• Sabine Little

Great Aunt Edna's Vase

Last summer in Sydney, I first started actively talking about a metaphor I have been using in my work, to help parents and children to try and take a step back from the often very emotional interpretations and attitudes towards language use in the family. The metaphor I ask families to engage with is that of a vase - what if you weren't inheriting a language, but a 'thing', which you might cherish because the person you got it from cherished it, but you yourself see no real value in it for yourself? What if you think the vase is just plain ugly? What if you love it just as much as the person you got it from?

I have used this metaphor many times in my work with families, and in many public talks since. Finally, I managed to take the time to write it up in full, drawing on literature of the use of metaphors in family work, and exploring the various affordances of 'Great Aunt Edna's Vase' in the multilingual family context.

The full article can be found here:

Little, S. (2019, Online First) 'Great Aunt Edna's Vase - Metaphor Use in Working with Heritage Language Families'. The Family Journal, DOI: 10.1177/1066480719833417 - For Green Open Access, see here.

I hope you find it useful!