Language shift in Wellington refugee communities
My research explores to what extent the Amharic-speaking Ethiopian and the Spanish-speaking Colombian refugee communities in Wellington transmit their community languages to their children. Using participant observation, informal interviews and recordings of naturally occurring interactions, I examine the mothers’ and children’s attitudes about language maintenance and ethnic identity, their social networks and the influence of these on language use in the home. An analysis of actual language negotiation between caregivers and children based on Lanza’s (2004) categorisation of parental discourse strategies is expected to provide a clearer picture about prospects of language maintenance for the two communities.
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