[lg policy] dissertation: Family language policy and language choice: Two exploratory case studies in Estonian- English bilingual first language acquisition
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Sat Sep 4 14:35:19 UTC 2010
Family language policy and language choice:
Two exploratory case studies in Estonian-
English bilingual first language acquisition
Colm James Doyle
Family language policy and language choice: Two exploratory case studies in
Estonian-English bilingual first language acquisition
Colm James Doyle
This thesis investigates the relationship between family language
policy and language
choice in two cases of the bilingual first language acquisition of
Estonian and English.
A non-experimental exploratory study was conducted on two Estonian-English
speaking families, one in Dublin, Ireland and one in Tallinn, Estonia.
have positive attitudes towards bilingualism and raising bilingual
children. One of the
parents in each family is a native speaker of the societal language
(SL). Both couples
stated that they made use of the ‘one person – one language’ principle.
Audio-recordings were made of the speech of family members to ascertain the
language choices of each participant dyad. Face-to-face discussions
with the parents also took place to gather information on parental
bilingualism, language exposure, the patterns of language use, and the parents’
experience of raising a bilingual family.
A discrepancy between stated patterns of language use and actual patterns of
language use and language choice was discovered in the Dublin family. Use of the
non-societal language (NSL) Estonian was found to be lower than the use of the
societal language in the Dublin family and the use of both languages
in the Tallinn
family. It is suggested that this difference was a result of the
status of the NSL,
conflicting ideologies, and the language skills of the parents and the
members in the children’s immediate environment.
The thesis recommends that more research into family language policy in cases
of bilingual first language acquisition be carried out to discover how
policy influence the language choices of family members and ultimately the
maintenance of the NSL and development of active bilingualism.
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