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Fatma Said presents at the 3rd I-mean conference

Fatma Said presents at the 3rd I-mean conference

Fatma Said, Research Student for the Department of ALC, tells us about her presentation at the 3rd I-mean conference

18 to 20 April 2013


3rd I-mean Conference: Multilingualism and Identity


University of West England, Frenchay Campus, Bristol


My paper was accepted for presentation at the imean3 conference (which takes place every two years) in Bristol at the UWE, and I presented with Prof. Zhu Hua on the subject of multilingualism and identity. The theme of the conference was language and identity and each presenter showed how their work approached identity from a linguistic standpoint. It was a great chance to meet other scholars and researchers working in the same field and using similar approaches to look at every type of data. There were talks on language use on the internet, language use in cookbooks, language use in television commercials, telephone conversations, text messaging and sign language among others. The paper I presented with Zhu Hua was titled “Yalla, finish it Baaba!”: Strategic use of address terms and code-switching for identity building in multilingual language socialization”. The presentation described the little known process of language socialisation and identity development of multilingual children who learn to speak two or more languages, and at the same time are exposed to two different cultures. By combining the theoretical and methodological approaches in language socialisation and broadly those of sociolinguistics; the talk aimed to understand how intercultural identities are constructed, ascribed, resisted and negotiated by multilingual children through multilingual practices during meal times in this transnational family. The feedback we had was great, and it was of particular honour that Prof. Ben Rampton and Prof. Adrian Holliday were both present during the talk, and provided me with good feedback.

The keynote speakers chosen throughout the three days were scholars and distinguished professors at the forefront of the topic of language and identity. Prof. Ben Rampton gave a brilliant plenary on the overview of methods and theories of language and identity and how scholars must create new models through which to analyse data in this field. With the introduction of technology and social media, identities are not as easy to segment anymore and that more criticality was needed when looking at data. Nicolas Coupland gave an interesting talk on the case of bilingualism in Wales. His talk was based on a collection of videos of a popular bilingual talk show about Rugby, in which the presenter and others on the show frequently switch to English in their Welsh conversations. He showed how speakers code-switching into English for dramatic effect and how that was the nature of bilinguals in general. Dawn Archer’s talk was based on identities from historical law documents. Some of her focus was on William Garrow, a very talented, astute and later famous lawyer from London, whose identity she measured based on real court transcripts recorded at the time. Her focus was on how he defended his clients and the way he used the words he chose in defending them and ultimately to assert his authority as a person of truth. There were also other Birkbeck students who attended and presented at the conference and Dr. Lisa McEntee-Atalianis was also present as a chair and speaker. It was a very good three days and the atmosphere was relaxed.