WP99 Placing shibboleths at the institutional gate: LADO tests and the construction of asylum seekers? identities

Detailleur & Spotti


The face of migration in Europe has changed quite dramatically after 1991, A new pattern of migration has emerged across many European urban conglomerates, involving a far more diverse population originating from Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. It is against this background that the present paper focuses on the nation-state’s machinery and strives to uncover how a high modern understanding of language is used in the Language Analysis for the Determination of Origin (LADO) of asylum-seeking migrants to the Netherlands. More specifically, the
paper focuses on the case of an Arabic speaking Sudanese asylum seeker and it examines the LADO test and the authorities that perform it. This case is therefore analytical and theoretical, yet it has also practical implications for applied linguistics. Authorities work toward pinpointing the identity of an applicant through a sociolinguistic analysis that addresses language as a resource of origin. Instead, we claim that the LADO analysis ought to be driven by an understanding of language as a spatio-temporal resource, linked to macro socio-political events that have characterized the life and the migration history of the applicant.