Invisible Work

Bilingualism, language choice and childrearing in intermarried families

| University of Cambridge
HardboundAvailable
ISBN 9789027218476 (Eur) | EUR 110.00
ISBN 9781588111067 (USA) | USD 165.00
 
e-Book
ISBN 9789027297655 | EUR 110.00 | USD 165.00
 
There is growing recognition that ‘context’ is important for bilingual language development, but understanding of that context remains underdeveloped. This innovative study, spanning the fields of bilingualism, ethnicity and family studies, shows how language use in intermarried families is deeply intertwined with the experience of everyday childrearing, in specific socio-historical contexts. This is why, despite good intentions, expert advice and effort, bilingual-child rearing often encounters difficulties. Conversely, drawing on in-depth interviews of twenty eight Japanese mother — British father families in the UK, the study uses a focus on language issues to portray actual childrearing dynamics and ‘situated ethnicity’ in intermarried families. Presenting a vivid picture of the ‘invisible work’ of mothers in these families, and how they attempt to resolve conflicting pressures and demands over childrearing, language and education, the author shows the importance of ‘recognition’ and shared responsibility. This book will interest researchers, practitioners and parents interested in bilingualism, ethnically diverse families and multicultural education.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
List of figures and tables
vii
Acknowledgements
ix
1. Introduction
1–5
2. Developing a conceptual framework
7–37
3. Research methods
39–63
4. Japanese-British families in the UK: A survey
65–86
5. Initial language decision
87–107
6. Getting on: Adaptations in language use
109–135
7. Childrearing
137–160
8. Going to school
161–191
9. Family relationships, identity and ethnicity
193–218
10. Concluding discussion
219–233
Bibliography
235–250
Appendices
251–261
Index
263–274
“In this highly original study, Okita combines insights from studies of families, ethnicity, and bilingualism to examine the factors that promote or inhibit Japanese maintenance by the children of British fathers and Japanese mothers living in Britain. The result is a finely nuanced study that illustrates the difficulties of maintaining a minority language in a setting that provides few sources of institutional support. This volume is a valuable interdisciplinary examination of an understudied community and an important contribution to the study of childhood bilingualism and minority language maintenance and shift. This fine work of scholarship will be useful reading not only for researchers in first and second language acquisition and bilingualism but also for scholars in family studies, ethnic studies, and child development.”
“This book testifies to the merits of interdisciplinary work. With its bases in family studies and ethnic studies, along with the sociolinguistic literature on childhood bilingualism, it is able to elucidate the context in which language choices are made in a depth that has, to the best of my knowledge, never before been achieved in the literature on childhood bilingualism. It is a must-read for anyone involved in childhood bilingualism as a researcher or practitioner. It is also an important contribution to the emergent field of gender and bilingualism research.”
“Okita's study is significant in several respects. First, the rich qualitative data including the participants' vivid life story accounts, occasional observations, reflections on mistakes and failures, bring important insight into the inner world of parents involved into bilingual child-rearing practices. Second, the study is an important step towards the creation of a cohesive cross-disciplinary theoretical framework for sociolinguistic analysis of parents' efforts to manage complicated bilingual practices and to transmit a minority language to the next generation. Finally, Okita's Invisible Work makes the time-consuming and emotionally demanding work of bilingual child-rearing more visible by illuminating pressures and dilemmas that often escape researchers' attention.”
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Subjects
BIC Subject: CF – Linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2001043201