Emerging technologies, bilingualism and linguistic minority families
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Amidst globalisation and migration, parents investing time and labour into raising bi – or multi – lingual children isn’t new. Yet, the growing domestication of both higher end and more affordable technologies - to support music, vocabulary, grammar or conversation in the minority language - signals a socio-material shift.
This pilot project investigates parents’ and children’s experiences of emerging digital technologies in developing children’s bilingualism, in linguistic minority households.
We combine a survey of parents with three waves of observations and retrospective interviews with households in England, and ask:
- What role do these technologies play in linguistic minority families?
- (How) do they facilitate bilingual language development?
- How do they interface with parental anxieties and aspirations?
- (How) do children’s and parents’ experiences with these technologies align with or deviate from each other?
- What new inequalities arise or are reinforced as a consequence of the rapid adoption of these socio-material resources?
Aims and objectives
We will generate a clear, conceptual understanding of whether technology has a mediating role to play in children’s bilingual language development (e.g. at the level of vocabulary, syntax, pronunciation, pragmatics) in a tripartite dialogue between parent, child and the device / app.
We will intersect linguistics, communications and sociology to capture both parents’ and children’s perspectives in conceptualising the role of this ecosystem of technologies in raising bilingual children.
Taking forward communications and sociological scholarship on the societal uses of technologies, we will advance an understanding of exclusions, access issues and disparities in children’s bilingualism – both in terms of alleviation and exacerbation - that the adoption of these technologies might lead to.