How Do Multilingual Children Feel About Family Language Policy at Home?

Abstract

Parents of multilingual families often wish their children to acquire a heritage language (e.g., Guardado, 2002). However, would parental language practices and family language policy solely based on their wish be effective in terms of their children’s heritage language maintenance and wellbeing? Through literature review, this presentation will discuss the need for further research on the perspectives of multilingual children on language policy at home for more resilient practices of heritage language maintenance and wellbeing. A number of studies have examined the perspectives of parents raising their children multilingually (e.g., Kim, 2011). Although multilingual children are likely to speak a majority language as they grow up (Soehl, 2016), parents hold positive attitudes toward transmitting heritage languages to their children (e.g., Park & Sarkar, 2007) and try to maintain children’s heritage language in various ways (e.g., Kwon, 2017). However, children also play a key role in family language practices (Fogle & King, 2013). In addition, parental language use following a strict language policy for heritage language maintenance has a negative emotional impact on children (Wilson, 2020). In spite of the significant role of children at home and an emotional impact on them, little has been done to investigate the perspectives of multilingual children, compared to those of parents. In particular, multilingual families in Asian contexts have not been explored in detail. Future research on the perspectives of multilingual children on heritage language maintenance and family language policy at home would shed light on a discrepancy between parents’ expectations and children’s feelings.



Author Information
Eri Takakuwa, University of British Columbia, Canada

Paper Information
Conference: ACL2022
Stream: Language Acquisition

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Posted by amp21