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Lost in translation: the impacts of the language brokering process on the sociolinguistic identities of Arabic-speaking immigrants and refugees

Heisler, Hannah J. (2022) Lost in translation: the impacts of the language brokering process on the sociolinguistic identities of Arabic-speaking immigrants and refugees. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This project contributes to the sociolinguistic literature surrounding language brokering by examining the following research questions: how do Arabic and English-speaking immigrants and refugees construct their sociolinguistic and cultural identities? How have their experiences with language brokering influenced the formation of these identities? And what role has language brokering played in their language attitudes and experiences as immigrants and refugees? To respond to these questions, five participants—all bilingual Arabic and English-speaking immigrants and refugees—were invited to share their stories, experiences, and language attitudes via demographic surveys and interviews.
The results indicate that the language brokering process can further complicate an already-complex acculturation environment for newly arrived or recently resettled families. All five participants, having language brokered at least once for their families in the past, described nuanced, synchronous developments of their social and cultural identities as Arabs and Arab- Americans. For some participants, who already structured much of their identities around the languages they spoke, serving as a language broker effectively strengthened and validated these identities. For others, the process and its challenges prompted a great deal of self-contemplation as they endeavored to preserve their heritage cultures while coming of age in a new one. To the participants of this study, language brokering reflected a sense of pride, a family bond, a burden, a natural reflex, a way of giving back, and an extension of the Arabic language and Arab culture from one communicative context to another.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Heisler, Hannah J.hjh28@pitt.eduhjh28
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorSoudi,
Committee MemberWalters,
Committee MemberGodley, Amanda
Committee MemberBezak,
Date: 1 August 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 11 July 2022
Approval Date: 1 August 2022
Submission Date: 30 July 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 73
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: language, linguistics, language brokering, sociolinguistics, Arabic linguistics, Arabic, identity, language experience, immigration, immigrants, refugees
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2022 11:44
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2022 11:44


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