"Church is like a mini Korea": the potential of migrant religious organisations for promoting heritage language maintenance

Sun Jung Joo*, Alice Chik, Emilia Djonov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Immigration from diverse countries of origin has brought to Australia a great linguistic diversity. Moving to Australia, many migrant communities tend to shift from their heritage languages (HLs) and shift to English. Korean migrant communities, however, buck this trend. Notable within the Korean communities are ethnic church congregations, which offer social networks to maintain Korean identity. Focusing on the Korean communities in Australia, this study extends the limited knowledge about the potential of migrant religious organisations to promote HL maintenance. Specifically, drawing on data from 300 surveys collected from parents and semi-structured interviews with eight parents and their children, this study compares experiences of HL maintenance among families who attend a Korean church with those who do not. A key finding is that families affiliated with a Korean church are more likely to prioritise HL learning, practise the language and be proficient in the language than those who are not. Additionally, participants in this study reported that Korean churches provide valuable opportunities for HL learning. This study contributes to an understanding of the intertwined dynamics of migration, religion and language.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
JournalApplied Linguistics Review
Early online date10 Jan 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Jan 2023

Keywords

  • heritage language
  • Korean as heritage language
  • Korean migrants in Australia
  • language maintenance
  • migrant religious organisation

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