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By: Sion Eugene Lee

Language Loss A Background


Language Attrition/Loss : a societal or individual loss in the use or in the ability to use a language, implying that another language is replacing it Language Shift: the change from the habitual use of one language to that of another Early research focused on loss & shift and disregarded maintenance & revitalization Languages not associated with economic or political power had no future Is an individual/group really free to choose to cease using a language? Parents and Children experience different levels of acculturation and vastly different life experiences The Children HL they know holds no importance in school Chinese HL is seen as a problem not a resource HL does not have a place outside of the home Children develop an increasingly negative attitude towards HL as they progress through school The Parents View the HL as a resource Increases opportunities at finding work and getting accepted into university Preserve culture and heritage As Adults May feel something is missing after losing the HL Spend extra time & money to (re)learn a language Work in a different country in an attempt to experience the culture that was lost

My Chinese is so poor I wont be able to give my children a Chinese name!


What is said: Try to speak English at home. Only English is allowed in class! What is heard: Your language is useless in this country.

Heritage Language Loss in the Chinese Immigrant Community


Heritage Language(HL) loss amongst children is well documented in the Chinese community 50.6% of parents in the US report a negative shift away from the HL when children enter into English or Bilingual early education programs When children are in a HL program 10.8% of parents reported a shift away from the HL Older siblings are less interested in using the HL than the younger siblings

The limits of my language are the limits of my world. - Ludwig Wittgenstein The Results of Heritage Language Loss
As Children Children experience a quick language shift compared to their parents Families experience dissonant acculturation between different generations Children will start using different language and its associated values Members of the family may become alienated between immediate family members between self and members of the HL community Lack of deep conversations & meaningful interactions between parents and children Loss of family and cultural curriculum Self identity confusion

Policy Implications
For Teachers and Schools Validate the students knowledge of another language Allow students to obtain credits for HL courses promoting HL growth and maintenance Integrate the parents and community into class projects (dual language storybooks) Training courses focusing on language training and cultural diversity As Researchers Determine the difference in the needs of a child needing language maintenance versus learning a HL as a second/foreign language

See, I spend most of my day in school, in school, we dont really speak Chinese. So I dont feel like its necessary. (Zhang, 2009)