The HaBilNet Family Language Policies colloquium at GURT 2020
A virtual format due to COVID-19
Annick De Houwer (University of Erfurt, Germany, and HaBilNet Director) and Simona Montanari (California State University, USA) were invited to organize a colloquium at GURT 2020, the 2020 Georgetown University Round Table. GURT's theme for 2020 was "Multilingualism: Global South and Global North Perspectives". It was organized by Lourdes Ortega and Anna De Fina, both at Georgetown University, USA. Dr. Ortega is on the HaBilNet Advisory Board.
Drs. De Houwer and Montanari wanted to break new ground with their GURT 2020 Colloquium in bringing together perspectives on family language policies from different parts of the world and from different disciplines. Their colloquium on Finding Universal Patterns in Family Language Policies and Their Effects on Children: Evidence from Different World Regions and Different Disciplines (for short: FLP colloquium) was originally based on the discussion of several questions for a panel consisting of:
- Dr. Michelle Mingyue Gu, 香港教育大學 | Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
- Dr. Simona Montanari, California State University, United States of America
- Dr. Janice Nakamura, formerly at 相模女子大学 | Sagami Women's University, Japan (as of April 1, 2020: Kanagawa University, Japan)
- Dr. Nikolay Slavkov, Université d'Ottawa | University of Ottawa, Canada
After a discussion with the audience, Dr. Maria Obojska, Université de Luxembourg, Luxembourg, was slated to provide a summarizing statement.
Unfortunately, the global COVID-19 crisis led to the "live" GURT 2020, scheduled for March 13-15, to be cancelled (listen to Dr De Houwer's response to this cancellation here). Instead, the GURT 2020 organizers set up a closed FaceBook page, GURT 2020 Virtual, to allow registered participants to post their contributions. HaBilNet and the FLP colloquium invited speakers are grateful to the organizers for this enormous effort.
The FLP colloquium took place virtually, in a reduced form. We posted short videos and speaker information online around the time the colloquium had originally been scheduled for (Saturday March 14, between 10:15 and 12:15 EST). Thanks to all speakers for making this possible!
Rather than the 7 questions which had been prepared, the panelists now addressed just the following two:
- What sociopolitical and sociocultural factors promote or hinder child bilingualism and/or multilingualism through Family Language Policies in the region(s) you have studied?
- Do language policies in education in your region hinder or support Family Language Policies for bi/multilingual families?
We have put this virtual Family Language Policies (FLP) colloquium online for you.
1Introduction by Annick De Houwer to the GURT Family Language Policies colloquium organized by herself and Simona Montanari
Introduction to the invited GURT colloquium on Finding Universal Patterns in Family Language Policies and Their Effects on Children: Evidence from Different World Regions and Different Disciplines, by Annick De Houwer (co-organizer: Simona Montanari).
To find out more about work Annick De Houwer did that relates to FLP, check out her new chapter on Harmonious Bilingualism: Well-being for families in bilingual settings. This earlier chapter by Annick De Houwer entitled Minority Language Parenting in Europe and Children's Well-Being also relates to FLP.
2Michelle Gu Mingyue talks about generations of multilingual families in Hong Kong
This video by Michelle Gu Mingyue from Hong Kong documents the across-generation development of family language policy in immigrant families with South Asian backgrounds and presents a picture of how individuals from different generations have responded to marginalization, accumulated linguistic and cultural resources, developed different acculturation strategies and FLP.
- From Chungking Mansions to tertiary institution: Acculturation and language practices of an immigrant mother and her daughter, in Linguistics and Education and
- Constructing classed linguistic practices across borders: Family language policy in South(east) Asian families in Hong Kong, in the Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
3Simona Montanari highlights positive attitudes towards bilingualism in California
This video by Simona Montanari from California highlights how the traditional monoglossic ideology of the Unites States is being changed in California by increasing positive attitudes towards bilingualism. These attitudes have resulted in legislative changes in educational language policies, promoting bilingualism and biliteracy in the classroom through dual language immersion programs.
her chapter co-authored with Suzanne Quay called Early bilingualism: From differentiation to the impact of family language practices (in E. Nicoladis & S. Montanari (eds.), Bilingualism across the lifespan: Factors moderating language proficiency, pp. 23-42. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association; Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton).
To find out more about Simona Montanari's work related to educational language policies in California and the Italian/English dual language program she helped create, check out her article "The development of writing skills in an Italian-English dual language program: Evidence from first through fifth grade" (International Multilingual Research Journal, 10(1), 44-58).
4Janice Nakamura explains how it is difficult to raise bilingual families in Japan
This video by Janice Nakamura from Japan highlights how the dominance of the Japanese language, the negative evaluation of minority languages and the geographic dispersion of minority language speakers hinder family language practices that support child bilingualism in Japan.
In this innovative research, Janice Nakamura reports on how young adults felt about not having learned to speak one of their parents' languages (Nakamura, 2020. Language regrets: mixed-ethnic children's lost opportunity for minority language acquisition in Japan. Multilingua, DOI:10.1515/multi-2019-0040).
5Nikolay Slavkov talks about harmonious relationships between family language policies and the language(s) of schooling in Canada
Set in a Canadian context, this video by Nikolay Slavkov discusses the importance of establishing positive and harmonious relationships between family language policies and the language(s) of schooling.
- Slavkov, N. (2017) Family Language Policy and School Language Choice: Pathways to Bilingualism and Multilingualism in a Canadian Context, International Journal of Multilingualism, 14(4), 378-400, doi: 10.1080 / 14790718.2016.1229319 and
- Slavkov, N. (2018) What is your 'first' language in bilingual Canada? A study of language background profiling at publicly-funded elementary schools across three provinces, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 21(1), 20-37, doi: 10.1080 / 13670050.2015.1126217
What is GURT?
Every spring, the Department of Linguistics of Georgetown University hosts the Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics (GURT). This is a peer-reviewed conference that accepts researchers in Linguistics from around the world. A select number of papers from GURT are published in a conference proceedings. Topics vary from year to year.