Transforming culture and identity: transnational adoptive families and heritage language learning
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Type of Work39 pages
journal articles postprints
Citation of Original PublicationShin, Sarah J.; Transforming culture and identity: transnational adoptive families and heritage language learning; Language, Culture and Curriculum 26(2), pages 161-178(2013); https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/TpdHTA2eY2ZqK5X8u8qU/full
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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Language, Culture and Curriculum on 2013-07-05, available online: https://doi.org/10.1080/07908318.2013.809095
This study examines the narratives of four white, English-speaking American mothers who have been learning Korean, the birth language of their adopted children, at community Korean schools. By drawing on in-depth interviews and employing narrative analysis, this study explores the mothers’ motivations for studying Korean, experiences at the community schools, and strategies for promoting Korean at home. The narratives show that the mothers viewed learning Korean as a: (1) requirement for a positive racial identity; (2) burden that parents should bear with children; and (3) way to connect with birth/foster families. These discourses help the mothers to construct their positions as parents of transnational adoptees and reveal the ideological processes at play in heritage language learning for these families. They show the mothers’ beliefs in not only promoting cultural identification for the child but also reinterpreting their own racial and cultural identities. The mothers’ accounts also showed that they negotiated practical aspects of language learning at the community schools (e.g. forming separate classes for adoptees, adjusting teachers’ expectations for language outcome) and created additional opportunities for language practice through Korean-speaking extracurricular teachers and Korean popular culture. This article discusses the implications of these findings for community heritage language schools.