Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A cry for help



Today’s post is a bit different than usual.

As you all might know, I try to not talk about my personal life here; truth is that there is so much going on, I would not know where to start :)

But today I would like you to help me.

As some of you know, I am studying linguistics and sociology. More precisely: French, Spanish and Sociology.
Currently, I am finishing up my master’s degree and right now I focus all my energy on my master's thesis.

Together with my professor who I adore (because she is great!), I picked out a subject we both thought would be interesting to research and write about: language use of students at secondary schools with Portuguese background in Luxembourg.
Yes, at first sight that might look like another one of those scientific topics that everyone but the writer finds – well – boring but bare with me and you’ll see that it is actually quite interesting.


  • First, we consider the overall linguistic situation in Luxembourg: throughout Europe we have countries that have exactly one language as their official language. All of Europe? Well, not entirely. One small country named Luxembourg has three! Yes, that means that children grow up with Luxembourgish, a dialect a bit similar to German, then German and then French. And since we are in Europe, we need at least one “normal” foreign language, which tends to be English.

Now, as a linguist, I adore that constellation!  Luxembourg is a small country, at least compared to Germany - which in turn is tiny compared to the states.
Of course, not all people who live in Luxembourg are trilingual but let’s just assume that this is the norm.


  • Second, there are quite a bit of immigrants living in Luxembourg, in some regions up to 50%. Now it’s the turn of the sociologist in me to rejoice! How does a country manage to integrate that many people? Their cultural identity is in some cases very different from that of families who have lived in Luxembourg for generations. Other countries face a ton of problems regarding integration but apparently, Luxembourg seems to deal with it just fine.



  • Third, immigrants from the same country seem to always form a community when living abroad. I know quite some German communities in Spain and some friends live next to a Turkish one in Germany. They deal with language and cultural issues on their own and help each other. On the other hand that doesn’t really facilitate integration for their children. Now, the Portuguese communities seem to not have that problem at all. There are a lot of Portuguese organizations in Luxembourg but students seem to succeed in school like any other trilingual raised students. Even though they are probably learning four languages just for their daily life.

Now, I already have trouble with my four languages and this already includes English (for students with Portuguese background that would be five languages!) so I can’t really imagine that those students still use and practice their Portuguese.

And this is where my thesis comes into play. Some studies suggest that Portuguese is well alive within Portuguese communities in Luxembourg but those studies were made among adults. But what about their children?

Now, I need your help!

If you (or someone you know) know anyone who is Portuguese or lives in Luxembourg (or both! Yay!), would you please show him/her this entry/the link below and ask them to ask them to invite anyone they can think of?



You can find the survey here (in French because I don’t speak Portuguese) : https://fr.surveymonkey.com/s/portugais


Once I get results I can use for my thesis (hopefully in about a month), there will be a massive celebration here on this blog (with quite a lot of giveaways). Hope you are having a great week and thank you, thank you, thank you!

Xo, Johanna


3 comments:

  1. Wow, viel Glück wünsche ich Dir!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sehr interessante Sache und ich würde dir wirklich zu gerne helfen. Ich höre mich malin meinem Bekanntenkreis um! Persönlich kenne ich allerdings niemanden in Luxemburg....

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't know anyone... but I am sending you a barrelful of good luck and wishes!

    ReplyDelete

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