Recent years have witnessed organized efforts to utilize social approaches to multilingualism in research on families, and thus to further delimit the multilingual family as a particular field of inquiry. This overview focuses on two recent such endeavors, a special issue of the journal Language Policy entitled “Family Language Policy” (Curdt-Christiansen 2013) and a special issue of the journal Multilingua entitled “Multilingual Communication in Binational Families: Negotiating Languages, Identities and Everyday Tasks” (Ogiermann 2013). In this text, we review the contributions to these issues in detail and explore how each issue contributes to the conception and shaping of the multilingual family as the object of analysis. We consider the paradigms employed and characterize how the two journal issues complement one another. We suggest that, in addition to the family as a research focus and the presence of multiple languages, they are connected by the presence of metalinguistic behavior. The idea emerges, then, that what is understood through the lenses of policy and interaction might be more coherently interpreted through the lens of language management in the sense of Jernudd & Neustupný (1987).
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