‘She doesn’t speak Hebrew, she speaks English:’ a case of language socialisation of a quadrilingual girl

Nurit Gur-Yaish, Sujoud Hijazy, Eden Mazareeb, Mila Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Limited research to date has addressed the language socialisation of transnational children during global movement with their parents. The aim of this study was to explore the complexity of language socialisation for a transnational child experiencing a multilingual environment both at home and in preschool. This transnational English – and Spanish-speaking girl was immersed in two novel languages, Hebrew and Arabic, in a bilingual Hebrew- and Arabic-speaking preschool in Israel. Drawing on Bronfenbrenner’s human ecology theory, the research questions were as follows: (1) What is the role of this child’s social information processing during socialisation in her novel languages? (2) What is the role of peers and teachers in the child’s socialisation in her novel languages in the multilingual classroom environment? A qualitative methodology was applied to collect and document data using ethnographic methods such as fieldnotes, video-recorded observations, and semi-structured interviews with teachers during one academic year. The study reveals the uniquely complex situation of this multilingual transnational child, who was in the challenging position of having to develop social skills and simultaneously make progress in learning her novel languages. The study highlights the role of peers and classroom teachers as anchors in this girl’s complex language socialisation process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029-1043
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Transnational child
  • human ecology theory
  • language socialisation
  • multilingual development and education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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