Indeterminate Future and Language Acquisition Practices Among Temporary and Permanent Immigrant Families

Yeon Sun (Ellie) Ro, Gregory Cheatham, Jeonghee Choi

Abstract


In-depth investigation of permanent and temporary families’ daily educational activities in diverse settings—home and their communities (e.g., school, after-school, playground, heritage language school, church)—creates a picture of daily bilingual discourses, literacy practices, and socio-cultural influences. As a part of an ethnographic longitudinal seven-year study, the study presented in this paper focused on two immigrant families’ transnational biliteracy practices as they relate to identity transformation, linguistic ideology, and socio-cultural influences on home/heritage language/literacy retention and development. These factors appear likely to impact heritage language retention and acquisition as they relate to U.S. immigrant families’ indeterminate residency futures. Thus, this study focused on socially-shaped and culturally-influenced bilingual and biliteracy development and the vector of residential indeterminacy related to the challenges of heritage language and literacy maintenance and development of two immigrant children and their families. Different types of immigration patterns and families’ decision making changes about their future residency affect young language learners’ ethnic, cultural, and linguistic identity as they are embedded in their daily bilingual and biliteracy practices. Literacy researchers and educators can attend to young diverse learners’ linguistic and socio-cultural backgrounds as they relate to each family’s own story of residential history as well as determinate or indeterminate residency futures.

 


Keywords


bilingual practice, immigration, language and literacy, childhood education

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