NAVIGATING THE CUMULATIVE EFFECTS OF FAMILY LANGUAGE POLICY DURING CHILDHOOD FOR IMMIGRANT YOUTH IN CANADA

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MEGAN MACCORMAC
KATHERINE MACCORMAC

Abstract

One of the most influential decisions that immigrant parents must make for their children involves establishing a set of rules and norms governing what language(s) they will be raised with and how they will acquire proficiency in the dominant languages of the host society, a process known as family language policy. Such decisions can have long lasting effects for immigrant children into adulthood by influencing their integration into the host society and transition towards adult life. Using retrospective, in-depth interview data collected from young immigrant adults, this study explores the ways that parental decisions made throughout an immigrant child’s life course regarding language use and learning shape their multilingual identity and attitude towards the use of multiple languages in their everyday adult life. Findings suggest that the linguistic decisions parents make in the early years of an immigrant youths’ life have lasting impacts on them in terms of connecting to family members and culture in adulthood. We found that when parents created either a flexible or strict family language policy, such policies produced more positive experiences in the migration and early settlement process for immigrant youth compared to those whose parents did not form a family language policy.

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How to Cite
MACCORMAC, M., & MACCORMAC, K. (2021). NAVIGATING THE CUMULATIVE EFFECTS OF FAMILY LANGUAGE POLICY DURING CHILDHOOD FOR IMMIGRANT YOUTH IN CANADA. Society Register, 5(2), 31-56. https://doi.org/10.14746/sr.2021.5.2.03
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Author Biographies

MEGAN MACCORMAC, University of Western Ontario

Megan MacCormac is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Western Ontario. Her research interests include historical sociology, whole family methodology, aging and the life course, and multigenerational mobility. Currently, her doctoral research addresses the lack of three-dimensional models for family research. By expanding the boundaries of whole-family methodology, Megan’s work advocates for the use of new research strategies which better reflect the lived experiences and social mobility patterns of whole families and extended kin throughout their life courses.

KATHERINE MACCORMAC, University of Western Ontario

Katherine MacCormac is a PhD candidate in the Applied Linguistics program at Western University. Katherine’s research involves examining the intricate relationship between language, identity, and power in bilingual Canada and its impacts on how multilingual immigrant FSL students negotiate their identities while acquiring proficiency in Canada’s official languages. Katherine’s research has important implications for the future of Canadian FSL education by highlighting the increased need, from the multilingual immigrant student’s perspective, of working towards more inclusive FSL curriculum and pedagogy.

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