By Sari Pietikäinen, FinlandAlexandra Jaffe, Long BeachHelen Kelly-Holmes, and Nikolas Coupland
Sociolinguistics from the Periphery "presents a fascinating book about change: shifting political, economic and cultural conditions; ephemeral, sometimes even seasonal, multilingualism; and altered imaginaries for minority and indigenous languages and their users."
This book examines how Russian-speaking adoptees in three US families actively shape opportunities for language learning and identity construction in everyday interactions. By focusing on a different practice in each family (i.e. narrative talk about the day, metalinguistic discourse or languaging, and code-switching), the analyses uncover different types of learner agency and show how language socialization is collaborative and co-constructed. The learners in this study achieve agency through resistance, participation, and negotiation, and the findings demonstrate the complex ways in which novices transform communities in transnational contexts. The perspectives inform the fields of second language acquisition and language maintenance and shift. The book further provides a rare glimpse of the quotidian negotiations of adoptive family life and suggestions for supporting adoptees as young bilinguals.