Grandparents, grandchildren, and heritage language use in Korean

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This chapter discusses an ethnographic and sociolinguistic study that examines the patterns of language socialization of six Korean-American families in the New York metropolitan area, particularly the ideologies and linguistic practices that surround politeness. All participating families had at least one 2– to 4–yearold child, spoke Korean as the mother tongue, and had at least one grandparent who regularly interacted with the child. The author collected 80 hours of audio/video recordings of naturally occurring family conversations and then analyzed the grandparents’ roles in the transmission of linguistic and cultural heritage in terms of politeness. Findings highlight the parents’ expectations of grandparents as linguistic and cultural resources for the family and grandparents’ actual influence on children’s cultural practices and language use.


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