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Family Language Policies among Greek migrants in Luxembourg

  • Coordination: Dr Nikolaos Gogonas (Supervisor), Dr Claudine Kirsch
  • Duration: July 2014 -June 2016
  • Funding: Fonds National de la Recherche

The European South, which had only recently become a destination for immigration, seems to be experiencing a new major emigration wave due to the post-2009 financial crisis. This is especially true of Greece, the country which has been hit hardest by the economic crisis and concomitant austerity measures.

Luxembourg has attracted middle-class Greek migrants since the 1960s. Many Greeks came to Luxembourg as employees in the European Institutions and the NATO. By contrast, the newly arrived Greek immigrants have to find work on the wider job market. Immigrating to Luxembourg poses a challenge for both adults and children, as the country has three officially recognised languages and a trilingual educational system with Luxembourgish, German and French.

This project investigates Greek familie’s ideologies and beliefs regarding the value and the role of their ethnic language and the languages of Luxembourg and it investigates the factors that shape these beliefs. It further explores how these ideologies have an impact on their language management and practices in the home.

The study is original in a number of ways. First, few studies have researched the new crisis-led emigration from Southern Europe.  Second, in multilingual Luxembourg, there is a dearth of sociolinguistic studies of linguistic minorities other than the Portuguese, the biggest community in the country. Therefore the present study is filling a research gap in the literature on migrant languages in Luxembourg.