This thesis explores the out-of-school language use of young adolescents in contemporary multilingual urban settings, located in the three largest cities in Sweden. More specifically, the thesis explores the interplay of out-of-school language use, language ideologies, investment in languages and identities. Dimensions of multilingualism have attracted wide scholarly interest, yet the knowledge about the out-of-school language use and encounters among this group of adolescents in connection to language ideologies and identities, is limited.
Employing an explanatory sequential mixed methods design, three different instruments have been used (questionnaire, language diaries and interviews). The study was conducted between 2019–2021 with young adolescents (N=92) aged 11–14 at schools located in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. Adopting a Bourdieusian approach, the notion of habitus, and the related pillars of capital and field, have guided the integrated analysis of the findings of the young adolescents’ practices and dispositions.
Findings reveal patterns of young adolescents’ everyday use and encounters with Heritage Languages, Swedish, English and additional languages in different activities and interactions. The findings also demonstrate how participants’ out-of-school language use isintertwined in various multifaceted ways with their language ideologies, investment in languages, identity constructions and linguistic sense of placement. The overall findings show how everyday language use and ideologies of languages play a vital role in shaping the young adolescents’ investment in languages, linguistic sense of placement and construction of identities.
The study signifies the importance of bridging the gap between home and school and the urgent need for education to take seriously how hierarchical relations of languages and dominant ideologies impact young individuals’ perceptions of themselves, their imagined futures and sense of place in the social world.