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Bookmark and Share Paper 1297

"And Ain't I a Woman?" Senegalese Women Immigrants, Language Use, Acquisition, and Cultural Maintenance in an African Hair-Braiding Shop
Shartriya Collier
66-75 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This study examines the linguistic and cultural journey of three Senegalese women in an African hair-braiding shop in Philadelphia. The study identifies the shop as a community of practice and examines investment and motivation as tools that supplement or hinder the acquisition of English. Moreover, this research study was designed to identify generational differences in second language acquisition. Additionally, the study examines how the hair braiding shop serves as an enclave for the merging of two cultures, American and Senegalese. Lastly, this unique employment niche is examined as a means of gaining greater insight into a Senegalese female immigrant's identity transformation process as she journeys from one culture to another. This pioneering qualitative study explores the life experiences of an immigrant group that has been ignored by the field of academia. An ethnographic sojourn, this research lends insight into second language acquisition within a social context. It also illustrates the power relations and the cultural balancing of identity that are undergone by all immigrant populations.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference on African Linguistics: African Languages and Linguistics in Broad Perspectives
edited by John Mugane, John P. Hutchison, and Dee A. Worman
Table of contents
Printed edition: $280.00