Multilingualism and Translanguaging in Migration Studies: Some Methodological Reflections
Keywords:migration studies, multilingualism, translanguaging, linguistic biography, researcher positionality, qualitative research, interview method, data processing, interpretation, Russian-speaking immigrants
Research in the field of international migration engage a multilingual frame. Multilingualism raises a question of knowledge and meaning transferability in diverse linguistic and cultural contexts. Migration studies focusing on the transnational settings require a reflective use of languages while confronting methodological challenges at all research stages. This notion is especially valid in the case of qualitative research oriented to capturing meaning which can be lost in translation. As the first objective, in this article I reflect on language use in the research conduct in general and in migration studies in particular. I address a set of methodological challenges connected to multilingualism during data gathering, processing, and interpretation. The second objective is to approach translanguaging as one of the features of multilingual practices and as an epiphenomenon of immigration and transnationalism. I rely on a research project on immigrant agency of immigrants from the former Soviet Union (FSU), arriving in Germany between 1990-2005. I exemplify how multilingualism can be utilized in empirical research, and how translanguaging helps to understand cross-cultural experiences.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Tetiana Havlin
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