Children growing up in the twenty-first century face competing demands as global citizens. For migrant families and children the dominant cultural influences and imperatives often mean adopting monolingual practices. Mastering the host language is the key to social and economic integration, but this is often experienced as a process of linguistic and cultural discontinuity. Thus, in contexts with a dominant majority language such as English, bilingual families face a language and cultural ecology with limited opportunities of validating their language and culture. Maintaining bilingual repertoires, including the written medium, presents a particular challenge, given that the home is often the only place where this language and culture might be promoted, and where parents act as the child’s first and sometimes only teacher of that language and culture. This article reports on a project which aims to promote biliteracy in the family context and provides an opportunity to foster biliteracy and cultural practices woven into everyday family life. Taking a socio-cultural perspective, this paper presents empirical data to illustrate how parent-child interaction and collaborative dialogue can facilitate biliterate and cultural practices. It discusses benefits for the families, and potential benefits for the children of constructing a more robust bicultural identity in order to help equip them with the cultural and linguistic practices required of intercultural citizens.
|Keywords:||Migrant Families, Minority Languages and Cultures|
Senior Lecturer, School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, Massey University, Palmerston North, Manawatu, New Zealand
Senior Lecturer, School of Language Studies, Massey University, Palmerston North, Manawatu, New Zealand
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