International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

The Struggle and Success of Heritage Language Education: A Comparative Case Study of Two Korean American Families
Dr. Guang-Lea Lee, Dr. SoYoung Kang

This comparative case study investigates the beliefs of first-generation immigrant Korean parents regarding bilingualism and raising their children to speak their Heritage Language (HL). We examine how two similarly situated Korean immigrant families can support or hinder their children in learning their HL and maintaining their cultural heritage. This study specifically identifies parental beliefs, as well as what language policies and practices, if any, were employed to support the HL during the children’s early childhood and adolescence. The findings reveal that although both sets of parents want their children to learn the HL, the children’s proficiency level can be vastly different depending on the parents’ beliefs about the importance of learning HL, their involvement in meaningful HL experiences in rich language environment, and the extent that they exposed children to HL and culture. This study sheds light on the important role Korean immigrant parents play in helping their children learn HL at home while still learning English as a second language in school.

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