Russian language maintenance through bedtime story reading?

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This article proposes an interactional approach to the question of Russian language maintenance through the activity of bedtime story-reading in Russian-French bilingual families in French speaking Switzerland. Reading stories appears to be a language maintenance strategy commonly employed by the Russian speaking parent. The ritual and recreational moment of story-reading therefore becomes an opportunity for language learning. Drawing upon a language socialization perspective, this paper proposes an interactional analysis of the language use in the activity of story-reading. It shows how the language choice of the participants may be requested, negotiated and challenged during the interaction. The analysis further informs us about the language choice pattern and the bilingual competences in these families. We will gain insight into (Russian) language maintenance as a daily social and linguistic practice.


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