image of 1.5-generation Korean-New Zealanders’ perceptions of bilingualism, heritage language competence, and identity
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This study explores four 1.5-generation Korean-New Zealanders’ perceptions of bilingualism, heritage language (HL) competence, and identity. Drawing on interview data, the study shows that the participants were strongly connected to their ethnic group and strove to accept and strengthen their hyphenated Korean-New Zealander identities through foregrounding their bilingual and bicultural competence. In addition to their Korean use at home, socializing with other Korean speakers at church and in peer groups aided their learning of a wide range of registers in context, while providing culturally sensitive places for the participants to explore their identities. Nevertheless, the study also found that the participants encountered racial and linguistic hierarchical structures from which they were marginalized, which delayed their construction of positive bilingual identities. The findings enable a deeper understanding of how family-internal and family-external factors shape immigrant children’s identities, and suggest that substantial institutional and societal support are needed to foster immigrant children’s bilingualism and biculturalism.


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