Actors’ discourses on language supplementary schools: diaspora practices and emerging ideologies

Yaron Matras, Katie Harrison, Leonie Elisa Gaiser, Stephanie Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on interviews with staff from Language Supplementary Schools (LSS) in Manchester (UK), we discuss the emergence of makeshift ideologies whereby actors seek to legitimise choices and policies of heritage language transmission in the diaspora setting. Actors discuss the use of regional and vernacular varieties, the consideration given to pupils’ multilingual repertoires, and the use of the majority language (English) as ‘scaffold’. Conscious that such practices potentially clash with the schools’ expected mission statements and prevailing ideological dispositions, actors seek to justify them. They do this with reference to changes in setting and attitudes, which they position along time and place axes, comparing origin countries with the diaspora reality, thereby forging new language narratives as a ‘diasporic stance’. We consider the discursive tools and actions of talks that constitute descriptions, explanations, justifications, and their interplay in actors’ efforts to share their perspective on practices and the attitudes that accompany them. The study shows how ideologies regarding the particular diasporic situation are shifting, and the relevance of pluralistic language repertoires within it. Methodologically, the study suggests that ideologies are not just discursive dimensions, rather they are constructed and communicated discursively, allowing us to trace their emergence using semiotic and discourse-analytical tools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1703-1716
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Manchester (UK)
  • Supplementary schools
  • diaspora
  • heritage language
  • language ideology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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