BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Multilinguals’ language choices and perceptions in the UK in light of the Brexit Referendum

    Arafah, Heba Issam Mahmoud (2020) Multilinguals’ language choices and perceptions in the UK in light of the Brexit Referendum. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

    Arafah_Heba_MultilingualsLanguageChoicesInLightofBrexitReferendum_amended_final.pdf - Full Version

    Download (1MB) | Preview


    Some urban centers are reputed as the most culturally and linguistically diverse places in the world (Norton, 2018). However, underpinning this diversity exists a language hierarchy that effects multilinguals' experiences (Mehmedbegovié, Skrandies, Byrne & Harding-Esch, 2015). Since the Brexit referendum, growing literature has discussed Brexit and languages, especially with prevalent monolingual ideologies (Kelly, 2018). This study hopes to add to research on Brexit, linguistic diversity, and linguistic racism. It aims to investigate multilinguals' self-reported language choices in public spaces and perceptions in the sociopolitical context of the UK that encompasses the Brexit vote. It examines the link between multilinguals who have been reluctant to use their heritage language in public, on one hand, and bicultural identity orientation, perception of heritage language among other factors, on the other. The study used an explanatory mix-methods approach. An online survey was used as a primary tool for data collection, to which 507 multilinguals responded. Then, semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight multilinguals. All participants were from various linguistic backgrounds, residing in the UK and exposed to a language considered foreign to the country. Statistical analyses showed significant differences in language choice among multilinguals from different linguistic backgrounds. Forty-three percent of the participants reported a drop-in tolerance towards diversity since the vote. Multilinguals who had a negative perception of their heritage, felt they had. conflicted identities, felt a need to alternate between their identities, and believed loyalty could only be to single culture were more reluctant to use their heritage language in public. Multilinguals who rated British tolerance towards other languages as being low were also more reluctant to use their language. Thematic analysis of qualitative data revealed that level of ethnic diversity of a place, status of heritage language, and children's sensitivity impacted language choice in public since-the referendum vote.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Additional Information: Originally submitted to the Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication, School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy.
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2021 10:33
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 15:02


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item