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Living with diversity and change: Intergenerational differences in language and identity in the Somali community in Britain

Abdullahi, SB; Wei, L; (2021) Living with diversity and change: Intergenerational differences in language and identity in the Somali community in Britain. International Journal of the Sociology of Language , 2021 (269) pp. 15-45. 10.1515/ijsl-2020-0007. Green open access

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Abstract

The Somali community in Britain has been portrayed as largely homogenous and rather problematic, unwilling to integrate into mainstream British society, a perception that is reinforced by the media and government policies. The government policies tend to ignore the internal diversity and change that the community is experiencing. Drawing on data from a family language policy project, this paper aims to explore intergenerational changes in language preference and use and associated issues of identity within the Somali community in Britain. We look at how the changes in language preference and practice manifest themselves through reported language use and language policies at home, how the changes are affecting the British Somali youths in particular, and how ideas of Somaliness and Britishness are negotiated on an individual level, as well as on a community-wide level through Somali-led organisations. And we highlight the work that the community is doing to tackle issues of intergenerational language shift and Somali identity building. The study aims to contribute to a better understanding of the struggles of the Somali community in Britain in dealing with diversity and change, an understanding that is crucial to the development of appropriate policies regarding the community.

Type: Article
Title: Living with diversity and change: Intergenerational differences in language and identity in the Somali community in Britain
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1515/ijsl-2020-0007
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2020-0007
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: intergenerational changes; internal diversity; language and identity; Somalis in Britain
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10129308
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