The Role of Arab Fathers in Heritage Language Maintenance in New Zealand


  •  Morad Al-Sahafi    

Abstract

This paper aims to explore Arab immigrant fathers’ language attitudes and practices toward their children’s heritage language maintenance in New Zealand. Using a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews, data were collected from 10 Arab immigrant fathers of children aged 14 and under, all living with their families in Auckland. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were used to gain insight into the participants’ language attitudes and practices toward their children’s heritage language maintenance. The findings reveal that the participants were very positive toward the heritage language and its maintenance. Although the participants differed in their countries of origin, Arabic, as a pluricentric language, seems to operate as a unifying core cultural value (Smolicz, 1981) that intertwines with other core values such as religion and ethnic consciousness. While emphasizing the complementary nature of their own and their wives’ roles in the process of heritage language maintenance, the participants highlighted some of their key roles and contributions as Arab Muslim immigrant fathers in the process of heritage language intergenerational maintenance, such as explicitly setting and monitoring family language policy, establishing co-ethnic contacts, and providing Arabic materials to enhance Arabic literacy learning among their children.  




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