Bilingualism and Family: Parental Beliefs; Child Agency Cover Image

Bilingualism and Family: Parental Beliefs; Child Agency
Bilingualism and Family: Parental Beliefs; Child Agency

Author(s): Martha Nyikos
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Vytauto Didžiojo Universitetas
Keywords: family language maintenance; heritage language; language strategies; minority language; native language maintenance; bilingual language erosion

Summary/Abstract: Globalizing forces and choices move families out of their native language (L1) environments to places where their heritage language (L1) is in the minority. This study focuses on academic sojourner families and their school-aged children and asks how they maintain their native language, during limited stays in the USA (1-7 years). How can native language be maintained relative to the social, emotional, linguistic, and personal challenges faced by parents and children during their sojourn in the USA? Is the task of sustaining a child’s native language in the newly-entered social and scholastic context of a dominant language undermined by underestimation of the impact of erosionary forces on the heritage language? These are some of the key issues identified in a larger on-going study, of which a sub-sample of three linguistically well-informed families (parent-child pairs) is presented here. Findings include the significant impact of parental beliefs regarding the resilience of language on the maintenance of the L1 coupled with the emerging sociolinguistic competence and agency of the child in the L2 environment, which in turn can raise separate challenges for the parent, as well as the child, and for the parent-child relationship.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 5
  • Page Range: 18-40
  • Page Count: 23
  • Language: English