The impact of bilingual education on Hungarians' identities and sociolinguistic practices

Patricia A. Duff

University of British Columbia, Canada

WS161: Bilingual education recast in the wake of globalisation: researching the second/foreign language interface

The advent of bilingual education in Hungary in the late 1980s involving Western languages such as English offered young Hungarians opportunities for innovative, intensive, and immersive language study. It also involved socialization into new ideologies, new/hybrid sociolinguistic practices (e.g., replacing the longstanding classroom recitation activity called feleles), and into more cosmopolitan identities as Europeans and English-speaking citizens of the world (Duff, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997; Duff & Hornberger, in press). In the nearly two decades since then, bilingualism (and trilingualism) has become more commonplace in certain sectors of Hungarian society and across many elementary and secondary schools and postsecondary institutions, particularly with Hungary’s membership in the European Union since 2004 and the increasing effects of globalization. The role and status of English have consequently changed, as have students’ attitudes and motivation toward it, as revealed by large-scale longitudinal survey research by Dörnyei, Csizér, and Németh (2006).

This study represents an in-depth qualitative follow-up to my earlier research by selecting two cities/sites from the original study of three cities/sites and two sets of former research participants (e.g., then-students, teachers, and administrators; about 20/site). The former participants were interviewed individually about the impact of their (past) bilingual education on their current identities, ideologies, and sociolinguistic practices, whether as teachers, other professionals, or as members of European or global society more generally. Observations of current classroom discourse involving Hungarian and English were also conducted to determine changes in sociolinguistic practices at the same secondary schools over the nearly 20-year period. Finally, the interviews and observations were complemented with an analysis of newspaper and other publications regarding the current status of English and bilingualism/multilingualism and related language ideologies in Hungary. The implications of this study for other research on language socialization and bilingual education are discussed.

Session: Themed Panel (part 1)
Bilingual education recast in the wake of globalisation: researching the second/foreign language interface
Thursday, April 3, 2008, 13:45-15:15
room: 02