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A bilingual, bicultural interpreter and researcher navigates blurry boundaries and intersectionality

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A researcher reflects using a close reading of interview transcripts and description to share what happened while participating in multiple roles in a larger ethnographic study of the acculturation process of deaf students in kindergarten classrooms in three countries. The

A researcher reflects using a close reading of interview transcripts and description to share what happened while participating in multiple roles in a larger ethnographic study of the acculturation process of deaf students in kindergarten classrooms in three countries. The course of this paper will focus on three instances that took place in Japan and America. The analysis of these examples will bring to light the concept of taking on multiple roles, including graduate research assistant, interpreter, cultural mediator, and sociolinguistic consultant within a research project serving to uncover challenging personal and professional dilemmas and crossing boundaries; the dual roles, interpreter and researcher being the primary focus. This analysis results in a brief look at a thought provoking, yet evolving task of the researcher/interpreter. Maintaining multiple roles in the study the researcher is able to potentially identify and contribute "hidden" knowledge that may have been overlooked by other members of the research team. Balancing these different roles become key implications when interpreting practice, ethical boundaries, and participant research at times the lines of separation are blurred.

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2011

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Raising children bilingually in mixed marriages: stories of four Vietnamese-Caucasian families

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This study examines the experiences of parents in mixed marriages (Vietnamese married to non-Vietnamese) raising their children in the United States. Specifically, this study focused on what factors influence parents' development of family language policies and patterns of language use.

This study examines the experiences of parents in mixed marriages (Vietnamese married to non-Vietnamese) raising their children in the United States. Specifically, this study focused on what factors influence parents' development of family language policies and patterns of language use. While research has been done on language policy and planning at the macro-level and there are an increasing number of studies on family language policy at the microlevel, few studies have focused on couples in mixed marriages who are heritage language speakers of the language they are trying to teach their children. This study used both surveys and interviews to gather data about parents' beliefs and attitudes towards bilingualism and the heritage language (HL), strategies parents are using to teach their children the HL, and major challenges they face in doing so. There were three main findings. First, parents without full fluency in the HL nevertheless are able to pass the HL on to their children. Second, an important factor influencing parents' family language policies and patterns of language use were parents' attitudes towards the HL--specifically, if parents felt it was important for their children to learn the HL and if parents were willing to push their children to do so. Third, proximity to a large Vietnamese community and access to Vietnamese resources (e.g., Vietnamese language school, Vietnamese church/temple, etc.) did not assure families' involvement in the Vietnamese community or use of the available Vietnamese resources. The findings of this study reveal that though language shift is occurring in these families, parents are still trying to pass on the HL to their children despite the many challenges of raising them bilingually in the U.S.

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Date Created
2011