Some children are more different than others

Language practices in Luxembourgian nurseries

Sascha Neumann

Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to explore how professional educators in early childhood education cope with diverse linguistic environments in their daily work. The article addresses this issue by focusing on practices of language use in Luxembourgian nurseries. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is reflecting on empirical data of an ethnographic research project currently conducted in six different day care facilities for children from three months to four years old. The study uses participant observation and videography as data collection strategies. Data analysis was based on field notes and protocols, video recordings, photographs, documents, and artifacts. Findings – On the basis of the ethnographic observations, two different practical regimes of “doing linguistic diversity” are discriminated: an area of “practicing super-diversity” and an area of “practicing difference”. In the context of the second regime it becomes visible that the use of Luxemburgish as lingua franca for the communication between educators and children produces unequal distributed opportunities for foreign children when participating linguistically in the everyday life of daycare facilities. Originality/value – The paper raises serious questions about the language policies in the Luxembourgian daycare sector as well as in respect to the supposed inclusion effects of early childhood education and care, effects that both politicians and professionals emphasize regularly. This especially concerns the conceptualization of “the child” which is in use while professionals treat children as foreign language speakers.

Proposition de citation

Neumann, S. (2012). Some children are more different than others: Language practices in Luxembourgian nurseries. Qualitative Research Journal, 12(2), 183–192.

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