Navigating the London-French Transnational Space: The Losses and Gains of Language as Embodied and Embedded Symbolic Capital

Huc-Hepher, S. 2021. Navigating the London-French Transnational Space: The Losses and Gains of Language as Embodied and Embedded Symbolic Capital. Languages. 6 (1), p. e57 57. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6010057

TitleNavigating the London-French Transnational Space: The Losses and Gains of Language as Embodied and Embedded Symbolic Capital
TypeJournal article
AuthorsHuc-Hepher, S.
Abstract

In this article, an interdisciplinary lens is applied to French migrants’ reflections on their everyday language practices, investigating how embodied and embedded language, such as accent and London-French translanguaging, serve as both in-group and out-group symbolic markers in different transnational spaces. Key sociological concepts developed by Pierre Bourdieu are deployed, including field, habitus, hysteresis and symbolic capital, to assess the varying symbolic conversion rates of the migrants’ languaging practices across transnational spaces. A mixed-methodological and analytical approach is taken, combining narratives from ethnographic interviews and autobiography.
Based on the data gathered, the article posits that the French accent is an embodied symbolic marker, experienced as an internalised dialectic: a barrier to inclusion/belonging in London and an escape from the symbolic weight of the originary accent in France. Subsequently, it argues that the migrants’ translanguaging functions as a spontaneous insider vernacular conducive to community identity construction in the postmigration space, but (mis)interpreted as an exclusionary articulation of symbolic distinction in the premigration context. Finally, the article asks whether participants’ linguistic repertoires, self-identifications and spatialities go beyond the notion of the ‘cleft habitus’, or even hybridity, to a post-structural, translanguaging third space that transcends borders.

Keywordssymbolic capital
linguistic habitus
cleft habitus
hysteresis
translanguaging
London French
in-group vernacular
accent
othering
third space
Article number57
JournalLanguages
Journal citation6 (1)
ISSN2226-471X
Year2021
PublisherMDPI
Publisher's version
License
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6010057
Web address (URL)https://www.mdpi.com/2226-471X/6/1/57
Publication dates
Published22 Mar 2021

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