Attitudes of parents and children toward maintaining their heritage language.
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The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes of refugee parents and children in terms of maintaining the heritage language (HL) in an environment that is ethnically dominant in a different culture. A qualitative research design consisting of interviews was used to examine how refugee parents and children felt about keeping their HL, and also culture. The languages in this research include Nepali, Burmese, Karen, and Chin. The researcher interviewed parents and children about HL maintenance. The parents that were interviewed were newcomers (living in the United States for less than four years), and not newcomers (living in the United States for more than four years). The purpose of this research was to understand why refugee parents and children have negative or positive attitudes on the topic of maintaining HL. The researcher used Fishman's (1990, 1991) Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale for Threatened Languages as a framework to describe how likely it is that populations can maintain their language. Results of this research state that HL maintenance was an occurrence in both newcomer and not newcomer families. All children and parents that were interviewed in this research had positive attitudes toward maintaining their HL. This research concludes with recommendations on how schools can maintain HL. The researcher recommended having a culturally relevant classroom, and using translanguaging as an instructional strategy. Another recommendation included how cities, such as Buffalo, can maintain HLs. A recommendation is to create a widespread message of acceptance toward HLs in public schools.
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