Ellis, E.M., Sims, M & Knox, V. (2018) The challenge of isolation in immigrant family language maintenance in regional Australia. Pages 17-35.
The critical factor determining whether children of immigrants become bilingual is strong family and community support for, and use of, the home language(s) alongside English (Pauwels, 2005). It is well accepted that children of immigrant parents often undergo language shift to English (Clyne & Kipp, 1996), that bilingualism is a cognitive and social asset to children (Wong Fillmore, 2000) and that maintaining “potential for belonging” (Bilbatua & Ellis, 2011) is a powerful motivator for families to maintain the home language. As yet, however, we know little about how bilingual families in isolated circumstances in regional Australia manage the task of passing on their home language in the absence of a co-located speech community.
This paper focuses on the challenges and impacts associated with isolation for plurilingual families in small towns in regional Australia. In this paper, selected findings are presented from a larger research project (the base study, titled ‘Bilingualism in the Bush) tracking the experiences of plurilingual families with pre-school-aged children in three regional towns over a three-year period. This paper explores each family’s language goals, aspirations, beliefs and practices. Findings reported here are that families struggle, facing extra pressures brought on by isolation from other speakers of the home language, that extended family relationships, often crucial to bilingual acquisition, can be problematic and not necessarily available for language support, and that the demands of work and study exacerbate the problems of isolation.
Full text http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-362463
Yousef, A. & Taylor-Leech, K. (2018). “It would be nice if someone took the load off you” Arabic-speaking new-Australian mothers and the challenges of heritage language maintenance. Pages 1-16
Despite a general expectation for immigrants to Australia to shift quickly to the use of English, many new-Australian families maintain strong attachments to their heritage languages. Little research has explored how recently arrived families of Arabic-speaking background in Australia preserve their heritage language while acquiring proficiency in English. In this paper, we report on part of a study that explored the family language policies of four Arab-Australian mothers as they negotiated their new language reality. Focus groups and semi-structured interviews revealed that the participating mothers considered it vitally important for their children to be proficient in both English and Arabic and they employed a range of strategies for developing their children’s bilingualism. However, they also acknowledged that maintaining their children’s heritage language could be difficult and stressful. Our paper offers insights into family language policy and the challenges of heritage language maintenance for bilingual immigrant mothers in assimilationist contexts.
Full text http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-362462
Schalley, A.C., Eisenchlas, S.A., & Gagarina, N. (2017). HOLM 2016 – The International Conference on Social and Affective Factors in Home Language Maintenance and Development. Pages 1-5
A report on a conference initiated by the International Association for Applied Linguistics (AILA) Research Network (ReN) on Social and Affective Factors in Home Language Maintenance and Development. The HOLM 2016 conference, held in Berlin in February 2016, attracted close to 70 scholars and practitioners from over 20 countries interested in home language maintenance and development who met over a period of two days to exchange ideas and discuss projects.
Full text http://hdl.handle.net/10092/13529
Fiorentino, Alice. (2017). Strategies for language maintenance in transnational adoption: which role for the parents?
This paper investigates adoptive parents’ representations of their children’s birth-language and language negotiation which takes place during early stages of transnational adoption. By drawing on the interview discourse of 20 Italian transnational adoptive parents, in the first part we will focus on the reasons that led parents to use the child’s language with him/her and with orphanage staff during the first contacts in the country of origin. In the second part, the parents reported that they relied both on productive and receptive acquired linguistic knowledge to negotiate linguistic contexts with the child. In the third part, we will describe how the mothers and the fathers rationalized the children’s linguistic transition from their first language to the parents’ language and, finally, we will explore the parents’ discourse around language shift.
Full text http://hdl.handle.net/10092/13788
Connaughton-Crean, L., & Ó Duibhir, P. (2017). Home language maintenance and development among first generation migrant children in an Irish primary school: An investigation of attitudes. Pages 22-39
This qualitative study was undertaken against the backdrop of rapidly increasing levels of immigration to Ireland and a subsequent growing increase in the percentage of children attending Irish primary schools with a first language other than English or Irish, the two official languages of the country. The research investigates the attitudes of a group of first generation minority language children, of various ethnic backgrounds, to home language maintenance and development as well as their experiences of home language use both in school and in the family home. Data were collected from 17 minority language children, aged between 10 and 13 years and living in Ireland for a period of between three and seven years. Data collection methods included focus group interviews and semi-structured individual interviews, during which participants expressed beliefs, opinions and attitudes surrounding language practices. Interviews conducted with four parents of the child participants provided additional data. In addition, an interview with the teacher of a complementary language school for Polish children highlighted the efforts made by the Polish community; the largest non-Irish group in Ireland, to promote home language maintenance in the family. The data show that while the majority of children and parents display positive attitudes to home language maintenance and development, children face challenges in continuing to develop the literacy skills in the home language. The importance of maintaining and continuing to develop the home language for continued communication with extended family members is clear. The need for familial support in relation to the opportunities children have to engage in home language learning is evident. The perceptions of English as a global language and as a valuable asset were evident among both children and parents. There is no provision made for the formal learning of home languages to children in Ireland, and the only opportunity for children to do so is limited to privately run complementary schools, which are not always accessible to all nationalities. Concerns of children and parents regarding continued development in the home language are voiced, and in most cases, these concerns are borne out of a possible return to their native countries.
Full text http://hdl.handle.net/10092/14402
Revis, M. (2017). Family language policy in refugee-background communities: Towards a model of language management and practices. Pages 40-62
As interest in the field of family language policy is burgeoning, an invitation has been issued to include more diverse families and language constellations. This article responds by presenting family language management data from Ethiopian and Colombian refugee families living in New Zealand. As part of the researcher’s ethnographic involvement in both communities, data was obtained through participant observations, interviews with parents and children, and recordings of naturally-occurring interactions between family members. Findings from both communities differ greatly: While many Ethiopian families used explicit management for their children to speak Amharic in the home, Colombian families tended to prefer laissez-faire policies as they did not direct their children’s language choice. Nevertheless, their children typically spoke Spanish, their heritage language.
As a theoretical contribution, a model is developed to coherently present the caregivers’ choice of language management and their children’s typical language practices. This model helps to uncover similarities and dissimilarities across families and communities. Since families typically moved through different management and practice constellations over time, the model also assists in identifying recurrent family language policy trajectories. The article concludes by drawing practical attention to the need and best timing for informing recent refugees about options and resources concerning intergenerational language transmission.
Full text http://hdl.handle.net/10092/14420
Jin, F., Schjølberg, S., & Tambs, K. (2017). Parental input patterns and transmission of high-status heritage languages: English and German as heritage languages in Norway. Pages 63-81
This study examines the mother-reported language practice in bilingual English/German-Norwegian, two-parent families in Norway, and explores the effects of (1) parental input patterns, (2) parental gender, and (3) status of the heritage languages (HL), on success of HL transmission and on children’s language use with siblings when the children were age five. Using mother-reported questionnaire data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa; a national birth cohort in Norway), we collected information about the languages spoken by the children and the home language use of 204 English-Norwegian and 99 German-Norwegian families. The success rate of HL transmission was reported to be 79.9% in English-Norwegian families, and 72.2% in German-Norwegian families. However, less than half of the bilingual children interacted in HL with their siblings. Different parental input patterns were found to have different effects on HL transmission and on children’s HL use with siblings. Additional HL input from the Norwegian parent seemed not only to promote HL transmission, but also increase the probability of children’s HL use with siblings. Mothers being the HL user was associated with higher rates of HL transmission and higher rates of children’s HL use with siblings.
Full text http://hdl.handle.net/10092/14580
Machowska-Kosciak, M. (2017). ‘To be like a home extension’: Challenges of language learning and language maintenance – lessons from the Polish-Irish experience.
The research described in this paper investigates issues related to language socialization of four adolescent Polish immigrant children attending different post-primary schools in Ireland. The focus is on how heritage (Polish) language socialisation goals affect these children’s identity negation as they grow up in a multilingual environment, and as they try to find their place in a new country and society. In particular, this paper examines the ways in which the children construct themselves as authoritative or unauthoritative heritage language speakers
The theoretical background, methodology, and final results are set from the longitudinal study (5 years) involving such students and their families, two of whom also attend weekend Polish schools in addition to mainstream secondary schools. The theoretical and analytical approach combines an Ethnography of Communication approach to data collection and field work, such as participant home and school observations, audio-recordings of children’s interactions with their peers, their teachers and parents, open-ended interviews, children’s samples of school work with Discourse Analysis approaches (Duff, 1995; Davis & Harre 1990, Harre & Langenhove, 1999, Ochs & Capps, 2001).
A particular focus is placed on epistemic, moral and affective stances taken by the children in question. Certain aspects of agency, such as variable participation, allegiances with heritage language peer groups, affective and epistemic stances taken with respect to sociohistorical norms and values of the Polish language and culture are illustrated. The results of the analysis are interpreted in terms of heritage language socialisation (Ochs, Schieffelin, & Duranti, 2011), describing how different educational contexts may influence children’s identity negotiation. This micro-analysis of heritage children language socialisation is contextualized within a more holistic account of the Polish community in Ireland (Singleton, 2007) – a community culturally shaped by, and in turn shaping, wider societal and educational ideologies, values and power relations.
Full text https://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/handle/10092/14903
Bohnacker, U., Lindgren, J., & Öztekin, B. (2016). Turkish- and German-speaking bilingual 4-to-6-year-olds living in Sweden: Effects of age, SES and home language input on vocabulary production. Pages 17-41
This paper investigates vocabulary production in the minority home languages of 40 Turkish-Swedish and 38 German-Swedish bilingual preschoolers aged 4;0–6;11, growing up in Sweden. We explore how age, SES, and exposure via mother-tongue instruction and home language use in the family affect child vocabulary skills. This has not previously been investigated in Sweden. Cross-linguistic Lexical Tasks (CLTs; Haman, Łuniewska & Pomiechowska, 2015) were used to test noun and verb production in Turkish and German. Background information was collected using a parental questionnaire. The two bilingual groups performed equally well in their respective home languages, Turkish and German. There were no effects of age, socio-economic status (SES) or mother-tongue instruction on vocabulary. However, input in the home setting had a clear effect. Children whose parents used the home language to the child and to each other had significantly higher vocabulary production scores. Having additional home-language input providers such as friends also affected the scores. These results from a Swedish context echo findings from studies of other language combinations and reveal the importance of input for the development of expressive vocabulary.
Full text http://hdl.handle.net/10092/12907
Albury, N. (2016). Holding them at arm’s length: A critical review of Norway’s policy on Sámi language maintenance. Pages 1-16
Norway’s policy on its indigenous Sámi minority is oftentimes heralded as best practice in fostering self-determination and home language maintenance. Norway’s policy rhetoric indeed promises that all Sámi have a right to develop their home language, and that all Norwegian children will become familiar with Sámi languages and culture. However, this paper takes a more critical perspective of Norway’s policy. It argues that rhetoric has not been operationalised to benefit all Sámi nor promote Norwegian familiarity with the languages. Instead, the state appears to juggle its legislative obligations to promote the Sámi languages with an ongoing ideology in the community that the Sámi languages cannot be seen as contributing to the contemporary Norwegian nation. To make this argument, the paper firstly reviews the state’s Sámi language policy to discuss fractures between rhetoric and policy. It then reports the findings of a case study whereby public online debates over the past five years about the Sámi languages in a national context were critically analysed. The case study indeed reveals a vigorous preference to hold the Sámi languages at arm’s length, for reasons such as that the languages endanger Norwegian identity, that the Sámi do not deserve an indigenous status, that the Sámi are foreign to Norway and, conversely, that the Sámi do not fulfil their responsibilities as Norwegian citizens. The paper concludes that a potent Norwegian ideology against the Sámi languages may explain the state’s reluctance to implement its high-level policy promises.
Full Text http://hdl.handle.net/10092/12906