The domain which we have chosen as the focus of our Linguistic Landscapes project is the “home”. Initially, we had the domain of “family”, but felt that family was too restrictive as it would be inapplicable to people who were out of contact with or lived away from their families, such as in dorms or with friends, a not uncommon situation amongst university students.
Data Collection Strategy
In order to collect data about language in and around the home, we developed a survey to explore questions relating to language, including language use, attitudes to certain languages or dialects and considerations that people make when deciding which languages or dialects to use.
In the survey, we begin by asking participants to self-evaluate the languages which they speak and their level of skill in each language before moving on to questions of language usage in the home, both by the participant and anyone else who they may live with. Finally, we explore their attitudes towards the languages which are used in their home, including their reasons for and against the usage of certain languages or dialects.
The basic survey follows. Group members can build off it to tailor the interview to their weekly topic or any new topics which arise during the interview.
- Age bracket: under 18, 18-25, 26-35, 36-45, 46-55, 56-65, 65+
- Country you currently live in?
- Country you are originally from?
- Ethnic background?
- Do you live with your family, alone, or with others?
For the purposes of this questionnaire, we are looking at how people use language in their home. Home could be where you currently live, where your family lives, or both. Please make clear which you are discussing when you respond.
- What languages do you speak? Please give an indication of competency for each (i.e. basic, beginner, intermediate, advanced, fluent/native).
- What is the main language you speak at home?
- What is/are the language(s) spoken in your home? Are these are spoken by you, others or both?
- What is the importance of your language(s) in your home?
- [If they can speak multiple languages] Are there different times/places where or people with whom you speak your languages? What/who are they?
- [If you can speak multiple languages] Are there times where you make conscious decisions to speak a specific language? What factors are these decisions based on?
- What are some issues you encounter when using your language(s) at home
- How do you (or would you) feel about these situations in the home:
- Personally speaking multiple languages?
- Others speaking multiple languages?
- Speaking a language not commonly known by others?
- Others speaking a language you don’t know?
- How do others in your home feel about the language(s) you speak?
- What is the most common language you hear and see at home? Does this language change depending on who you are with and where you are?
- What things make you feel comfortable speaking your language(s)?
- How do the languages of your home influence your identity? What role does each language play?
Our next steps will be collecting data through observations and interviews, along with photographic data, so that we can explore the use of language in the home through the lens of linguistic theory.