Article published in:Using and Learning Italian in Australia
Edited by Antonia Rubino
[Australian Review of Applied Linguistics. Series S 18] 2004
► pp. 25–49
Trilingual women as language mediators in the family
A Sicilian-Australian case-study
In the process of language shift from the immigrant languages to English, everyday communication within the family can become increasingly problematic due to strong divergences in the linguistic competences of the older and the younger generations. This article explores the process of language mediation between different generations, as it occurs within a Sicilian-Australian family belonging to the last wave of Italian mass immigration to Australia Through a corpus of spontaneous conversations, the study focuses on the role played by a second generation woman as a mediator within her family. The linguistic analysis shows that, in order to overcome communication breakdown, she makes full use of her competence in all three languages: Italian, Sicilian and English, and employs codeswitching extensively as a conversational strategy to accommodate participants with different language abilities. Furthermore, while she maintains Dialect as the language of the most inner family circle, she shifts to Italian as the more ‘learneable’ language that can contribute to cohesion in the extended family.
Published online: 01 January 2004
Cited by 1 other publications
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