Asian American Youth Language Use: Perspectives Across Schools and Communities

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Shankar, Shalini
Review of Research in Education
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01-12-2015 2:55 PM
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Recent studies of Asian American youth language practices have presented compelling insights about the identities and migration experiences of young people of Asian descent. This chapter offers a detailed examination of the relationship between language use and select issues concerning Asian American youth, including social life, schooling, acculturation, and intergenerational relationships. Specifically, how do Asian American youth negotiate aspects of their migration experience through their language practices? And, what insights about race, ethnicity, class, and gender can be learned about migration and diaspora through a focus on youth language use? The chapter covers three main topics about the language practices of Asian American youth: identity, style, and stereotypes. The first portion of the chapter discusses performances of Asian American youth identity through language practices. Studies of bilingualism, heritage language learning, language socialization, and the role of language in intergenerational relationships are explored. Engagements with media, new media, and consumption offer further examples of how language use enables youth to make diasporic connections and to express aspects of language and culture in their everyday lives. Heritage language shift, in some cases an inevitable outcome of generational change, underscores the dynamic nature of languages and their usage in migration contexts. The next section delves into ethnographic case studies of style, a linguistic anthropological and sociolinguistic framework that foregrounds the everyday speech practices of Asian American youth. Youth perform regionally available styles of speaking as well as locally created, group-specific styles, along with varieties of English that provide exemplification not only of identity formation but also of gender, ethnicity, and race.
Immigrant Students
Bilingual Students