Multilingual Mietshaus: Language (Hi)stories at Mareschstraße 74
This chapter takes its title from the fictitious address of the real building in which the research participants live or work. The building was chosen for no particular reason other than its ordinariness and the possibility of gaining access to its inhabitants. The chapter begins with a brief historical account of the Berlin Mietshaus, the characteristic five-storey apartment block with its multiple backyards that sprang up across the city in the second half of the nineteenth century and in which a large proportion of today’s population still lives. It then focuses on one such building in particular and presents the language (hi)stories of five inhabitants, attempting to show how their experiences with language have shaped their lives and how they use these experiences to construct their life stories.