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Wed, 20 Apr 2011 13:02:38 EDT by admin, 137008 views
University College London School of Slavonic and East European Studies
Education paper by Tarsoly, Eszter (all papers)
Language Without Borders – Heritage Languages and Language Education in Cultural Identity Formation: The Case of Hungarian
My paper contrasts the processes of learning and acquiring, as well as the motives of transmission, of Hungarian, in two contexts: Hungarian, as a heritage language in the United Kingdom v. Hungarian as a minority language in Romania. Evidence is based on my experience as a teacher working with heritage speakers of Hungarian from a variety of backgrounds at UCL, and on fieldwork in various minority communities Eastern Europe.
Languages, and even small contrasts between dialects, are powerful markers of one’s cultural affiliation, identity, and status. Heritage and minority Hungarian speakers acquire Hungarian outside of Hungary, thus, they form a social and cultural identity inclusive of Hungarian in a different way from speakers of Hungarian in Hungary. It is instructive to explore the differences between the two groups in terms of perceived linguistic vitality, other H speakers’ expectations towards them, processes of Othering, and how these factors are influenced by, or impinge on, their actual use of Hungarian. This contributes to a better understanding of how languages are interwoven with the thought, custom, and culture of their speakers.
The model ‘one language – one nation’, which underlies ‘foreign’ language learning, and which has been recently reiterated in the new Constitution of Hungary, is dismissive towards heritage and minority speakers’ language competence, and towards contact varieties of a language. I discuss how purist tendencies in the case of a language which is imagined as monocentric jeopardise the sustainability of multilingualism and multiculturalism involving the language, in this case Hungarian, in question.
Brief Professional Bio:
Eszter Tarsoly (BA/MA in Hungarian Literature, Linguistics, and Language Pedagogy, 2004, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest; MA in Central and South-East European Studies, 2005; MPhil/PhD, 2006 to present; both at University College London School of Slavonic and East European Studies; hereafter: UCL/SSEES) is a Senior Teaching Fellow in Hungarian at UCL/SSEES. She started her employment as a Teaching Fellow in 2007, while also working on her doctoral thesis on linguistic purism and attitudes towards language. Research interests: bilingualism, language contact, minority and endangered languages, language typology, ideas on language correctness, and language teaching methodology, in particular teaching reading and translation.