Wed 19 Nov: ROLLS talk Francesco Goglia

This week's ROLLS talk, Wed 19 November 13.00-14.30, Jubilee G36 ALL WELCOME

Francesco Goglia (University of Essex)
Complex linguistic repertoiresin the immigration context: the case of Igbo-Nigerian immigrants in Padua (Italy)
The Igbo-Nigerian community in Padua, in the north-east of Italy, is one of the eldest immigrant communities in Padua and part of a wider Igbo immigration, especially to North America, Europe, and Australia; the so-called Igbo Diaspora, which started in the late sixties as a result of a brutal civil war for independence and which has continued until the present day mainly because of an economic crisis.

Igbo-Nigerians are multilingual with a complex linguistic repertoire. In Nigeria, all Igbo-Nigerians who have received formal education after primary school are bilingual in Nigerian English and Igbo, or even multilingual if they speak Nigerian Pidgin English and/or other Nigerian languages. In Padua, this already complex linguistic repertoire is enriched by Italian and Veneto, the regional minority language.
This paper presents a discussion on how Igbo-Nigerians use these languages in the immigrant context and some initial indications on their maintenance. In particular, the Igbo language, as a regional minority language in the immigration context, is prone to be abandoned in favour of Italian and English.  However, the fact that Igbo is also a very important marker of Igbo identity means that the community is still using it, even if mixed with the other languages of the repertoires, and is partly passing it to the second generation. Nigerian Pidgin English is widely used even by educated speakers as a marker of ‘Nigerian-ness’ and as a lingua franca to communicate with other Anglophone African immigrants. Veneto is used, but perceived as a ‘local language’ not useful for wider communication.