Introduction: The changing faces of transnational communities in Britain

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In this editorial introduction, we outline the key conceptualisations and overarching questions of this collection of studies on the changing faces of the transnational communities in Britain. Using the nexus of migration and language as our critical lens, we examine the internal diversities within the transnational communities in Britain, evident in the emergence of groups differing on migration trajectories, social and educational backgrounds, linguistic repertories and status assigned to community languages. We also explore how language shapes, and is shaped by, these internal diversities and wider socio-cultural-political dynamics and pay particular attention to the multilingual and translanguaging practices in these communities. We demonstrate how these communities function as sites for contestation of language and identity that can be conflictual as well as a source of othering. The introduction concludes with an outline of the contributions made by the studies in this special issue, highlighting the key claims put forward by the contributors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of the Sociology of Language
Issue number269
Early online date7 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the journal General Editor, Alexandre Duchêne, for his guidance, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. The work is sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) of Great Britain (ES/N019105/1).

Funding Information:
The conceptualisation of the special issue has been developed from our project of a multi-level (national, community and family level) investigation of family language policies in the UK, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).


  • identity
  • inequality
  • internal diversity
  • multilingualism
  • social group
  • transnational community

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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