LINGUIST List 31.2432

Thu Jul 30 2020

Review: Applied Linguistics: Horner, Dailey-O'Cain (2019)

Editor for this issue: Jeremy Coburn <>

Date: 01-May-2020
From: Manuela Vida-Mannl <>
Subject: Multilingualism, (Im)mobilities and Spaces of Belonging
E-mail this message to a friend

Discuss this message

Book announced at

EDITOR: Kristine Horner
EDITOR: Jennifer Dailey-O'Cain
TITLE: Multilingualism, (Im)mobilities and Spaces of Belonging
SERIES TITLE: Encounters
PUBLISHER: Multilingual Matters
YEAR: 2019

REVIEWER: Manuela Vida-Mannl, Technische Universität Dortmund


The book ''Multilingualism, (Im)mobilities and Spaces of Belonging'', edited by Kristine Horner and Jennifer Dailey-O'Cain, is divided into three parts that each deal with a different aspect of (un)belonging. ''Part 1: Contested Spaces: Language, Borders and (Un)belonging'' (Chapters 2-5, pp. 19-92) takes a spatial perspective when analyzing how mobility, periphery, and belonging is reflected through language in 'bordered-communities'. Chapter 2 focuses on northern Catalonia and the b/ordering processes at work at the French-Spanish border. Chapter 3 introduces the linguistic landscape of Page Hall, Sheffield, UK, and shows how the Romani of the Slovak Roma is heard (but not seen). Chapter 4 shows how residents of Houtiniquadorp, South Africa, are categorized as belonging to the group of 'boorlinge' (locals) and 'inkommers' (newcomers). The author, interestingly, discusses belonging as being reflected in a person's embodiment of a place. Chapter 5 is a commentary which offers short summaries and theoretical links between the three previous chapters.

''Part 2: Trajectories and Heritage: Language, Authenticities and (Un)belonging'' (Chapters 6-9, pp. 93-174) offers insight into the relation of multi-language use and belonging to a place or community, e.g. (choosing to) show one's heritage and/or historical mobility (e.g. by 'speaking with an accent'). Chapter 6 investigates how an Italian couple that migrated to Australia shows their self-identification as 'real Italians', rather than 'Italians from Australia', i.e. second-generation migrants. Chapter 7 discussed when and by whom a 'foreign' accent is perceived as positive or negative and brings to light potential connections to a speaker's identity construction. Chapter 8 focuses on translanguaging and its perception in a female entrepreneur's endeavor to bring about the empowerment and social and economic advancement of the Roma community in multilingual and multicultural Leeds, UK. This part ends with Chapter 9, a commentary that again interrelates the three chapters of Part 2 and shows how they fit together on a structural and social level.

''Part 3: Mobilities and Struggle: Languages, Hierarchies, and (Un)belonging'' (Chapters 10-13, pp. 173-243) present how belonging is influenced by social and institutional (re)construction of power relations and (language) hierarchies. Chapter 10 explores teachers' perception of translanguaging as (il)legitimate within educational settings in Canada and Luxembourg. Chapter 11 presents and analyzes the social and linguistic struggles female marriage-migrants experience as part of their 'new' lives in South Korea. Chapter 12 investigates the (im)mobility of three Cap Verdean men who aim at migrating to Luxembourg, incorporating concepts like unequal mobility and Global North-Global South trajectories. Chapter 13 summarizes the three chapters of Part 3 and interconnects them closer with aspects of social justice and privilege.

Chapter 1, ''Introduction: Multilingualism, (Im)mobilities and Spaces of Belonging'' by the editors Kristine Horner and Jennifer Dailey-O'Cain (pp. 1-16), offers a theoretical synopsis of the key topics the individual chapters of the book are based on. Most prominently concepts like power relations, identity construction and social positioning, the privilege of mobility, and the role of language use within these concepts are discussed and put in relation to one another. The chapter ends with a useful and handy overview of the book's three parts and the variety of studies and issues addressed in each of them.

Chapter 2, ''The border as a Site of Sociolinguistic Inquiry: Findings from Northern Catalonia'' by James Hawkey (pp. 19-38), presents us with an interdisciplinary discussion of 'borders' (e.g. linguistic or natural ones) and a sociolinguistic study of belonging and unbelonging in northern Catalonia. Based on language attitude questionnaires of 291 participants, Hawkey investigates borderland identities of Catalan speakers on the French side of the at the French-Spanish border in northern Catalonia. In this chapter, the data is used to analyze the relationship and attitudes of these speakers towards Catalan speakers in Barcelona. Hawkey supports ''the idea of 'border as process', rather than border as artifact'' (p. 31) and uses the concept of 'b/ordering' (ibid., cf. Van Houtum, Kramsch & Zierhofer (eds.) 2005) to stress the nature of borders as repeatedly and actively performed. This enacting and performing of borders, furthermore, enables flexibility and co-occurrence: borderlanders, as Hawkey found, might not feel required to choose between identifying as Catalan or French (p. 33).

Chapter 3, ''Ethnolinguistic Landscaping in Sheffield: The Invisible Repertoire of the Slovak Roma'' by Mark Payne (pp. 39-59), is based on a longitudinal study of the local Slovak Roma community and the use of their (minority) language Romani. The author starts his chapter by offering subchapters on ''LLS [Linguistic Landscaping Studies] as a discipline'' (pp. 41-43), ''What is the LLS method?'' (pp. 43-44), as well as their use in minority language research (pp. 44-46) and an ethnolinguistic description of the study's setting (pp. 46-47). An analysis of three language excerpts follows this theoretical setup and builds the heart of this chapter. The author analyzes one formal and two informal examples of written use of Slovak (Romani is not visible in its written form in Sheffield) and their reference to the Slovak Roma population. While the example of a formal reference to the Slovak Roma community is an abbreviation in a shop's name, informal examples are either written by or aimed at members of the author's target community.

Chapter 4, ''The Embodiment of Place: Boorlinge, Inkommers and the Struggle to Belong'' by Yolandi Ribbens-Klein (pp. 60-82), ''investigates how the embodiment of place and belonging (in terms of place identities) are constructed and contested in narrative discourse of residents'' (p. 60) of the South African town of Houtiniquadorp. In this chapter, the social stratification of people identifying as belonging to one of the above-mentioned communities is put in relation to their place of residence and their perception of how this identity of place is (accurately) enacted/embodied (e.g. Bucholtz & Hall 2016, Modan 2007). The author impressively argues for the moralization, politicization, and stratification of Houtiniquadorp, based on and ''through historical and socio-political processes and local discourses'' (p. 66). Finding that the body can be a sign of belonging to a certain place or community, the author discusses the notions of geographic, linguistic, and social 'center and periphery', incorporating various partakers' perspectives.

Chapter 5, ''Contested Spaces: A Commentary'' by Mike Baynham (pp. 83-92), finalizes the first part of this edited book. The author summarizes the previous three chapters and offers a theoretical and conceptual synopsis. Concluding this synopsis and discussion, the author argues for the potential that lies in cross-disciplinary analyses of data, e.g. as presented in Chapters 2-4, and a focus on ''interdisciplinary teams to research the big questions of our time'' (p.91).

Chapter 6, ''Authenticity, Agency and Mobility in the Discourse of Italian Migrants in Australia'' by Antonia Rubino (pp. 95-120), investigates how an Italian couple that migrated to Australia in the 1990s constructs its ethnic identities and linguistic authenticity in the 'new' environment. Like others in this book, this author's analysis of two interviews, which are part of a larger corpus, is based on Bucholtz and Hall's (2005) understanding of identity as actively constructed ''social positioning of self and others'' (p. 586). Including interview excerpts about various aspects of the two migrants' lives, e.g. their reasons to leave Italy, experiences in their workplaces, and their family's language use, their practices of how to ''position themselves as 'real' Italian'' (p. 99) are presented. While the male interviewee reflects on his migration journey as being mostly positive and (at least partially) actively shaped by him, his wife draws a more passive and negative picture of her experience. However, the author makes clear in her analysis that both ''position themselves in strongly agentive roles'' (p. 116). In terms of language use, the author finds a clear preference of the 'standard language' (if it exists) over the dialects that are used by ''Italians from Australia'' (p. 116), who are typically post-war migrants and their descendants.

Chapter 7, ''Speaking with or without an Accent: Language Ideologies and the 'Problem' of Linguistic Super-Mobility'' by Katharina König (pp. 121-144), is concerned with the importance and the effect of speaking with 'foreign' accents on identity constructions. The chapter is based on interviews with first- and second-generation migrants to Germany who, respectively, speak German with a foreign accent or their heritage language with a German accent. ''Accents are valued differently in different sociolinguistic spaces'' (p. 123) and in Germany, the accents of large migrant groups (e.g. Turkish and Polish) have been found to be less valued by L1 German speakers than accents of other (western) European countries (cf. Gärtig, Plewnia & Rothe 2010). The author investigates the speakers' perception of their own accents as positive (first-generation migrants) or negative (second generation migrants in their 'homelands'), concluding that traditional language ideologies, which link language and locality, shape this perception and subsequently the speakers' ''transnational'' (p.138) identity construction.

Chapter 8, ''Negative Translanguaging Space: Mobility and Immobility in Inner-City Leeds'' by Jessica Bradley and James Simpson (pp. 145-164), investigates the multi-language use of one female migrant from Slovakia during the development of her business idea in Leeds, UK. The recordings analyzed in this chapter are part of a more extensive corpus on urban multilingualism in the UK. In the setting under investigation, the interviewee functions as a link between the Roma community and local institutions that aim at empowering members of the Roma community and increasing their local mobility. The authors make use of the concept of translanguaging (cf. García & Li 2014; Ortheguy, García & Wallis 2015) to illustrate multi-language use by the interviewee on her way to develop a business plan. They introduce the notion of ''negative translanguaging spaces'' (p. 151): spaces that accept or value the use of one language only. Translanguaging spaces – positive and negative – are found to occur in ''superdiverse contact zones'' (p. 160) and, as argued by the authors, their investigation offers a deeper understanding of language ideologies and the construction of identities and social structures by and of local stakeholders.

Chapter 9, ''Trajectories and Heritage: A Commentary'' by Samantha Litty and Joseph Salmons (pp. 165-174), summarizes the previous three chapters and integrates them into the bigger picture of multilingualism and authenticity in migration settings. The authors stress the value of the transdisciplinary approaches and the shifted perspectives on existing concepts that Chapters 6-8 present. Furthermore, a key aim of this chapter is to advertise the importance of combining relevant insight across domains and research areas for a comprehensive understanding of mobility and society.

Chapter 10, ''Perceived Legitimacy and Translanguaging: Exploring the Interconnectedness of Pedagogy and Policy'' by Sarah Muller, Clea Schmidt, and Jean-Jacques Weber (pp. 177-196), examines teachers' ideologies towards translanguaging in the classroom (cf. García & Li 2014; Ortheguy et al. 2015) in Manitoba, Canada, and Luxembourg. To understand which translanguaging practices are categorized as 'legitimate' or 'illegitimate' and to what extent this categorization is influenced by language policy and politics in both multilingual educational settings, translanguaging is primarily approached ''as pedagogy'' (pp. 181-183; cf. Stroud & Wee 2012). In Manitoba, the authors focus on translanguaging into indigenous languages which is caused widely by intra-national mobility. In Luxembourg, they examine translanguaging which is caused by inter-national mobility of speakers of Romance languages. The authors find a strong influence of language policy on the use and perception of individual languages within the teachers' or students' translanguaging practices. In arguing that only a change in pedagogy and policy may ''turn today's superdiverse classrooms into spaces of belonging'' (p. 193), they end on a hopeful note.

Chapter 11, ''Gender Ideologies and Korean Language Learning: Experiences of Female Marriage-Migrants in Rural South Korea'' by Mi Yung Park (pp. 197-215), addresses the social and linguistic challenges of Southeast Asian women who migrate to South Korea for marriage purposes. The study presented in this chapter is based on the experiences of five women who partake in language classes to improve their Korean language skills. The author reports that, due to the maintenance of traditional social hierarchies, which rank women lower than man and the young lower than the elder, and the fact that most marriage-migrants do not speak (sufficient) Korean before migrating to South Korea, these women feel excluded and 'not-belonging' in their new lives. The insight from this study shows that L2 learning of Korean is perceived as a way of empowerment for the women as well as – or even more than– a way of providing a better future for their children. In disentangling the complexity of the migrant women's social stratification in multiple settings (e.g. at home and in the workplace), the author presents the potential and limits of adequate language programs as well as their impact on the identity (re)construction of these women.

Chapter 12, ''Language and (Im)mobility as a Struggle: Cape Verdean Trajectories into Luxembourg'' by Bernardino Tavares and Kasper Juffermans (pp. 216-233), investigates mobility challenges and their interrelation to multilingualism as experienced by three men. Connecting concepts like privilege, Global South-Global North, monolingualism as a myth, as well as mobility and multilingualism as continua, the authors present us with three outcomes of an, at first sight, similar goal: Migrating from Cap Verde to Luxembourg. The authors analyze the three participants' struggles for mobility and link them to topics like globalization and privilege, stressing the context-dependent dynamics of multilingualism, social status, and geographical mobility.

Chapter 13, ''Mobilities and Struggle: A Commentary'' by Ana Deumert (pp. 234-243), again summarizes the previous three chapters, links their assessments of mobility and struggle and the concepts themselves. Deumert highlights the dynamics of social mobility and social justice and agrees with Tavares & Juffermans (chapter 12) assessment that ''mobility is not a human right but a privilege to be struggled over'' (p. 239).


This book offers a refreshing and much-welcomed collection of research into currently relevant topics like mobility, social stratification, and their dynamics with language (use). With a focus on qualitative research and (partially) unconventional, innovative methods, this book successfully offers meaningful insight into social dynamics, reinforcing the importance of interdisciplinary approaches. Ribbens-Klein (Chapter 4), for example, makes use of unconventional data-elicitation methods, like commented walks (p.71), and so unfolds impressive insight into the social structures and power relations, as well as the attitudes of the targeted communities.

When investigating social justice, the individual speakers have to be centered, as they are the experiencer and producer of this justice. In recent years, this led to an increasing number of recognized and appreciated 'qualitative research' studies. Especially frameworks like translanguaging show that not only the outcome of language use is worth investigating (as it used to be done, i.e. in code-switching research), but also the inner-speaker processes are equally important. The book at hand fits well into this paradigm shift of sociolinguistics.

The book follows a clear and reader-friendly organization: e.g. the chapters present their structure at the beginning, which is very helpful. The book is neither limited to a certain speaker or social group nor focused on a certain language or a certain context. This makes it interesting for a variety of readers, who either study one of the included contexts, groups, or languages, or more epistemic issues like language ideology, identity construction or the dynamics of (social/spatial) mobility.

While a variety of methods are presented, e.g. commented walks (cf. Chapter 4), linguistic landscaping (cf. Chapter 3), semi-structured biographical interviews (cf. Chapters 6 & 7) or self-study (cf. Chapter10), I would have hoped for a more direct argument for their use. I welcome the change in perspective as well as the decision to focus on qualitative and personal research, the areas of research that are accessible when applying these methods, however, could have been indicated. Chapter 3 appears to be somewhat off-balance in its structure when theory and empirical evidence are concerned. Payne shows that, despite using Slovak and not the Romani language, the addressees of his examples are members of the Roma population. Discussing the potential of Linguistic Landscape Studies to indicate the absence of a language as well as its presence – and the meaning of both – in greater detail would have broadened the understanding of the presented setting.

The undertones of social stratification amongst migrants and heritage speakers are nicely brought to light in Chapter 6. Social dynamics between the migrants that 'had to come for economic reasons' and speak a dialect, and the interviewees that 'chose to come' and speak 'pure' Italian (p.116) are indicated in multiple excerpts of the original transcripts in Italian. A presentation of agency in traditional Italian gender roles may have been helpful to contextualize the behavior of the two spouses, especially concerning their workplaces. Furthermore, Chapter 7 appears to miss some theoretical underpinnings. In contrast to what is claimed, second-generation Turkish migrants in Germany are traditionally not speakers of German as a second language but bilinguals. This does not change how they are perceived in Turkey. However, it might lead to a more complex theorization than is offered by the author. In addition, the used concept of super-mobility remains unclear in Chapter 7 as well as the actual translanguaging practices in Chapter 8. While I assume both authors are correct in their results, a more specific explanation could have been given to the included paradigms. All in all, this book is a collection of meaningful findings that have the potential to change people's lives. Especially the issue of language equity (Chapter 10) might find application in the educational system, as the authors already suggest that the implementation of translanguaging pedagogy requires a change in medium-of-instruction policy (p. 193).

Despite some minor shortcomings, I enjoyed reading this book, especially as I am interested in processes of social justice. It is a well-structured and coherent volume that provides interested readers with valuable input and numerous issues to think about. The variety of issues, speaker groups, contexts, and languages considered in this volume show the relevance of and omnipresence of inequality, might it be (im)mobility, (un)belonging, or (mis)communication.


Bucholtz, M. & Hall, K. 2005. “Identity and interaction: A sociocultural linguistic approach”. Discourse Studies, 7, (4-5): 585-614.

Gärtig, A., Plewnia, A. & Rothe, A. 2010. ‘Wie Menschen in Deutschland über Sprache denken: Ergebnisse einer bundesweiten Repräsentativerhebung zu aktuellen Spracheinstellungen’. Mannheim: IDS.

Modan, G.G. 2007. ‘Turf Wars: Discourse, Diversity, and the Politics of Place’. Oxford: Blackwell.

Stroud, C, & Wee, L. 2012. ‘Style, Identity and Literacy: English in Singapore’. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Van Houtum,H., Kramsch, O. & Zierhofer, W. (eds.). 2005. ‘B/ordering Spaces’. Aldershot: Ashgate.


Manuela Vida-Mannl is a postdoctoral researcher at TU Dortmund University, Germany. Her main research interests are multilingualism, sociolinguistics, and the global use of English. In her PhD-thesis (University of Cologne) on 'The value of English in Cyprus' higher education', she investigated the roles of English in non-native higher education landscapes (North and South Cyprus) for institutions and individual speakers. She is especially interested in the dynamics of (social & spatial) mobility and social stratification on Global North-Global South trajectories and is currently working on an investigation of these dynamics within tourism.

Page Updated: 30-Jul-2020