UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Voices within the Canadian mosaic : Japanese immigrant women and their children's heritage language socialization Minami, Shiho


This research collected and documented the voices of six Japanese immigrant mothers married to Canadian men who are trying to raise their children to speak Japanese in Metro Vancouver, B.C. Through in-depth, open-ended individual interviews of intermarried Japanese immigrant mothers, the study attempted to examine the meaning of their experiences with regard to their children’s heritage language (HL) socialization. The mothers’ motivations, hopes, practices, challenges, and feelings were examined revealing the complexity and intricacies of their experiences. The results demonstrated that intermarried Japanese mothers who wish to transmit their language onto their children because they view Japanese language skills as beneficial to their children and as an important tool for communication and to foster relationships between them, their children and their family in Japan. The children’s HL socialization was found to be a part of the mother’s ‘work’, and their attitudes and practices regarding their HL transmission project varied depending on how they were affected by various factors; such as public discourse, the ideology surrounding bilingualism, motherhood and the Japanese language, their personality and the role they take up within their family. The mother’s experiences in HL transmission were loaded with emotional moments as they balanced various competing demands and managed the pressure to meet the ‘good mother’ standard. However, some mothers also felt pleasure and empowerment through their role of HL transmitter. The data suggests that children’s HL socialization shifts mothers’ social networks and language use as well as their identities towards a Japanese orientation leading to an evolution and re-affirmation of their Japanese self.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International