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Title:"Am I Korean American?": beliefs and practices of parents and children living in two languages and two cultures
Author(s):Han, Heekyung
Director of Research:Walsh, Daniel J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Daniel J. Walsh
Doctoral Committee Member(s):McCarthey, Sarah J.; Anderson, Richard C.; Lo, Adrienne S.
Department / Program:Curriculum and Instruction
Discipline:Elementary Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
bilingual development
heritage language maintenance
Language ideology
Language Socialization
Abstract:The purpose of this study is to explore attitudes and practices regarding their heritage language and the dominant English language among Korean American immigrant families. Using the framework of Language Ideology (Silverstein, 1979), I had three research questions: a) why do parents send their children to a Korean language school, b) what attitudes do immigrant parents and their children show toward Korean and English, and c) how are the parents and children involved in the practices of these two languages? I conducted a survey of parents whose children attended a Korean language school in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, where the number of Korean sojourners (temporary residents) exceeds that of Korean immigrants. Forty participant parents provided demographic information. They described their children's language-use patterns depending on interlocutors as well as their language proficiency in both Korean and English. The reasons for sending their children to the Korean language school were significantly different depending on the respondents' residential status. In comparison to the sojourners, immigrants tended to give more priority to their children's oral language development and Korean identity construction. I also conducted case studies of three Korean immigrant families with 3- to 5-year-old children, using interviews, observations, and photographs of children's work. The collected data were analyzed according to themes such as daily life, parental beliefs about two languages, practices in two languages, children's attitudes toward two languages, and challenges and needs. Despite individual families' different immigration histories, the three families faced some common challenges. Because of their busy daily routines and different lifestyles, the immigrant families had limited interactions with other Koreans. The parents wanted their children to benefit from two communities and build a combined ethnic identity as Korean Americans. I argue that a Korean language school should expand its role as a comfort zone for all Koreans and Korean Americans. This study explores the heterogeneity among Korean sojourner and immigrant families and their language use and identity construction.
Issue Date:2011-08-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Heekyung Han
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-08-25
Date Deposited:2011-08

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