Migration and language

Cécile Van den Where “The bambara in the migration: identity and véhicularité”, the Facts of languages, 1998.

From interviews conducted with thirteen families bambarophones representative of the malian community of Marseille, Cécile Van den Where interested in the use and status of the bambara. The interviews are focused on the languages spoken in their living environments in a row, by the respondents, their spouse, their children, to make emerge the ” stories of language migration.”

Some respondents, who practiced little the bambara in Mali, make use of it more in France. Regardless of their first language, it is the bambara that they have passed on to their children, to the detriment, possibly, of their language, ethnicity, senufo, minyanka, etc ” parents generally began to speak bambara to the eldest of their children. And then, when he had the age to go to kindergarten, and under the pressure of the teachers, they do have more spoken than French. With the cadets, they no longer spoke French. Children up to the age of pre-adolescence have therefore often only a passive knowledge of the bambara. From this age, twelve to fourteen years, a change is taking place. Was the result of a kind of awareness among children (source?) as in the parents of otherness which refer to the behaviour and discourse in French, in spite of a childhood and an education in French, there is a relearning of the bambara, that facilitate and enhance stays, ajusque very rare, in Mali : before this age, in fact, the child often went there only once, at a young age, to be presented to the family. “

The study shows that the bambara in migration to France became a category of national belonging. Cécile Van den Where the interpreter as a process of construction of identity “against” the French identity. Invested with great symbolic power, it allows, in France, to respondents to define themselves as Bambara. As such, it is a resource of identity. What interests me in this article, it is the reflection on the uses of the language of origin of the migrants. Is it, or not spoken in the home ? Is it taught to children ? Is she the object of a valuation, or is it banned on the verbal exchanges ?

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