Family Language Policy and Immigrant Chinese Children’s Bilingual Development in New Zealand Context


The concept of Family Language Policy (FLP) and the studies on how immigrant families transmit their heritage language to the next generation had already drawn interest from researchers worldwide (Schwartz, 2010). Spolsky (2012) argues that language policy in the family domain should be further studied for a better understanding of the establishment and the sustainability of a speech community. Data was collected through two rounds of interviews, and the qualitative data was themed and key findings identified. The findings suggested that Chinese immigrant family’s FLP is focused on their heritage language maintenance based on strong practice in domain separation. The linguistic environment in their home settings were unveiled, which included their language ideology and beliefs towards both languages, the language input and exposure in home settings, the verbal interaction patterns between the parents and the children functioning as language management, as well as the parents’ effort in cultivating the children’s developing bicultural identity by providing culture-related life objects. Parents’ perspectives on supporting children’s bilingual development in educational settings are also explored and discussed. All these language practice and use were explored and reflected in their FLP. By recognising the misalignment between the immigrant families’ learning needs and the institutional discourses, the study of Chinese immigrant children’s FLP shed light on the understanding of inclusive teaching for learners from any bilingual backgrounds including Māori and Pasifika learners, as well as the many bilingual immigrant learners from various cultural backgrounds.

Author Information
Long Li, Manukau Institute of Technology, New Zealand

Paper Information
Conference: ECLL2021
Stream: Plurilingualism - Bilingualism

This paper is part of the ECLL2021 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Li L. (2021) Family Language Policy and Immigrant Chinese Children’s Bilingual Development in New Zealand Context ISSN: 2188-112X The European Conference on Language Learning 2021: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon