The Role of Education in Shaping Parental Language Choices in a Multilingual Society
In a multilingual society, the parents are faced with the need to make language choices when they interact
with their young children. Even though language choices in bi-or multilingual families have been vastly reported in the literature on childhood multilingualism, most of these reports reflected the situations involving immigrant or mixedmarriage families who live in a largely monolingual society. In this paper, I argued that the factors that influenced the making the language choices in parents living in a multilingual society are slightly different to those reported in the general literature. From the qualitative investigation with three Malaysian-Chinese families, it was found that the parent language choices were influenced by multiple factors, including the parents’ own educational experiences and language repertoires, their language attitudes, the language repertoires of the other family members, the family tradition, and most prominently, the educational choices made by the parents for the child. The findings from this investigation added perspectives to understand the extent of complexity involved in the making of language choices by parents in a multilingual society.
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