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    Multilingual repertoires and identity in social media: Syrian refugees on Facebook

    McEntee-Atalianis, Lisa and Ateek, Mohammed and Gardner-Chloros, Penelope (2023) Multilingual repertoires and identity in social media: Syrian refugees on Facebook. International Journal of Bilingualism 27 (5), pp. 731-748. ISSN 1367-0069.

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    Aims and Objectives/Purpose/Research Questions This study explores the linguistic resources used on Facebook (FB) by six resettled Syrian refugees in the UK. It investigates the multilingual varieties and scripts employed, their discursive functions and their role in the construction of identity/ies. Design/Methodology/Approach The study employs descriptive linguistic and discourse-centred online ethnographic approaches. These are complemented with insights from interviews with the informants. Data and Analysis The data set consists of 2,036 FB posts. Multilingual posts were subjected to a two-stage analysis: the first identified the affordances of new technologies for Arabic/English bilinguals – describing the function of different languages and scripts. The second stage employed a thematic analysis to frame a subsequent investigation of the stances taken by posters to construct identities and boundaries between themselves and others. Findings/Conclusions The study reveals how FB supports the construction and negotiation of multidimensional, complex personae, particularly in countering mainstream/media representations. It is a platform on which posters are able to display bilingual creativity. Originality This article demonstrates the affordances of social media for newly settled Syrian refugees engaging in transnational networks. It identifies, as yet, unreported bilingual creativity in varieties of Arabic and English, particularly the use of a previously unidentified script, Englarabic. It ties this analysis to the study of identity performance and negotiation, and reveals the contested status of those now living in a new nation. Significance/Implications The study reveals how Syrian refugees employ complex linguistic repertoires in CMC. We argue that SM platforms afford a creative, ideological space for bilingual refugees as they negotiate their multiple identities online following resettlement. The study identifies linguistic innovation, particularly in the use of code-switching and Englarabic. It has implications for all those researching multilingual CMC creativity and identity, as well as those involved in understanding, planning for, and experiencing refugee (re)settlement.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): code-switching, Englarabic, Facebook, identity, script-shifting
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2022 15:14
    Last Modified: 26 Oct 2023 17:50


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