08.03.2010

Workshop: Clara Keating & Olga Solovova

WORKSHOP ABSTRACT

 

Clara Keating and Olga Solovova, Centro de Estudos Sociais

Regimes of Portuguese in different multilingual contexts in Europe

 

This workshop will lead participants to engage in a comparative research approach to multilingual contexts. Underlying this comparison is the broad aim of building an understanding of how different regimes of language come to be embedded in particular historical contexts. The focus of this comparison will be Portuguese. The data utilised compares discourses about the teaching and learning of Portuguese in two different multilingual contexts in Europe: European Portuguese speakers in London, UK, and Russian/Ukrainian speakers in Portugal. It draws on broader sociolinguistic and ethnographic research conducted among Portuguese migrants in the UK in the 1990’s by Clara Keating and on research with a similar approach among Eastern European migrants in Portugal in the early 2000’s, by Olga Solovova. Both research projects included interviews with parents, with organisers of mother tongue classes and with educational officers, analyses of official policies and documents related to the provision of Portuguese in the UK and Russian/Ukrainian in Portugal, as well as ethnographic observations, not only in mother tongue classes but also in other contexts, such as households and community associations.

By adopting and engaging in research perspectives that align with the values, the opinions and the trajectories of speakers of the minority language in a dominant context – the Russian/Ukrainian-based perspective in a Portuguese dominant Portugal, and the Portuguese-based perspective in English dominant UK – participants will be asked to analyse, from one or the other perspective, textual artefacts, chosen events, and excerpts of interviews with migrants that relate to the teaching and learning of Portuguese. This will be followed by a plenary discussion on the findings of the two groups and on the possible insights on the different regimes of Portuguese in both contexts. The workshop concludes with a discussion on the research methodological issues that arise from collaborative and comparative research of this kind.