10. Enhancing research on family language and educational policies in multilingual and underprivileged contexts

immigrant minority languages; underprivileged multilingual families; language maintenance; FLP; educational policies

Katja F. Cantone, University of Duisburg-Essen
Simona Montanari, California State University, Los Angeles

Research on language maintenance in the context of migration has either examined the micro-level of language policy – the family – without taking into account its relation to educational language policies (e.g. King, Fogle & Logan-Terry, 2008, King & Wright-Fogle, 2013, King, 2016) or has focused on the vitality of immigrant minority languages through large-scale studies of school populations without understanding the language beliefs and aspirations of parents and families (Extra & Yağmur). Moreover, research on educational policies for multilingual students has often taken a deficit perspective, failing to recognize that community- and home-based knowledge, culture, and languages can act as an effective bridge to academic success for language minority students (MacSwan, 2018).
Taking a sociolinguistic perspective on intergenerational and institutional language transmission and maintenance – including ideologies, attitudes and language use – the main goal of the workshop is to promote innovative theoretical and methodological frameworks to study the interconnection of family and educational language policies in multilingual and underprivileged contexts as well as the benefits of an asset perspective when studying multilingual and underprivileged children. Focusing on the fluctuating extra-linguistic circumstances related to the maintenance of immigrant minority languages, we want to break new ground and discuss research approaches from different perspectives as shown in the following:
1) How can the gap between home and school language policies be bridged to provide a learning environment for students that is conducive to the development of their multiple languages and academic literacy? This will be discussed in the input by Xiao Lan Curdt-Christiansen.
2) How can scientific research promote language education policies in multilingual and underprivileged contexts that are asset-based? This will be discussed by Jeff MacSwan.
3) What do we know about language transmission and maintenance in precarious living conditions? Specifically, how do foster care and school language policies affect language transmission and maintenance among multilingual underprivileged children who are placed outside of their family? This will be discussed in Judith Purkarthofer’s input.
4) How can results from these understudied research areas and populations promote a more inclusive framework to study overall language transmission and maintenance?
This section is organized as a workshop. Each of the speakers give an input and propose new agendas for the area under discussion. We also seek an audience session, where everyone can participate. This innovative format will encourage exchange and possibly new collaborations.
Extra, G., & Yağmur, K. (Eds.). 2004. Urban multilingualism in Europe: Immigrant minority languages at home and school. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
King, K. A. 2016. Language Policy, Multilingual Encounters, and Transnational Families. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 37 (7): 726–733.
King, K. A., & Wright Fogle, L. 2013. Family Language Policy and Bilingual Parenting. Language Teaching 46 (2): 172–194.
King, K. A., L. Fogle, & A. Logan-Terry. 2008. Family Language Policy. Language and Linguistics Compass 2 (5): 907–922.
MacSwan, J. 2018. Academic language as standard language ideology: A renewed research agenda for asset-based language education. Language Teaching Research, 24(1), 28-36. DOI: 10.1177/1362168818777540

  1. Building Bridges between Multilingual Families and Schools:  New Theoretical and Methodological Frameworks, Xiao Lan Curdt-Christiansen
  2. Language maintenance in foster care – family language policies and their social and educational contexts, Judith Purkarthofer
  3. Asset-based Language Education Policies in Multilingual Contexts, Jeff MacSwan
  4. Intersections of official and family language policy: Mixed-methods findings, Alexa Ahooja, Susan Ballinger, Ruth Kircher, Melanie Brouillard, Linda Polka and Krista Byers-Heinlein
  5. Child-initiated Codeswitches in Parent-Child Interactions Before and After the Transition to Preschool, Sarah Surrain and Gigi Luk
  6. Heritage language transmission: Saturday schools perspectives from parents’ attitude, Eglė Gudavičienė