17 Spartavias: Language biographies of young adults form the Romansh and Italian areas of Grisons

Kaufmann-Henkel Flurina1/2, Sala Sabrina1/2

  1. Pädagogische Hochschule Graubünden, Chur, Switzerland
  2. University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland

In the canton of Grisons, there is already a great linguistic diversity with the three autochthonous languages, Romansh, Italian, and German. However, the linguistic realities of the population of Grisons extend far beyond these three languages. Considering the heterogeneity of the Romansh idioms, Italian dialects, and allochthonous migration languages, the cantonal multilingualism takes on a far more complex character. The SNSF project Spartavias, in collaboration with the University of Fribourg and the Educational College of Grisons, is investigating language biographies of multilingual young adults from the Romansh and Italian areas of Grisons. How do young adults experience their multilingualism and how do they reflect and negotiate it? What importance do they attach in their narratives to questions of identity, educational institutions, and language policy attitudes? Questions related to processes of self-positioning and becoming positioned and the accompanying negotiation of social affiliations are the focus of this research project.

The sample consists of 19 young adults from the Italian-speaking part of Grisons and 21 from the Romansh-speaking part. For the recruiting process the focus was on young adults who grew up in mixed-language families or became multilingual in the course of their biography. All informants have recently completed their apprenticeship or Matura/FMS. The decisive factor for the sample was that the informants have changed language area. The corpus consists of transcribed language biographical interviews, which will be qualitatively evaluated in a multi-level analysis. In addition to the language biographies, all informants have prepared a language portrait according to Prof. Dr. B. Busch. This creative element will be included in the evaluation.

At "Graubünden forscht 2020" the research team provides insights into transcribed language biographies and language portraits by presenting and discussing the next steps of analysis.