This ground breaking research explores language maintenance and shift focusing on a school community. Following students’ language practice inside and outside of school, the author offers a full picture of students’ multilingual practices and their role in shaping identity. Using case studies of eight girls from Vietnamese and Cambodian backgrounds, the book draws on data from questionnaires, interviews and ethnographic observation to bring these language practices to life. It explores the place of heritage languages, English and other languages in the girls’ repertoires and investigates the role they see for these languages in their lives. A key focus of the book is the role of the school environment in shaping students’ repertoires and unfolding sense of ethnic identity; both directly through formal instruction and indirectly through its ethos and social composition. It provides practical suggestions on the basis of extensive research for how schools can negotiate some of the challenges of catering to a multiethnic population. Essential reading for anyone researching migrant language practice, sociolinguistics or multicultural education.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction – A 21st Century View on Language Maintenance
2. Language and Learning at Ferndale Secondary College
3. Interlude – Contextualising the Case Studies
4. Being A ‘Good Vietnamese/ Cambodian Girl’: Lan, Van and Putrea
5. Hybrid Ways of Being: Katrina, Nhung And Nary
6. Chinese and Australian: Cathy and Mei-Yee
7. Conclusion and Implications
Louisa Willoughby is a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at Monash University. Her work focuses on the intersecting areas of language and identity, language policy and service provision for speakers of minority languages, particularly in health and education settings.
'The author problematises traditional notions of language maintenance and shift and the very concept of "heritage" languages to bring attention to the multiplicity of factors intervening in shaping the language choices. Very little is known about the impact of the homogenising effect of English-medium mainstream schooling in contemporary overtly multicultural societies. This volume allows us to discover this through the experiences of Vietnamese and Cambodian youth in Australia. This volume is a must for researchers interested in unpacking the everyday language ecology of immigrant communities.' — Aniko Hatoss, University of New South Wales, Australia
'This timely and highly accessible book looks at language practices through a range of lenses - with a focus on a multilingual and multicultural school setting in Australia. It brings new light to the way migrant teenagers – from a Southeast Asian background – learn and use language to express themselves and their identity. The volume which valuably combines a range of research methodologies is an important contribution to understanding the place of heritage languages in the everyday life of young people.' — Professor John Hajek, Research Unit for Multilingualism and Cross-cultural Communication (RUMACCC), University of Melbourne, Australia