"We really believe that we have given our children a gift": discourses on bilingual child-rearing in an online parenting forum
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 18:05 authored by Livia Gerber
Parental decisions of bilingual child-rearing are influenced by prevailing language ideologies and popular discourses on the advantages of bilingualism. This study seeks to explore the ideologies underpinning parental decisions on family language policies in a predominantly English monolingual environment. Focussing on how the notion of 'good' parenting is linked to bilingualism as a child-rearing strategy, the discursive construction of bilingual parenting is explored in one of the largest online parenting communities in Australia, essentialbaby.com.au, using critical discourse analysis. This is a 'mainstream' forum that is not a priori concerned with language. The corpus consists of 15 discussion threads totalling 266 comments posted between 2007 and 2014 by parents and carers seeking and giving advice on bilingual child-rearing. Findings suggest that due to the increasing valorisation of bilingualism in general discourses, bilingual family language policies, such as the 'one parent - one language' strategy, have beome incorporated into mainstream parenting strategies. Overall, this study finds that parents are often faced with contradictory bilingual child-rearing realities that inform their language-related parenting decisions. The research extends existing literature on how the monolingual mindset operates on an individual level, and has implications for language policy at individual, institutionl and state levels.