“I'm embarrassed and scared to speak a different language”: The complex language beliefs and emotions of bi/multilingual children of immigrants in monolingual U.S. schools

Yalda M. Kaveh, Ashley Lenz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The purpose of this sociolinguistic study is to examine language beliefs, emotions, and practices of twenty bi/multilingual fourth-grade children of immigrants in monolingual U.S. schools in relation to societal language ideologies. This qualitative multiple case study included individual semi-structured interviews with bi/multilingual children focusing on their language beliefs, emotions, practices, and agencies. We utilised qualitative thematic analysis to examine links to societal language ideologies and issues of power. Children generally identified positively with their heritage language(s) and considered bilingualism beneficial, but they also displayed negative emotions towards their heritage language(s), English, and bi/multilingualism depending on the context and the audience. Additionally, children’s evolving language proficiencies and practices at home and school favoured English. We connect the children’s emotions, beliefs, and practices to hegemonic language ideologies in U.S. society and schools and propose a solution towards change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • bi/multilingual children of immigrants
  • children’s agency
  • emotions
  • language beliefs
  • Language ideologies
  • monolingual schools

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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