Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Cases of Heritage Language Maintenance Among Asian Immigrant Families in the Southwestern United States
by Wang, Wenjie, Ph.D., New Mexico State University, 2018, 352; 13426314
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative, multiple-case research study seeks to understand how Asian immigrant families engage their children in learning their respective heritage languages from the parents’ home country while residing in the southwest region of the United States. The study used ethnographic interviews and field notes to collect data, and qualitative content analysis to analyze the data. Four couples (eight participants) who have U.S.-born children but are foreign-born themselves participated. Although the four couples come from different countries (China, Nepal, Iran, and Saudi Arabia) with different heritage languages (Mandarin, Nepali, Persian, and Arabic), the major findings reflect a general phenomenon of heritage language acquisition, shift, loss, revival, and maintenance. Further major findings include similar family efforts and beliefs in assisting children to maintain heritage languages, such as: (a) believing in their children’s ability and mentally preparing them for heritage language maintenance, (b) developing language rules within the home in order to form heritage language speaking habits, (c) working on heritage language proficiency, (d) providing a print-rich heritage language home environment, (e) storytelling in the heritage language, (f) practicing translation between English and the heritage language with the children, (g) learning together with children and building positive relationships, (h) including technology as part of children’s heritage language learning resources, (i) offering diverse viewpoints and questions to develop critical thinking skills, (j) getting involved with the local ethnic community, (k) keeping in close contact with grandparents and homeland relatives and friends, and (l) deepening children’s heritage language learning through visits to the homeland. Moreover, the findings also unveiled Asian immigrant families’ struggles and challenges; for example, (a) the lack of heritage language resources, (b) the lack of school community support, and (c) parents as busy international graduate students.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Araujo, Blanca E., Chávez Chávez, Rudolfo
Commitee: Cahill, Betsy, Christman, Dana E.
School: New Mexico State University
Department: Curriculum and Instruction
School Location: United States -- New Mexico
Source: DAI-A 81/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Bilingual education, Multicultural Education
Keywords: Asian immigrant families, Children’s heritage language maintenance, Family beliefs and efforts, Family challenges, Sociocultural theories
Publication Number: 13426314
ISBN: 9798607302153
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