Giving children the gift of bilingualism

Livia Gerber

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    Abstract

    My thesis seeks to explore the ideologies underpinning parental decisions on family language policies in a predominantly English monolingual environment. Focussing on how the notion of ‘good’ parenting is linked to bilingualism as a child-rearing strategy, the discursive construction of bilingual parenting is explored in one of the largest online parenting communities in Australia, essentialbaby.com.au, using critical discourse analysis. The corpus consists of 15 discussion threads totalling 266 comments posted between 2007 and 2014 by parents and carers seeking and giving advice on bilingual child-rearing. This forum was chosen for three reasons: first, with over 255,000 members it is one of Australia’s largest online parenting forums and it enjoys a broad audience. Secondly, this is a ‘mainstream’ forum that is not a priori concerned with language. It is not specialised in bi-or multilingualism, so members are largely non-experts, making it possible to analyse peer advice as opposed to expert advice. Lastly, an investigation of parental beliefs about bilingual child-rearing in a general parenting forum will reflect more widely popularised discourses within the wider public. Therefore, these – mostly anonymous – conversations can be understood as a manifestation of public knowledge about bilingual parenting. Specifically, the online parenting forum is seen as an environment to explore how parents talk about bilingual child-rearing, and the language ideologies that underlie parental advice on ‘good’ bilingual parenting.
    Original languageEnglish
    Specialist publicationLanguage on the move
    PublisherLanguage on the move
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2016

    Bibliographical note

    Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

    Keywords

    • 200401 applied linguistics and educational linguistics
    • 200405 language in culture and society (sociolinguistics)

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