"Due lingue che sono entrambe mie": Biografie di parlanti 'bilingui' e 'monolingui' in un territorio di confine
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Recent research on language biographies, as collected by means of narrative interviews, has shown the usefulness of a discursive, qualitative approach when studying bi- and multilingualism, in that it provides insights on how individual speakers experience and view languages and discursively construct their identity. Taking such studies as a point of departure, the paper explores the language biographies of eight speakers living in South Tyrol, Italy, and investigates the ways they represent their linguistic repertoire (first language, second language, language varieties), and bilingualism: its definition as well as values, advantages and drawbacks that are attributed to it. Particular attention is thereby devoted to similarities and differences in the discourse of (self-defined) “bilingual” and “non-bilingual” speakers, so as to capture the peculiarities of individual life trajectories but also what may be common in the experience of growing up with one or two languages, as well as in the ways speakers define their own linguistic and cultural identity.