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In my research of the language of multilingual communities, I met an informant, a
lecturer from the University of London with an Arabic complexity. I realized that his fluency
in English (L2) language was superb. I developed an interest in knowing how he learned this
language if there are other dialects he is familiar with and what he faced on his linguistic
journey as he navigated up to the current level.
The informant informed me that his mother’s country is Qatar and that he lived in Birmingham because his family relocated to the city when he was ten years old.
He also informed me that his father worked with UK’s secret service in Qatar and that is how he met his mother. When he and his family relocated to Birmingham, he was taken to school within the city. He the studied until he became a lecturer.
Throughout his life, he met very many challenges, but he was able to overcome them.
To satisfy my quest, I was able to interview him and record the information I gathered on the interview script above. With the diversification of the world communities, people have been able to speak
and learn different languages as stated by (Alfonso, 2004). According to Wilson, (2009),
many individuals are now speaking more than one language which favors communication
between people from different ethnic backgrounds.
As such, people have been able to understand and practice different cultures. This essay will analyze the linguistic journey of an informant, the activities within his community and how he managed to deal with: Segregation in the schools he attended.
Segregation in schools involves the separation of students from the others in schools or classes. For example, students from different
genders can be kept in different classes.
Other times, they are made to sit in different places and at times made to study in different schools. In extreme cases, a few students may be made to get the best out of their schools or teachers due to their place or their parent’s place in the society. This tends to affect different students in different ways. For example, a few students may not be comfortable when they are studying in a school with only one gender. Others may also be comfortable when they are interacting with their counterparts of a different gender.
Segregation in the community may also be a part of the factors that affected the lives of the
informant. According to Shuval (2000), community isolation involves creating a
demarcation between the original members of an exclusive society and a few other members
in which the informant was part of. For example, the government of an individual county
may be involved in the provision of relief food to its citizens during drought.
At such a time, it may choose to provide the food to the natives leaving the rest of the community to suffer. The same government may also make laws that undermine the rights of the immigrants in the same country. At such a time, the non-natives are said to be segregated which brings about
the rivalry between the natives and the others who have to struggle to live. On the other hand,
multiculturalism/super-diversity involves the migration of several groups of individuals from
different ethnic backgrounds into specific areas which result in a variety of philosophies,
beliefs, dialects, and individuality and immigration positions.
This leads to introduction of different cultures creating a society with diverse cultures and languages Consequently, Transnationalism and Integration ideologies also contribute
significantly to Code-switching/code mixing/language crossing as stated by (Auer, 2013).
Code switching is where the informant uses one language at a certain instance and then
switches to an entirely different language from the first one while conversing to foster
For example, the informant who is familiar with the languages L1, L2, L3, and L4 may use the language L1 while conversing with a friend from his mother’s country and then switch to L2 if both of them are familiar with the dialect. Code mixing is where the informant uses a few words that are not from the language he is speaking in a conversation. In an instance where the informant is conversing with a friend familiar with the languages L3 or L4, he may decide to have a conversation where he is using a few words from L2 and then a few from L3 or L4 or the vice versa.
Code-mixing and code-switching are explained via the phenomenon of language mixing. Language mixing involves the two aspects where the
informant may mix words from different dialects which he is familiar with or at some cases
use a particular language and then switch to another one.
Try to account for the contribution of an immigrant to his host country and the mother country
as stated by (Woolcock and Narayan, 2000). Due to globalization, many people have been
involved with movements to the diaspora in search for jobs and other issues. When this
occurs, these people are sometimes associated with the contribution to the economy of their
country as well as that of their host country. Transnationalism and Integration try to unravel
the role played by these immigrants and their contribution to their mother country and host
country as well. This essay will also explore theories such as Social networking theory, Social
scientific theory, Diaspora Theory and Social capitalism theory. It will also explain the
manner in which these principles contribute to and account for the life of the informant on his
linguistic journey from his original Arabic language (L1) to attaining perfection in the
English language (L2), Hindu (L3) and French (L4).
It is a theory that tries to explain how the differences existing between different
communities living in the same locality can be merged to bring about development, peace,
and unity in the newly formed community as stated by (Fine, 2002). According to Kreuter
and Lezin (2002), such relationships are undermined by the discrimination that exists
between communities that assume superiority over the others which cultivates rivalry
between the involved entities. Moreover, the theory tries to explain how shared vision
between multilingual communities can be grown. Conversely, when communities from
different backgrounds come together, all the factors that affect bilingual communities sprout.
This involves the merging of the differences between these communities and moving towards
a common goal as stated by (Lin, 2002). In his response, the informant said that despite the differences in cultures that exist in his community, all the people are concerned with the
economic development. Instead of fighting, they move ahead to acquire education and speak
L2 as a common language so that everyone can understand and also fight against what they
think is wrong.
When people have a vision of achieving common goals, developments in such a
community are widely rampant. This is explained by the informant in his response where he
stated that the town he lives in is one of the most developed cities in the globe despite being
inhabited by people from different cultures and countries. He understands that it is due to this
relationship that the developments in these cities have been cultivated. He also states that he
has survived very well in a community that values people with a goal in life. He believes that
it is due to his hard work that the people admired him. This merely illustrates how the
communities in this place are oriented towards ensuring that their members achieve their
When the government was about to change laws that would see a rise in tax on the
goods exported by the people who are not original inhabitants of this city to their countries,
he says that he and several others rose to fight against this which was seen as a discrimination
of the minority.
This shows that the community had a target and vision to ensure that there is no time when they will ever allow exploitation of their members. Social capitalism also advocates for acceptance of diversity and values as stated by (Burt, 2001). The informant explains that when they moved to the city, most of the people were scared of them for being Muslims.
They were associated with the extremists who were out to commit crimes. But as time passed, this family was accepted in the community. He also states that there are people from other communities such as Hindu and French seen carrying out their activities together such as lecturing in the campus. The schools that the informant attended were also made up of students from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
This shows that the values and differences that existed between these communities were accepted
and integrated into the community for its greater good. It also indicates that there were
positive relations between these communities as well as equal life opportunities signified by
his job as a lecturer despite being from Qatar. Cultivation of equality of opportunity in the
community is something that the theory so much advocates for as stated by (Chiu, Hsu, and
This is the theory that tries to explain the change of spatial locations by humans on the
realm which has been a global phenomenon since man can remember as stated by (Mishra,
2007). When people move from their area of residence to other parts of the world, the
phenomena can be explained by diaspora theory.
Instances of moving to the diaspora have been articulately explained through history beginning with immigration, expansion of boundaries to imperialism among others, the change of spatial location from one point to another regardless of the motive has been explained using the theory of diaspora. According to Wahlbeck (2002) sometimes, it can be voluntary or involuntary. For example, when the Jews were expelled from Judea, they were involuntarily forced to move to Greece. Also, the African Transatlantic trade is one of these instances.
With globalization, people have been able to relocate to other countries in search of
jobs, for leisure among other. When people move from their areas of residence to other
regions (diaspora), they tend to learn the language of the people they meet and spread their
cultures too as stated by (Axel, 2002). To some extent, they also tend to adapt the culture of
the people they find. The movement to the other areas is associated with very many factors.
The communities that are born from this sort of movement face different challenges that
never exist in the communities where these people come from. The issues that come about
must be handled in the best way possible to ensure that harmony is maintained among the members of this new community. The existence of these issues is due to the different beliefs
that exist among these people because each one of them carries their culture wherever they
When the informant moved from his country with his family to Birmingham, he found
people of a different culture and spoke various languages that he had to learn. His movement
can be explained using the theory of diaspora. The informant stated that the relationship
between his family and the neighbors was somewhat strained due to the difference in culture
and beliefs of the people in the area.
However, the ties later improved after the people learned about the family’s culture and got used to them. Later in life, he also says that he was able to make friends from different origins who spoke different languages which brought about close ties between the affected communities. Through his buddies, he was able to learn the languages L2, L3, and L4 which when added to L1 created an instance that can be explained by the interaction between communities with different languages and cultures.
The informant also states that he was one of the people who fought for changes that
were about to be made on the laws that governed the exportation of products from the UK to
other countries. This can be explained through diaspora theory since it tries to explain the
economic, the social and political aspects that are brought about as a result of the interaction
of many communities.
The theory states that individuals living in an ordinary setting have a kind of link with
each other as indicated by (Blonde et al., 2008). The formed community also has a
connection with the other communities. The theory also explains the link that exists between
It states that this relationship between these entities creates some network. According to Liu et al. (2017), the individual objects are known as nodes that link to the others to form a network. In its explanation, it tries to bring out the idea of how these nodes interact, why they interact and the level of closeness between these nodes.
The existing links between nodes in a network vary from each other regarding
strength as stated by (Liu et al., 2017). The informant states that his friends when he was in
high school were close to him which created strong ties between them. When he and his
family arrived in the town, they never received many visitors and that the neighboring
families were afraid of them which created a strained network.
He also says that Qatar and UK have a good relationship which depicts a secure network between the two. He also had close friends who were also his business partners. This created a strong network between them. The involved parties had strong ties since they all seemed to have some sense of commonality in that they were pursuing similar interests.
The theory tries to explain the how the social-cultural perspectives affect how
different communities living in an ordinary setting study the languages of each other, how
these communities interact and how the sense of identity among members of these
communities is affected as stated by (Moravcsik, 2001).
The theory sees language as a tool through which identity is negotiated as well as a means of achieving the social and psychological ends. Language is considered as a tool through which daily happenings are managed. The informant in his responses explains that he found it beneficial to have learned several languages since he can converse with people from different ethnic background and come about with a concrete plan.
For example, he had friends from various communities yet through the ability to use language to converse; they were able to become business partners. He also states that it is mandatory for everyone in the country to learn L2 because most of the official communications are made in it.
Through this, the people can understand what they are expected to do and how they are projected to do it. Social Scientific theory also tries to expound and analyze the changes in power in an instance where there exist entities using a language they have not yet mastered as stated by
(Norton and Toohey, 2011). In such an instance, a common language must be developed and
learned so that all the parties must understand what each one of them says.
The informant says that it was mandatory for everyone in the UK to study, understand and speak language L2 since it was the official language of communication. This ensured that all the changes in power made in the government were easy to be communicated to a fraternity that had
mastered language L2.
In a nutshell, the theory advocates for the use of a controlled and procedural system in
understanding the relationships existing between different entities as stated by (Buechler,
2000). It also advocates for an understanding of common behaviors developed by people in a
natural social surrounding such that empirical tests would justify similar results.
informant says that their neighbors feared for their safety and the safety of their children
which made them keep a distance from this new family. It is quite often and understandable
that the people’s behavior was brought about by the existence of extremists from a similar
ethnic background like the informant’s family.
In conclusion, the presence of multilingual communities has been widely rampant due
to globalization. Differences that exist between these communities can be merged by
developing a common language as well as a common culture. The relationships that exist
between communities with different ethnic backgrounds and the factors affecting them can be
explained using the social scientific theory, social networking theory, social capital theory
and diaspora theory.
These communities are also affected by different issues that if not
handled can bring about rankles. Such matters include super-diversity and multiculturalism,
code switching and code mixing, transnationalism and integration among others.
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