“Arabic is the language of the Muslims - that’s how it was supposed to be”: exploring language and religious identity through reflective accounts from young British-born Asians.
This study explores how a group of young British-born South Asians understood and defined their religious and linguistic identities, focusing upon the role played by heritage languages and liturgical languages and by religious socialisation. Twelve British-born South Asians were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule. Interview transcripts were subjected to interpretative pheno- menological analysis. Four superordinate themes are reported. These addressed participants’ meaning-making regarding ‘‘the sanctification of language’’ and the consequential suitability of ‘‘the liturgical language as a symbol of religious community’’; the themes of ‘‘ethnic pride versus religious identity’’ and ‘‘linguistic Otherness and religious alienation’’ concerned potential ethno-linguistic barriers to a positive religious identity. Findings are interpreted in terms of concepts drawn from relevant identity theories and tentative recommendations are offered concerning the facilitation of positive religious and ethnic identities.
Citation : Jaspal, R. and Coyle, A. (2010) “Arabic is the language of the Muslims - that’s how it was supposed to be”: exploring language and religious identity through reflective accounts from young British-born Asians. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 13 (1), pp. 17-36.
ISSN : 1367–4676
Research Group : Psychology
Research Institute : Media Discourse Centre (MDC)
Peer Reviewed : Yes