Journal of Sociolinguistics

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Learning language regimes: Children's representations of minority language education

Abstract Minority language education initiatives often aim to resist dominant language regimes and to raise the social status of migrant or autochthonous minorities. We consider how participating children experience these alternative language regimes by analysing drawings made by children in two minority education settings—a Slovene‐German bilingual school in Austria and an Isthmus Zapotec (Indigenous) language and art workshop in Mexico. We examine how children's drawings represent language regimes in the social spaces they inhabit. Considering these drawings in relation to ethnographic observations and interviews with educators, we illustrate differences between how the social spaces are planned by educators and how they are represented and experienced by learners. Generally speaking, the children in our studies depict flexible, multilingual experiences and spaces, in contrast to the educators’ agendas of separating or emphasizing languages for pedagogical purposes. Mexican children's perception of themselves as participants in fluid language regimes, and Austrian children's increasing appropriation of multilingual space over time through both (school‐like) routines and (fun) exceptions can inform the efforts of minority language educators.

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