Volume 19, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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Mother-child storytelling was used here as a first step toward exploring language socialization through the narrative discourse of Russian-speaking non-Orthodox Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants in two host cultures. This study examined five groups of mother-child dyads: Russian-speaking Ashkenazi Jews living in Ukraine, Israel, and the United States and two Russian-speaking Jewish immigrant groups living in the United States and Israel. These five groups of mothers and their three to five-year-old children were asked to tell a story using a wordless picture book. This study sought to examine the themes of home present in narrative discourse across these groups. More specifically, this research attempted to explore the ways in which the narrative process may facilitate and/or obstruct the necessary skills children need to be socialized into their cultural communities (Ochs, 2002; Ochs & Schieffelin, 2008). Measures included quantitative analysis of the length of narrative, use of questions, character speech, emotion qualifiers, and switches in language use for mothers and their children as well as narrative expressions of issues of loss common among immigrant groups. Findings are discussed in terms of how narratives reveal the language socialization practices of immigrants, including linguistic choices made to use native or host goals and styles and thematic expression of their immigrant experience.


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