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Language socialization in Canadian Hispanic communities : ideologies and practices Guardado, José Martín


Recent scholarship has highlighted the importance of supporting home languages for linguistic-minority families in multilingual settings, as the family language is the means through which they can more successfully socialize their children into the beliefs, values, ideologies and practices surrounding their languages and cultures. Although there has been some research examining issues of Spanish acquisition, maintenance and loss in Canada, the language socialization ideologies and practices of Hispanic families have not yet been examined in this context. This ethnographic study investigated language socialization in immigrant families from ten Spanish-speaking countries residing in Greater Vancouver. Thirty-four families participated, three of which were selected for intensive case study in their homes and in three grassroots community groups. More specifically, the study examined the families’ desires and goals with respect to Spanish maintenance, the meanings they assigned to Spanish, and the processes through which they attempted to valorize Spanish with their children. The study found that many families formed support groups in order to transmit language and culture to their children. A cross-case analysis revealed that the families further exerted their agency by strategically turning these spaces into “safe houses” to resist assimilation and into venues for the Spanish socialization of their children, which enabled them to also transmit cultural values, such as familism. The families conceptualized Spanish maintenance as an emotional connection to the parents’ selves and as a bridge between the parents’ past and the children’s future. It was also constructed as a key that opened doors, as a bridge for learning other languages, and as a passport to a cosmopolitan worldview. Detailed discourse analyses revealed how the families utilized explicit and implicit directives, recasts, and lectures to socialize children into Spanish language ideologies. These analyses also showed how children at times resisted the parents’ socialization practices, but other times displayed their nascent understanding of their parents’ language ideologies in their own use of cross-code self-repair. The study offers unique insights into the complexity of L1 maintenance and the dynamics of language socialization in the lives of linguistic minorities and concludes with implications for policy, pedagogy and research.

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