Publication details [#58574]

Walters, Joel, Dafna Yitzhaki, Carmit Altman, Zhanna Burstein Feldman and Sharon Armon Lotem. 2014. Family language policies, reported language use and proficiency in Russian – Hebrew bilingual children in Israel. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 35 (3) : 216–234.
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The relationship between family language policy (FLP) and language choice, language use, proficiency in Russian and Hebrew, codeswitching (CS) and linguistic performance was studied in Russian-speaking immigrant parents and their Russian–Hebrew bilingual preschool children. By means of Glaser's Grounded Theory, the content of sociolinguistic interviews with 65 parents was classified to form families with strict-Russian, mild-Russian and pro-bilingual language policies. Preschool children (M = 6; 0) from these families were asked to respond to questions about language use, language choice, proficiency in Russian and Hebrew and CS on 10-point graphic rating scales as well as perform three linguistic tasks: noun–verb picture naming, non-word repetition and complex syntax in sentence repetition. Findings for language use and self-rated proficiency showed the varying degrees of reported Russian language maintenance depending on the FLP applied in the home. Yet, performance on complex syntax showed better performance in Hebrew than Russian, and children reported more CS into L2/Hebrew than into their home language. These latter findings in the three FLP groups are interpreted as evidence for language shift and may be attributed to greater influence of peers and siblings rather than parents.