Language and identity among British South Asians: a theoretical review.
Given the pervasiveness of language in social life and the implications that language use can have for one’s individual and collective identities, attempts were made to explore the theoretical and empirical advantages in connecting social psychological theories of identity and sociological/sociolinguistic approaches to language use and language choices in order to make sense of language and identity among second-generation British Asians. The current theoretical essay features a brief overview of the sociology of British Asians in the United Kingdom and a detailed consideration of dominant theories of identity in social psychology, namely, Social Identity Theory Tajfel (1982), Self-Aspects Model of Identity (Simon 2004) and Identity Process Theory (Breakwell 1986). It is considered that the latter two theories lend themselves readily to the study of language and identity. The present essay considers the substantive literature on language and identity and deconstructs notions such as ‘mother tongue’ in an attempt to demonstrate the constructedness of such terminology. It is argued that a social psychological approach to questions of language and identity among British South Asians is a valid one and that a qualitative methodological approach is particularly well-suited to the area under investigation.
Citation : Jaspal, R. (2010) Language and identity among British South Asians: a theoretical review. Psychological Studies, 55 (1), pp. 61-70
ISSN : 0033-2968
Research Institute : Media Discourse Centre (MDC)
Peer Reviewed : Yes