A hyphenated belonging: Parental linguistic identity shaping plurilingual family language policy

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Submission Summary

This paper presents a case study of linguistic identities within a Korean / Gaelic / English-speaking family, drawn from a larger study of isolated intermarried families in regional areas of NSW, Australia. The connection between parental linguistic identity and family language policy is explored.

Submission ID :
AILA2156
Submission Type
Abstract :

Two main tendencies in Family Language Policy (FLP) are: first, seeking external control through establishing a supportive sociolinguistic environment (such as establishing links with a nearby speech community), and second, controlling the home environment through establishing family traditions and practices that support language at home (Schwartz 2010, p.180). The study from which this paper is drawn was funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and focussed on intermarried families who live in isolated circumstances, in small country towns in regional Australia. Their isolation meant that the first tendency mentioned above (establishing a supportive sociolinguistic environment) was not an option for these families, since a co-located speech community was absent. They were therefore dependent on internal family practices, along with whatever virtual contacts, and/or visits to and from overseas family members they were able to rely on, to support their FLP. Critical in shaping Family Language Policy are parents’ linguistic identities, or “parents’ personal experiences with bilingualism, biculturalism or second language learning” (King and Fogle 2006, p.703). In other words, parents’ experiences of languages will colour and influence both their aims for their children’s plurilingualism, and the practices that they bring to bear to that end. This proposition was further canvassed in Sims, Ellis and Knox (2017), that “parents construct their own understandings of plurilingualism based on their own experiences with languages. The experiences and understandings of each parent are then reconstructed in the family as they jointly build a family culture around their children that features multiple languages” (Sims et al 2017, p.779). This paper describes the linguistic identities of the parents (Mother: Korean and Australian English, Father: Gaelic, British English, Australian English and Korean) and explores how they shape both their beliefs and practices in raising their plurilingual children.

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Adjunct Associate Professor (Applied Linguistics)
,
University of New England
Adjunct Professor
,
Macquarie University
Principal Research Assistant
,
University of New England
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