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Communication Dans Un Congrès Année : 2019

Language practices of asylum seekers in France : Focus on Urdu speakers


This paper draws upon the ongoing empirical observations on the language practices and rights of asylum seekers in the camps of France. The fieldworks and first premilinary observations were conducted in the four different sites under the framework of the research project « Linguistic and intercultural mediations in a context of international migrations » (Liminal) funded by National Agency of Research (ANR), France. The four sites are Calais and three camps are located in the Paris region. Ethnographic and sociolinguistic tools like questionnaire, interviews, field notes, participant observations were employed in order to collect the data. The main findings are that though the French language is the absolute hinderance for South Asian migrants, many associations and in particularly England based associations have eased somewhat the addressals by providing services of interpreters and translators besides English as the lingua franca. Different degree of truncated competencies in English of the asylum seekers as well as the social workers of the associations were noted. French classes are regularly held for those migrants who have been granted a residence in some of the camps. Other languages like varietes of Arabic, Berbere and languages of Africa like Soninké, Bambara, Haussa, Swahili were also found to be spoken by the social workers. It is considered as the linguistic right that the application of asylum seekers are heard and interviewed in their mother tongue. Urdu appears to be the vehicular languages among the different ethnicities of Pakistan and Afghanistan in order to communicate between them and with the researchers. Camps have the ambiance of superdiversity where the different representation of identities and languages are mobilized. A growing number of lexical items have emerged as the « language of the migrants » which are employed also as the lingua franca and some common items are used with different meanings in different languages.


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Dates et versions

hal-02342864 , version 1 (01-11-2019)


  • HAL Id : hal-02342864 , version 1


Shahzaman Haque. Language practices of asylum seekers in France : Focus on Urdu speakers. 5th International Conference of Applied Linguistics. Languages and People: Communication in a Multilingual World, Meilute Ramoniene, Sep 2019, Vilnius, Lithuania. ⟨hal-02342864⟩
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