New Article: Stavans, Bi-Literacy Patterns in Ethiopian Immigrant Families

Stavans, Anat. “Enabling Bi-Literacy Patterns in Ethiopian Immigrant Families in Israel: A Socio-Educational Challenge.” International Journal of Multilingualism 12.2 (2015): 178-95.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14790718.2015.1009373

 

Abstract

This paper explores the role that languages and literacy practices play in Ethiopian immigrant families transposed to Israel as part of Israel’s family language policy, by examining parental perspectives on their respective L1 and L2 usages, in both parents’ and children’s lives, as well as by examining the home literacy provisions supporting children’s literacy development. The study profiles 67 Ethiopian immigrant families and describes the factors affecting home and school literacy patterns, assessing usage and attitude in L1 and L2 proficiency, as well as families’ literacy-driven discourse practices. The findings of this study indicate that Ethiopian parents engage in their children’s educational and social life until first grade, when they relinquish the maintenance of L1 in favour of a yet-incomplete L2. The Ethiopian case is instrumental to describe language and literacy affordances in a country that is officially trilingual, a neighbourhood that is at least quadrilingual, a home that is bilingual and a schooling system that is monolingual. Furthermore, the results of this study indicate that although both Ethiopian and non-Ethiopian parents have different extended discourses and perhaps even discursive preferences, the form and function of these discourses coincide with those needed or assumed for successful development of scholastic literacy. Against this background, a need emerges to espouse a mutual respect and interaction between the two literacy traditions to enhance both children’s and parents’ literacy development.

 

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