.4 Identity and the spread of Sango
      • 20.5 Conclusion
      • 20.6 References
  • Afterword
    • 21. The Research Agenda Going Forward
      • 21.1 References
  • Notes

About the Publisher

This book is published on Leanpub by Pike Center

Pike Center for Integrative Scholarship is an initiative of SIL International that builds capacity for language development through scholarship. SIL works alongside ethnolinguistic communities as they discover how language development addresses the challenging areas of their daily lives—social, cultural, political, economic and spiritual.

One of Pike Center’s strategies for building capacity is to grow the needed bodies of knowledge through its Agile Publishing program. We are using this lean publishing platform to give our affiliated scholars a platform for developing and refining new contributions to growing bodies of knowledge that support the language development movement. Many of our titles are still in a preliminary stage of development. Others are finished but have such a narrow audience that we have not elected to turn them into print books. Still others have reached the maturity of becoming a print book; in such cases, this is indicated by a link on the landing page for the book.

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