Parental discourses of language ideology and linguistic identity in multilingual Finland

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Åsa Palviainen, Mari Bergroth
Publisher: Routledge
Publication year: 2018
Journal: International Journal of Multilingualism
Volume number: 15
Issue number: 3
Start page: 262
End page: 275
eISSN: 1747-7530


Finland is officially a bilingual country but it is in practice multilingual. In the
current study, we examined how mothers and fathers of mixed-language families
linguistically identified themselves and others, and how ideological discourses
and concepts historically and socially situated in Finland circulated through the
parents’ talk. The parents of three families in which at least Finnish, Swedish and
English were used on a daily basis were interviewed. A discourse nexus approach
showed that the concept of ‘mother tongue(s)’ played a central role and that
although all family members were in practice multilingual, there was a strong
tendency across the couples to identify themselves and others as monolingual.
Bilingualism was identified with Finnish-Swedish rather than other languages
and a native discourse expressed bilingual identity as granted by birth rather than
acquired later. The discourses could be traced back to official language
registration procedures, the educational system in Finland, as well as to parents’
own lived experiences. The study illustrates the intricate relationships between
language ideologies and how linguistic identities are created and performed
among parents, and it pinpoints the need for further studies on how linguistic
identities are passed on to and experienced by children along their life


Language Ideology, Linguistic Identity, Mixed-language Families, Nexus Analysis


Last updated on 2020-11-07 at 06:50