Language and Mobility: Unexpected places

This is a brilliant book. Reading Language and Mobility sensitises one not only to the relative unimportance of some of the traditional sociolinguistic taxonomies but also to the obstacles they can place in the way of understanding how people use the linguistic repertoire they have at their disposal in the spaces where they happen to be. The book also explores these ideas within the context of ‘cultures of mobility’ through examples such as the unexpected presence of the Cornish language in places as diverse as Patagonia and South Australia.

Alastair skilfully interweaves evocative parables drawn from his family’s colonial past and his own history as a language learner with a meticulously developed theoretical framework. His thought-provoking book will prove to be a rich intellectual resource for anyone seeking to better understand the complex linguascapes of globalised cities such as Sydney and for those who wish to go beyond standard categories in order to explain the unexpected (and too often ignored) literacies that children bring with them when they commence schooling. This is directly due to the critical stance Language and Mobility adopts towards concepts like bilingualism, mobility and the force of institutional expectations about language use in rich, diverse and interactive cultures like Australia.

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Liam Morgan, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Language and Mobility: Unexpected places by Alastair Pennycook

Alastair Pennycook is Professor of Language Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. His recent book Language as a Local Practice was shortlisted for the BAAL book award, an award he’s won twice before.

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This review was first published by UTS: Newsroom

 

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