Through the Eyes and From the Mouths of Young Heritage-Language Learners: How Children Feel and Think About Their Two Languages

  • Maureen Jean
  • Esther Geva

Abstract

This study explores the affective responses and beliefs school-aged heritage-language learners (HLLs) hold regarding learning their two languages. Sixty-three HLLs in grades 3 and 4 were presented with pictorial scenarios involving activities across five language and literacy domains in their HL and second language (English). Children were asked to indicate the affect they associated with the scenario and were queried about their chosen affect. They associated positive affect with listening and speaking the HL at home and with English across all domains regardless of context. Qualitative analysis of children’s attributions revealed skill in the domain or language as the most common rationale for their chosen affective responses. Other common themes in children’s rationales in descending order of frequency included children’s degree of interest in the domain or language, the perceived availability of assistance from others, their membership in language groups, and the influence of language environments on language-learning. Implications for further research with this population and recommendations for relevant parties are discussed.
Published
2012-10-03
How to Cite
Jean, M., & Geva, E. (2012). Through the Eyes and From the Mouths of Young Heritage-Language Learners: How Children Feel and Think About Their Two Languages. TESL Canada Journal, 29, 49. https://doi.org/10.18806/tesl.v29i0.1110
Section
Articles