Article published in:Language and Communication of Asian Diaspora Communities in Europe
Edited by Zi Wang and Florian Coulmas
[Journal of Asian Pacific Communication 31:2] 2021
► pp. 159–190
Language transmission among multilingual Chinese immigrant families in the Northern Netherlands
Maintaining heritage languages is of vital significance for multicultural families. We present a study of Mandarin transmission among ten Dutch Chinese families in Groningen (Netherlands) associated to a local Saturday school. Data from semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire reveal that personal, integrative, and instrumental values, all play a role in language choices. Remarkably, with general positive attitudes towards multilingualism in Dutch society, families too feel encouraged to maintain Mandarin. Nevertheless, they report lack of school and institutional support, and criticisms about their ability to belong in Dutch society. Parents wish that teachers attached more importance to their heritage languages, rather than solely focusing on children’s learning of Dutch (and English), and that their own multiculturality (not only that of their children) be embraced. Likewise, parents are critical of the Chinese school, and wish teachers better accommodated to the sensitivities and practices their children are used to from their Dutch school experience.
Keywords: heritage language transmission, multilingual Chinese families, family language policy, Dutch-Chinese communities in the Netherlands
- 2.1Family language policy, transmission strategies, and parental motivations
- 2.2Language schools and social networks
- 3.Chinese Dutch families in Groningen
- 3.2Semi-structured interviews and brief questionnaire
- 4.Questionnaire results
- 4.1Family language composition and use
- 4.2Language use between parents and children
- 4.3Language use among siblings
- 5.Results from Semi-structured interviews
- 5.1Parental language practices
- 5.2Parental motivations to maintain Mandarin
- 5.2.1Personal values
- 5.2.2Integrative values in the extended community
- 5.2.3Integrative values in the local community
- 5.2.4Instrumental values
- 5.3Parental expectations regarding Mandarin proficiency
- 5.3.1Oral proficiency
- 5.3.3Children’s engagement
- 5.4Reported children’s linguistic proficiencies
- 5.5Parental motivations to send their children to the Chinese school and their critiques
- 5.6Feedback from the environment
- 6.Conclusion and discussion
Published online: 13 October 2020
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