This thesis is a sociolinguistic examination of the ways in which multilingual children and parents negotiate their language use. Through a critical ethnographic inquiry, it focuses in particular on Japanese-English multilingual parents and their pre- and early-school age children living in the UK, across two fields: a Japanese government approved complementary school (Hoshuko), and the family home where parents employ multilingual family language policies (FLP). My main interest is in exploring the ways in which discourses emerging from the policies (governmental and institutional policies regarding Hoshuko, and FLP) are reproduced and/or challenged by individuals’ situated practices and perceptions. Defining multilingualism as a set of social practices and processes, the thesis explores the following four themes: 1) discourses of Hoshuko policies and of FLP, 2) individuals’ language practices and 3) perceptions in the Hoshuko and in the family home; and 4) the mutual influence of discourses, practices and perceptions. By employing Critical Discourse Analysis to analyse relevant Japanese governmental policy documents, as well as the school prospectuses of all nine Hoshuko in the UK, I disclosed the governmental and institutional discourses (Chapter 4). The discourses were then compared with individuals’ situated practices and perceptions identified at one of those Hoshuko, where I conducted a 16-month ethnographic fieldwork (Chapter 5). The discourse of FLP was also scrutinised by comparing it with family language practices and perceptions in the family home (Chapter 6). As a whole, this thesis reveals discrepancies between the governmental and institutional discourse, as well as individuals’ situated practices and perceptions. On one hand, governmental and institutional discourses are undermined by individuals’ flexible practices in particular situations. On the other hand, multilingual individuals also seem to be influenced by discourses which they reflect in their own perceptions; consequently, some multilingual practices go unacknowledged at the level of perceptions. Overall, this thesis enriches our understanding of the dynamics between macro level ideological influences emerging from policy discourses and micro level practices, and of the complexity of individuals’ perceptions involved in the legitimation of their practices in the context of a complementary school and the family home.
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - May 2015|