September 8, 2016

Linguistic multi-competence of Fiji school students and their conversational partners

The following manuscript has been accepted for publication and forms part of Suzanne’s PhD:
Hopf, S. C., McLeod, S. & McDonagh, S. H. (2016, in press, September). Linguistic multi-competence of Fiji school students and their conversational partners. International Journal of Multilingualism
The in press version of the article is available for free from here.
Here is the abstract:
This study explored linguistic multi-competence in Fiji students and their conversational partners through a description of linguistic diversity in one school community. Students’ caregivers (n=75), teachers (n=25) and year 4 students (n=40) in an urban school of Fiji completed paper-based questionnaires regarding: 75 students, 75 mothers, 75 fathers, 25 child-minders, and 25 teachers (N=275). Participants spoke an average of 3 languages, ranging between one and six languages including: English (99.2%), Standard Fijian (86.4%), a Fijian dialect (76.8%), Fiji Hindi (66.1%), and additional languages (41.7%, e.g., Standard Hindi, Rotuman, Samoan, Cook Island Maori, Bislama, and Japanese). The common main languages spoken by participants were Standard Fijian, Fiji Hindi, or English.  The students typically spoke the main language of both or one of their parents (92%). Consistent with teacher, parental, and student report, English was the main language spoken by the students at school. In the community the students’ language use was influenced by ethnicity of the communication partner and languages within the students’ repertoire. The students were more likely to code-switch with their father, mother, or siblings than their grandparents. This study demonstrates linguistic multi-competence and emphasizes the importance of considering the individuals’ and communities’ total linguistic repertoire and competence.