Language Ideologies of Albanian + English Speakers [CC]

Language Ideologies of Albanian + English Speakers [CC]


My name is Jacob, and for my sociolinguistics
fall 2017 final project, I focused on Albanian speakers who also speak English. I have been interested in seeing if different
language or linguistic upbringings affect these speakers’ language ideologies on either
of their languages. How does the upbringing of someone who speaks
Albanian as their first language and English as their second language change their language
ideologies? And how does the upbringing of someone who
speaks English and Albanian, both as their first language, affect their languages ideologies
surrounding both of their languages? On of my informants was Irisa Lico, who is
an Albanian immigrant. She came to the United States when she was
8 years old in 2008 with her parents. They came to the United States as a family. She grew up speaking Albanian, but when she
got to the United States and entered the US education system, she began learning English
from there. So, if you just want to talk about how you
see the two languages that you speak, and if you, again, like value one over the other. Just tell me it all. Okay, well like, English the only place I
speak at would be at school or if like I need to go to the store or if I’m like talking
to you guys. Albanian is mainly for while I’m at home,
like my parents expect that I will be speaking Albanian to them. But also like, I use Albanian to stay connected
with other family members, and I would say I value Albanian more than I value English
because it’s like only roughly 3 million people speak it and it’s not like very popular as
English would be, but also English is more useful out there for a lot of the countries
in the world, and every airport out there has those signs in English. Like, it’s very useful wherever you go. How did you learn English? I have no idea. Were you just like thrown in? Yeah, I was kinda just tossed in and told
like “Swim in the pool!” I don’t even remember. It took me like three months though. Like, I’m still learning it and I don’t know
everything, and there are words that my peers know that I don’t know, but that’s like because
all they do is speak English. I don’t–I only use English at school. I don’t practice it outside of school. So I only know like the basics of English. Well like, yeah. So like with vocabulary, my vocabulary isn’t
as strong as like your vocabulary. My second informant was Erika Curka, who was
born in the United States but whose parents immigrated to the United States a few months
before she was born. Erika speaks both English and Albanian as
her first language(s). She grew up learning both English and Albanian
simultaneously. I was able to conduct a face to face interview
with Erika, but the footage and the audio saved in a way where you couldn’t hear Erika. So I’m just going to give a summary of what
I learned. I asked Erika how she saw the two languages
that she spoke, English and Albanian, and whether or not she valued either language
in a different way. She said she values Albanian in a way that
is to a greater degree than she values English. Albanian, she said, is the language that connects
her to her family in the United States and to the family that is still in Albania. English is the language that she has to learn,
that she had to learn in order to live in the United States. So she connects more importance to Albanian. And I also asked Erika how she learned English,
because she informed me that she learned both of the languages at the same time. She mentioned that Albanian was the language
of her household and that she did pick up on Albanian by hearing it in the house, but
her parents also made it an effort to do simple things like read Erika books that were in English
and play television shows that were dubbed in English or were originally in English so
Erika could pick up on both Albanian and English at the same time. After conducting my research, I concluded
that the different language upbringings of Albanian and English speakers don’t necessarily
change the language ideologies. Someone who speaks English as her second language
and Albanian as her first language still sees Albanian as more important and someone who
speaks both languages as her first language(s) still stills Albanian as the more important
language. I hope to expand on this research by reaching
out to more Albanian and English speakers because two informants is useful but not useful
enough for strong and valid research. And I also hope to extend my research to people
who are bilingual or multilingual in languages outside of English and Albanian.

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