Journal of
Languages and Culture

  • Abbreviation: J. Lang. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6540
  • DOI: 10.5897/JLC
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 132

Full Length Research Paper

Multiple identities of multilingual minorities: Values and practices influencing social, national and personal identity formation

Stefanie Siebenhütter
  • Stefanie Siebenhütter
  • Department of English and Linguistics, Faculty of Philosophy and Philology, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 01 October 2020
  •  Accepted: 05 January 2021
  •  Published: 31 January 2021


This empirical study examined the ways in which multilingualism influences the community identities of individuals and minority groups. The motivations for their specific social behaviors are rarely obvious to the multilingual speakers themselves, which made it necessary to scrutinize their behaviors and attitudes using a mixed-methods analysis (including sociolinguistic interviews, questionnaire surveys, and field observations) of the mostly unconscious processes of identity formation among multilingual Kui speakers in northeastern Thailand. The approach used, focusing on group behavior and analyzing extralinguistic sociocultural data in terms of social identity formation in a minority group, revealed specific rituals and practices. These findings add to the knowledge of overt multilingual language use in the context of multilingual Kui people and demonstrate how social psychology and sociology can be used to analyze the identities of multilingual minorities and show how multilingualism itself does not imply multiple identities. This investigation, using theories of multiple social and linguistic identities, demonstrates how important Thai national identity is and how strongly it influences identity formation in a minority group.


Key words: Identity formation, minority languages, multilingualism, extralinguistic practices, social networks, group behavior.