Volume 46, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139
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This study presents the case of a multilingual refugee (Maji) of Kirundi, Swahili, French, and English, from Burundi living in the U.S., and examines the language ideologies and identities embedded in his transnational narratives. We analyze our focal participant’s multi-layered transnational experiences using Darvin and Norton’s (2015) model of investment that foregrounds the intersection of ideology, capital, and identity. Specifically, we center on dominant ideologies in Maji’s discourse and how he negotiated his ethnic, social class, and gendered identities. Our findings revealed that Maji, who adhered to discourses that promoted the English superiority, the prestige of dialectal forms of Swahili, Spanish, and English, and English as a global commodity displayed his awareness of language hierarchies and dominance. Yet, Maji, who drew on French for meaning-making, displayed contradictory ideas by framing French as a useless language in the U.S. as compared to English. Our study sheds light on the complexity of multilinguals’ identity construction and discusses pedagogical implications on how to support language minority students’ multilingualism.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): identity; investment; multilingual; refugee; transnational
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