BUILDING BLOCK OF THE WORLD, BUILDING BLOCK OF YOUR IDENTITY: MULTILINGUAL LITERACY SOCIALIZATION OF HERITAGE LANGUAGE LEARNERS
MetadataShow full item record
This study investigates multilingual literacy socialization of Finnish heritage language learners (HLLs) in homes and a Finnish heritage language (HL) school in the United States. Participants included eighteen parents, fifteen students, and three Finnish HL teachers. Five HLLs aged 5 to 11 were chosen as focal cases. This study used ethnographic and microethnographic methods, with language socialization as the major theoretical lens and new literacies as a complementary theory. The study conceptualizes language and literacy socialization in an HL context as manifesting in three processes: family and classroom language policies, translanguaging practices, and language and literacy practices across languages and media. Additionally, the study considers HLLs’ construction of multilingual identities. Field notes and videos of language and literacy events in the two contexts, literacy-related artifacts, vocabulary and reading assessments in English and Finnish, and background survey and interview data were considered to understand participants’ language and literacy practices. The study demonstrates that parents and teachers engaged in similar socialization strategies: setting strict Finnish-only policies, curbing students’ translanguaging, and engaging children in traditional, print-based literacies in Finnish. Contextual factors, such as students’ English-medium schoolwork and non-Finnish parents’ lack of Finnish proficiency restricted these efforts. HLLs influenced these socialization processes by renegotiating family and HL classroom language policies, translanguaging in their interactions, and engaging in literacy practices, especially digital literacies, that promoted English at the expense of the HL. Such influences often ran counter to the parents’ and teachers’ efforts. Findings also indicated that learners constructed fluid, multilingual identities within different contexts and situations. The study contributes to socialization research and HL education research by examining a less commonly taught HL, Finnish in the United States. The study corroborates recent scholarship on language socialization, which has begun to uncover children’s strong influence and agency in socialization processes. The study also highlights the importance of digital literacies in young HLLs’ lives. The need for teacher education and P-12 educators to recognize HLLs as part of linguistic diversity in schools, and ways for parents and teachers of HLLs to support HL maintenance while recognizing HLLs’ multilingual, multinational identities are discussed.