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Language Maintenance in a Multilingual Family: Informal Heritage Language Lessons in Parent-Child Interactions
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4580-3002
2015 (English)In: Multilingua - Journal of Cross-cultural and Interlanguage Communiciation, ISSN 0167-8507, E-ISSN 1613-3684, Vol. 34, no 3, 319-346 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The present study explores language socialization patterns in a Persian-Kurdish family in Sweden and examines how "one-parent, one-language" family language policies are instantiated and negotiated in parent-child interactions. The data consist of video-recordings and ethnographic observations of family interactions, as well as interviews. Detailed interactional analysis is employed to investigate parental language maintenance efforts and the childs agentive orientation in relation to the recurrent interactional practices through which parents attempt to enforce a monolingual, heritage language "context" for parent-child interaction. We examine the interactional trajectories that develop in parents requests for translation that target the focus childs (a 7-year-old girls) lexical mixings. These practices resembled formal language instruction: The parents suspended the ongoing conversational activity, requested that the child translate the problematic item, modeled and assessed her language use. The instructional exchanges were asymmetrically organized: the parents positioned themselves as "experts", insisting on the childs active participation, whereas the childs (affectively aggravated) resistance was frequent, and the parents recurrently accommodated the child by terminating the language instruction. The study argues that an examination of childrens agency, and the social dynamics characterizing parental attempts to shape childrens heritage language use, can provide significant insights into the conditions for language maintenance

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
De Gruyter , 2015. Vol. 34, no 3, 319-346 p.
Keyword [en]
language maintenance; family language policy; childrens bilingual development; language ideologies; family interaction
National Category
Other Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-118043DOI: 10.1515/multi-2014-1020ISI: 000353138300002OAI: diva2:813045
Available from: 2015-05-21 Created: 2015-05-20 Last updated: 2016-03-17
In thesis
1. From family language practices to family language policies: Children as socializing agents
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From family language practices to family language policies: Children as socializing agents
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Familjers språkpraktiker och språkpolicy : barn som socialiserande aktörer
Abstract [en]

combining approaches to family language policy with a language socialization approach, the present thesis examines family interoctions in five bi/multilingual lronian families in Sweden. The foci of the thesis have emerged from viewing and analyzing video-recordings of the families' everyday interactions, interviews and observations conducted during two phases of fieldwork. The thesis explores family - parents' and children's - language practices and the ways they contribute to the construction, negotiation and instantiation of family language policies. Considering children's active role in family interactions, it explores parents' heritage language maintenance practices and children's responses to these practices. In addition, the thesis examinas siblings' contribution to familial language choices and practices.

The thesis documents parental strategies aimed at heritage language maintenance and children's bi/multilingual development. Recurrent interactional practices - through which parents attempted to enforce a monolingual, heritage language, context for parent-child interactions - were explored (Study Il. Through such exchanges the parents positioned themselves as "experts", insisting on the child's compliance, whereas the child's (affectively aggravated) resistance was frequent, and the parents recurrently accommodated the child's language choices by terminating language instruction. Such language maintenance strategies at times resulted in explicit and implicit language negotiations, and the child's growing resistance cantributed to changes in parents' language practices over time (Study Il). Siblings' contribution to shaping the language practices and language environment of immigrant families was explored in Study 111. It shows that siblings corrected each other's language use and choices and provided language instruction (in Swedish, English and heritage languages) when language-related problems occurred. By predominantly using swedish, siblings contributed to language shift. The thesis shows how family members' language practices contribute to heritage language maintenance or language shift and to shaping family language policies.

Abstract [sv]

Denna avhandling använder och kombinerar språksocialisations- och språkpolicy-ansatser och undersöker återkommande samspelssituationer i fem flerspråkiga Iranska familjer i Sverige. Avhandlingens material är videoinspelningar av familjers vardagliga interaktioner, intervjuer och observationer insamlade under två perioder av datainsamling. I fokus för analyserna är familjers språkliga praktiker och hur föräldrar och barn etablerar eller förhandlar om familjers språkpolicy. Särskilt uppmärksammas barns aktiva roll i familjers interaktioner och det dynamiska samspelet mellan föräldrars försök att bevara hemspråket och barnens agerande och förhållningssätt. Vidare studeras syskonens roll i familjernas språkval och språkanvändning.

Avhandlingen delstudier beskriver föräldrars strategier för att bevara hemspråken och för att bidra till barns flerspråkighet. Återkommande interaktionella praktiker som föräldrar använde för att upprätthålla en enspråkig hemspråkskontext för förälder-barn interaktioner beskrivs i studie I. Studien visar att barnet ofta gjorde motstånd mot föräldrars insisterande strategier. Motståndet resulterade i olika typer av explicita eller implicita förhandlingar. Barnens växande motstånd bidrog till att föräldrarna ändrade sina språkpraktiker över tid och delvis anpassade sig till barnens språkval (studie llJ. Syskonens bidrag till att utforma familjers språkliga praktiker undersöks i studie 111. Studien visar att syskon korrigerade varandras språkanvändning och språkval och initierade instruktioner på svenska, engelska och hemspråken när olika språkrelaterade problem uppkom. Syskonen använde svenska i stor utsträckning och bidrog på så sätt till språkskifte i familjerna.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2016. 58 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 676
Family language policy, multilingualism, language socialization, Familj språkpolicy, flerspråkighet, språk socialisation
National Category
Specific Languages General Language Studies and Linguistics Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-126178 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-126178 (DOI)978-91-7685-794-6 (Print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-04-22, TEMCAS, Hus T, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2016-03-17 Created: 2016-03-17 Last updated: 2016-03-22Bibliographically approved

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