Publication details

Literacy and literacy practices : Plurilingual connected migrants and emerging literacy



Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Second Language Writing
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Sub-Saharan African migrants; Digital writing; Emergent literacy; Multilingual literacy; Literacy naturalistic acquisition
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Description Recent migration towards Europe is characterized by the massive presence of adults whose educational paths have been interrupted and who are thus developing literacy for the first time in a new language. A literacy test elaborated at the University of Palermo, Italy, showed that, on a sample of 774 migrants, about 30 percent could not read and/or write short words. This test assessed the learners’ abilities to read and write, whether in the Roman alphabet or in other writing systems, and whether in Italian or in other languages of learners’ repertoires. These learners with emergent literacy mostly came from sub-Saharan Africa, an area characterized by diverse forms of multilingualism, and are representatives of “connected migrants” due to the centrality of digital communication practices in their migration experience; hence, the importance of research on such communication practices. This study examined the multilingual writing on Facebook of 10 migrants in Italy with emergent literacy. Findings demonstrate that these learners engage in multilingual practices which enhance their literacy competence by adopting strategies reflecting the general process of acquisition in naturalistic contexts. However, emerging writing on Facebook does not reflect participants’ interlanguage and literacy levels elicited through the test.
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