Based on a seventeen-month ethnography in a Baptist Chinese church in Western Canada, this article examines how the establishment of an English congregation for youth in response to language shift in fact facilitated minority language maintenance. Drawing on two ideologies of bi-/multilingualism, I illustrate that, even though perceived as "the second generation who don't understand Chinese", young members were multilinguals with varying degrees of dominance and fluency in Chinese. I further argue that the English Congregation constituted an important space for the socialization of youth with peers and/or adults where Chinese could be used and thus learned, although engagement with the language might differ between individuals and indeed across various stages of their lives. Implications for language maintenance research are discussed.
|Number of pages||29|
|Journal||International Journal of the Sociology of Language|
|Publication status||Published - 16 Jul 2013|
- Chinese church
- English congregation
- language maintenance
- second-generation youth