Family Language Policy (FLP) has received increasing attention in recent years. Of central interest is why some children, growing up in a bilingual environment, become monolinguals while other children, growing up in a monolingual society, become bilinguals. Over the past decades, researchers in this field have tried to understand the role FLP plays in bi/multilingual development by examining parental language ideologies, investigating interactions between family members, as well as studying parents’ conscious choices in their discourse strategies. As families are important social units in a given society, and caregivers’ and children’s beliefs, practices and interventions are consistently shaped by linguistic and non-linguistic factors associated with family resources, and broader socioeconomic, sociopolitical and sociocultural forces, resulting in either valuations or de-valuations of bi/multilingualism and multiculturalism. In this talk, I focus on factors influence the processes of family decisions on what languages to maintain and develop, and what languages to let go. Using empirical studies from recent research across different geopolitical contexts, I will demonstrate how internal and external factors are instantiated through parental beliefs and translated into language practices in children’s bi/multilingual development.
Xiao Lan Curdt-Christiansen is Professor in Applied Linguistics at the Department of Education, Director for Research in Education in China and East Asia (CRECEA), University of Bath, UK. Her research interests encompass ideological, sociocultural-cognitive and policy perspectives on children’s multilingual education and biliteracy development. As an active researcher, she has examined bi/multilingual community-home-school contexts in the UK, Canada, France and Singapore on topics of curriculum policy, language-in-educational policy and family language policy. Her most recent research project is entitled Family Language Policy: A Multi-Level Investigation of Multilingual Practices in Transnational Families, funded by The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).She has published widely in the field of applied linguistics. Her recent books include: Learning Chinese in Diasporic Communities; and Language, Ideology and Education: The Politics of Textbooks in Language Education. Her other publications have appeared in leading academic journals, such as Language Policy; International Journal of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education; Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development; Language and Education; and Language, Culture and Curriculum.