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There and Back in Two Languages: Intersections of Bilingualism, Identity and Place for Luso-Canadian Transnationals

Our research aims to understand the ways in which Portuguese-Canadians use their bilingualism to connect to a sense of self (identity) and belonging (place), and maintain and retain social ties in both Canada and Portugal. In particular, we are interested in individuals who participate in circular migration between Portugal and the GTA. Our study explores the ways in which these transnational movements impact language use, bilingualism, and connecting to national identity, and attempts to understand the experience of re-integration. In order to empirically understand these processes, fieldwork will be conducted in both the GTA as well as in central Portugal for 8-10 months. It is important to travel between Portugal and Canada as our goal is to observe and participate in bilingual language use in both places, and mimic the transnational mobility of these individuals in order to gain an in-depth analysis. Our primary research methods are semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and Critical Discourse Analysis. Our research project is interdisciplinary, influenced largely by linguistic anthropology, geography, and sociology. This demonstrates the ways in which studies on language transcend disciplinary boundaries, often correlating with issues of transnationalism, globalization, sustainability, and technology. Our project fits well within the Language Sciences theme of ‘Language, Sustainability, and Transnationalism’, as expanding the University of British Columbia’s research on language and its intersections with culture, policy, and transnationalism are precisely our research goals. Our aim is to assess and provide recommendations for services in order to allocate meaningful support for transnational migrants, as well as the larger Portuguese-Canadian community in Canada.

Tags:

  • Language, Sustainability and Transnationalism

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