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'Miss, who needs the languages of immigrants?' : a study in attitudes and values attached to bilingualism in England and Wales

Mehmedbegovic, Dina; (2008) 'Miss, who needs the languages of immigrants?' : a study in attitudes and values attached to bilingualism in England and Wales. Doctoral thesis (EdD), Institute of Education, University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

A question put to me in a London school by a Kurdish and Arabic speaking student, a recent arrival from Iraq, encapsulates the research questions ofthis thesis. Working and engaging with bilingual young people, who are unable to see the value of languages other than English in a global city such as London, has been the driving force ofthis research. As part of a cycle of several studies on attitudes to bilingualism of different sections of society in England and Wales, it contributes to a wider search for factors that create perceptions like the one chosen as the title quote. This study seeks to gain an insight into attitudes that politicians, policy makers and key professionals have in relation to bilingualism, as evidenced in the data collected. As a smallscale qualitative study it focuses on the context ofEngland and Wales. The main body of data is collected in interviews, while a search ofthe Hansard Parliamentary debate records provides the additional data. The dichotomy between the discourses of our culture and our economy exposes the complexity of issues around the definition ofBritishness, contemporary British multicultural society and economic globalisation. 'Our culture' has a very exclusive definition in the community of politicians: only languages indigenous to the British Isles matter to the British culture. It differs greatly from the discourse of'our economy' . The potential economic value that minority languages have is emphasised by all interviewees, with a common agreement that this area has not yet been explored well, especially by the Government. The argument developed throughout this study exposes multiple types of educational inequality and social injustice embedded in this dichotomy.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: EdD
Title: 'Miss, who needs the languages of immigrants?' : a study in attitudes and values attached to bilingualism in England and Wales
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
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/1559050
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