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Changing language attitudes and heritage language education: Perspectives from Vietnamese migrant mothers in South Korea

  • 25 Nov, 2021 | 9:30am - 11:00 am
  • Online (via ZOOM)
  • Seminar
  • English
  • Dr Mi Yung Park
  • Department of English Language Education
Constructing an analytic logic of analysis: Mapping relationships among micro, meso and macro processes shaping opportunities for learning

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Speaker: Dr Mi Yung Park (University of Auckland)


One significant group of migrants to South Korea are Vietnamese women who have married Korean men and settled in rural areas of the country. This talk examines these mothers’ changing attitudes towards heritage language (HL) education for their children. The data were collected through two interviews conducted four years apart with each mother, alongside informal conversations. The findings show that while the mothers placed some value on HL education for communication with extended family members, they faced obstacles maintaining their children’s knowledge of Vietnamese. The mothers promoted Korean at home because they viewed it as key to their children’s academic success. However, the mothers’ perceptions of their native language changed over time, given their children’s social and academic difficulties, Korea’s increasingly competitive job market, and governmental and media discourses promoting bilingualism. The mothers came to view their minoritized language as an asset for employment prospects, and therefore chose to invest in developing their children’s HL skills, to position them as potentially valuable bilingual workers. Implications for wider HL education will be discussed.


About the Speaker:

Mi Yung Park (Ph.D., University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa) is a senior lecturer (associate professor) in Asian Studies, School of Cultures, Languages and Linguistics, University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her research interests include sociolinguistics, heritage language maintenance, and language and identity. Her work has appeared in such journals as International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, International Multilingual Research Journal, Language and Education, Language and Intercultural Communication, Language Awareness, Classroom Discourse, and Journal of Pragmatics.