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Iranians in Sweden: A Study of Language Maintenance and Shift
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Scandinavian Languages.
2012 (English)Book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This is a survey study of language maintenance and shift among first and second generation Iranians in Sweden and is based on existing theoretical frameworks. It examines whether Iranians in Sweden are maintaining their Persian or shifting to Swedish. This is explored by examining factors at both the minority-group and individual levels, which according to many previous studies have a potential impact on the matter. The subjects are 188 Persian–Swedish bilinguals between the ages of 6 and 53. They are divided into two groups: one comprising 100 pupils, and the other 88 adults many of whom are the parents of students in the first group. The elicitation instruments are two questionnaires which explore the subjects’ language background, socioeconomic status, linguistic environment in Sweden, patterns of language use in different domains, extent of exposure to Swedish and Persian, competence in both languages, and attitudes towards their languages and countries. The results confirm many findings of the previous studies. The demographic data reveals that exogamy is increasing, especially among the younger generation. The socioeconomic results show that Iranians in western countries make a strong effort to attain the same living standard they had before migration. They believe that the key to social and economic success is knowledge of the majority language. The language socialization results demonstrate that the second generation is being socialized to a much greater extent in their second language and culture. They are also much more competent in Swedish than in Persian. The first generation not only has full-fledged Persian, but also advanced Swedish, which may be taken as evidence of their intention to integrate. It is also shown that Persian is the main instrument of communication in the families; however some Swedish is also used, especially by the younger children. Furthermore, mothers use Swedish more than fathers, because they are much more involved in their children’s education, a responsibility that demands greater second language skills, and which in turn has a direct effect on their social mobility, not only within the family but also within society as a whole.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Edita Västra Aros , 2012, 1. , 268 p.
Skrifter utgivna av Institutionen för nordiska språk vid Uppsala universitet, ISSN 0083-4661 ; 86
Keyword [en]
Persian, Swedish, language maintenance, language shift, language socialization, language competence, language-use patterns
National Category
Languages and Literature Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-171752ISBN: 978-91-506-2271-3OAI: diva2:512241
Available from: 2012-03-27 Created: 2012-03-27 Last updated: 2012-12-05Bibliographically approved

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Namei, Shidrokh
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