Journal of Home Language Research

Published by Stockholm University Press
Online ISSN: 2537-7043
This paper investigates vocabulary production in the minority home languages of 40 Turkish-Swedish and 38 German-Swedish bilingual preschoolers aged 4;0–6;11, growing up in Sweden. We explore how age, SES, and exposure via mother-tongue instruction and home language use in the family affect child vocabulary skills. This has not previously been investigated in Sweden. Cross-linguistic Lexical Tasks (CLTs; Haman, Łuniewska & Pomiechowska, 2015) were used to test noun and verb production in Turkish and German. Background information was collected using a parental questionnaire. The two bilingual groups performed equally well in their respective home languages, Turkish and German. There were no effects of age, socio-economic status (SES) or mother-tongue instruction on vocabulary. However, input in the home setting had a clear effect. Children whose parents used the home language to the child and to each other had significantly higher vocabulary production scores. Having additional home-language input providers such as friends also affected the scores. These results from a Swedish context echo findings from studies of other language combinations and reveal the importance of input for the development of expressive vocabulary.
The process of systematizing categories into themes.
Multilingual Books.
Wall posters and pictures.
Multimodal learning resources.
Children’s view of family language practices and their agency therein is regarded as important in the study of family language policy (FLP). This work extends the notion of the linguistic landscape to the private family domain and uses the innovative methodological approach of “homescape walking tour” to engage young children (6 to 7-years-old) in the data generation process. During the walking tours, children in Chinese-German families guided the researcher through their homes, taking pictures of objects containing “languages” and sharing their lived experiences with these resources. In a further step, parents were invited to share their opinions about their FLP and the objects photographed by their children. More than 120 pictures gathered from the walking tours and transcribed interviews were analyzed in order to comprehend the multimodal linguistic practices of the families and the individual experiences family members create with such practices and resources. The results show that the application of the concept of homescape with its discursive constructions from both “user” (the children) and “designer” (the parents) perspectives can powerfully open up spaces for the co-construction of the family spaces. The homescapes are represented both as opportunities for language learning and as identity presentation. While parents tend to emphasize the intention behind the design of the homescapes and their wishes for their children to learn languages, children concentrate on their way of using different linguistic resources and playful activities.
In Norway, 92% of all children between 1 and 5 attend early childhood education and care (ECEC), and 18% of these children are minority language speakers. The Framework Plan for Content and Tasks of Kindergartens (Ministry of Education, 2017, p. 24) states that ECEC staff shall ‘help ensure that linguistic diversity becomes an enrichment for the entire group of children and encourage multilingual children to use their mother tongue while also actively promoting and developing the children’s Norwegian/Sami language skills’. In this paper, we present a study of how home language (HL) support takes place within the context of Norwegian ECEC, focusing on the strategies used by the staff to promote HL use. After analysing 26 narratives from practice, we found that the most common strategies employed were initiating activities that encourage HL use, facilitating metalinguistic conversations and consulting/involving language experts. The strategies available depend on contextual factors, such as the number of children present and the languages spoken by both children and staff. The HL support strategies are discussed in light of the interplay between teachers’ language ideologies, planned actions and spontaneous responses in situations where children’s HLs are involved inspired by the theories in García, Johnson and Seltzer’s study (2017).
This paper investigates adoptive parents' representations of their children's birth-language and language negotiation which takes place during early stages of transnational adoption. By drawing on the interview discourse of 20 Italian transnational adoptive parents, in the first part we will focus on the reasons that led parents to use the child's language with him/her and with orphanage staff during the first contacts in the country of origin. In the second part, the parents reported that they relied both on productive and receptive acquired linguistic knowledge to negotiate linguistic contexts with the child. Language negotiation has been described by the parents as involving the practice of intercomprehension, a plurilingual communicative strategy, which allows participants to speak their first language, while exhibiting receptive competences in the language of the other. Eventually, in the third part, we will describe how the mothers and the fathers rationalized the children's linguistic transition from their first language to the parents' language and, finally, we will explore the parents' discourse around language shift. Examining parents' perceptions of the role that language plays in the experience of adopting contributes to understanding the negotiation which takes place over the topic of language maintenance in specific contexts where parents and children have divergent linguistic repertoires.
Norway’s policy on its indigenous Sámi minority is oftentimes heralded as best practice in fostering self-determination and home language maintenance. Norway’s policy rhetoric indeed promises that all Sámi have a right to develop their home language, and that all Norwegian children will become familiar with Sámi languages and culture. However, this paper takes a more critical perspective of Norway’s policy. It argues that rhetoric has not been operationalised to benefit all Sámi nor promote Norwegian familiarity with the languages. Instead, the state appears to juggle its legislative obligations to promote the Sámi languages with an ongoing ideology in the community that the Sámi languages cannot be seen as contributing to the contemporary Norwegian nation. To make this argument, the paper firstly reviews the state’s Sámi language policy to discuss fractures between rhetoric and policy. It then reports the findings of a case study whereby public online debates over the past five years about the Sámi languages in a national context were critically analysed. The case study indeed reveals a vigorous preference to hold the Sámi languages at arm’s length, for reasons such as that the languages endanger Norwegian identity, that the Sámi do not deserve an indigenous status, that the Sámi are foreign to Norway and, conversely, that the Sámi do not fulfil their responsibilities as Norwegian citizens. The paper concludes that a potent Norwegian ideology against the Sámi languages may explain the state’s reluctance to implement its high-level policy promises.
Due to the specific context of language acquisition and language learning within a migration situation, students may have only restricted opportunities to acquire literacy (reading and writing) in their heritage language in institutional settings. Therefore, in migration contexts, students’ literacy skills in different languages may follow different developmental paths resulting in various levels of reading and writing skills. While previous research has shown that the exposure to different scripts in biscriptual bilinguals may contribute to the heterogeneity of writing skills in a heritage language, the role of scriptual skills in constituting complex literacy profiles of both reading and writing remains to be clarified. Utilising Latent Transition Analysis, the present study investigates students’ profiles of scriptual skills in reading and writing and the patterns of change within the profiles occurring over time. This study draws on the data of the German panel study “Multilingual Development: A Longitudinal Perspective” (MEZ). Overall, it analyzes the development of scriptual skills in Russian as a heritage language of 131 German-Russian bilinguals from the two cohorts (grade 7 and grade 9) over three waves. The results reveal different developmental patterns for scriptual skills in reading and writing of biscriptual bilinguals and suggest that the use of the Latin script may serve as the bridge to biscriptuality. Furthermore, the findings highlight the role of heritage language classes in the development of scriptual skills.
Langacker provided new schema-based descriptions of linguistic categories when he was questioning traditional theories of categorization. Langecker's model of grammar deals with the reflection of grammatical subsystems of concepts related to space and time in language. Also he explains how phenomena such as attention and point of view are encoded in language. The present research aimed to explore the differences of the three groups of sighted, semi-blind and blind students in terms of usage and distribution of linguistic categories. Method: sampling method in this research was matched sampling method. So the sighted student group matched with visually impaired group in socialfactors. The research instrument was a researcher-made questionnaire revised after validity and reliability analysis. The new revised questionnaire was applied on three groups. Participants were 160 students being educated at a primary school. Data were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. The results showed a higher mean rank for sighted groups in most of the linguistic categories on the questionnaire. In Longacker’s terms, the three groups' differences of mean rank were more considerable in questions asked about relational categories rather than nominal categories. Also in line with previous research, the present study shows that semi-blind students acquire abstract words at older ages compared to their sighted and blind groups. The results of this study highlight that visually impaired students have a lower mean rank in both relational and nominal categories. It can be concluded that the visual perceptual impairments can cause serious damages partly to nominal categories and more widely to relational categories.
Participants' family compositions and education levels
As interest in the field of family language policy is burgeoning, an invitation has been issued to include more diverse families and language constellations. This article responds by presenting family language management data from Ethiopian and Colombian refugee families living in New Zealand. As part of the researcher’s ethnographic involvement in both communities, data was obtained through participant observations, interviews with parents and children, and recordings of naturally-occurring interactions between family members. Findings from both communities differ greatly: While many Ethiopian families used explicit management for their children to speak Amharic in the home, Colombian families tended to prefer laissez-faire policies as they did not direct their children’s language choice. Nevertheless, their children typically spoke Spanish, their heritage language. As a theoretical contribution, a model is developed to coherently present the caregivers' choice of language management and their children’s typical language practices. This model helps to uncover similarities and dissimilarities across families and communities. Since families typically moved through different management and practice constellations over time, the model also assists in identifying recurrent family language policy trajectories. The article concludes by drawing practical attention to the need and best timing for informing recent refugees about options and resources concerning intergenerational language transmission.
Research priorities for the effects of heritage language education in Spain.
Across and even within European states, heritage language education (HLE) for pupils with a migration background varies considerably, as do the political and academic discourses surrounding HLE. Due to the intensified public discourse around migration, educational opportunity and multilingualism, research on heritage languages (HL) and HLE has increased in recent years (Mehlhorn, 2020). However, there is still little agreement among scholars concerning the role of HLE for children's linguistic, educational or personal development. Although studies suggest that support for heritage languages does not bear negative consequences, empirical findings on the optimal design and delivery of heritage language lessons (HLLs) are still lacking. How, then, should research be prioritised in different contexts? We consulted a large cross-national survey on research priorities for multilingualism and language education (Duarte et al., 2020) in order to uncover findings relating specifically to HLE. The findings derive from the rankings of research priorities by panels of expert participants (n = 300) in five European countries: Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. The rankings indicate that research on HLE is considered important in all countries, albeit to a lesser degree in Spain. Research on the effects of HLE on the majority language and subject comprehension was deemed most important by the expert participants, or at least as urgent as effects on the heritage language itself. Experts also attributed importance to topics concerning HLE quality. Other findings point to country-specific priorities. We present the overall results from two sets of questions concerning research on HLE and attempt to offer qualitative interpretations of these findings.
Principal component analysis of mindset scale
Details about the relationship between L2 proficiency level and mindset
This study aimed to investigate the correlation between mindset and personal variables of EFL learners at both a private and a state university in Turkey. Quantitative methods were used, and Dweck's Mindset Instrument (DMI), which is a Likert-type scale, was administered to collect a set of data. Three demographic factors; namely gender, the program enrolled, and L2 proficiency level were used as variables. The study was conducted at the Preparatory School of Gazi University and Atılım University, with 203 participants. The data obtained from the scale were analyzed through both descriptive and inferential statistics using SPSS Statistics 21.0. Quantitative methods were used, and Dweck's Mindset Instrument (DMI) was administered to collect data. Findings revealed that male participants tended to have a more fixed mindset than female participants. However, no correlation was found between mindset and participants' program enrolled. Likewise, it was discovered that mindset and L2 proficiency level of participants were not correlated with each other.
heritage/home language (HL), parental input patterns, transmission, English/German-Norwegian bilingual families, HL status, parental gender effect
Top-cited authors
Ute Bohnacker
  • Uppsala University
Buket Oztekin
  • Uppsala University
Josefin Lindgren
  • Uppsala University
Irina Usanova
  • University of Hamburg
Susana A. Eisenchlas
  • Griffith University