Language Loss in Korean-American Biracial/Bicultural Military Families
AuthorBrewer, Jong Y.
Committee ChairGilmore, Perry
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis qualitative case study investigates key reason(s) for Korean language loss among Korean-American children raised in mixed-race military families where the mother is a Korean immigrant of middle school or lower educational background and the father is an American Serviceman. A secondary purpose is to discover some effects of Korean language loss on the participant's identity (cultural and social) and effects on relationships between children and mothers. This study focuses on four Korean-Americans---three biracial participants, and one monoracial, adopted participant (ages 21 to 28). I record the phenomena of language loss, using the participants' voices. The three data sources include: interviews, follow-up discussions, and field notes. Major findings show: (1) that the decision to drop Korean language maintenance was made deliberately by one or both parents based on what the father considered best for the welfare of the child in U.S. schools. (2) The participants most traumatized by Korean language loss found it hard to identify with any group socially. (3) Those participants not consciously traumatized by Korean language loss claimed a Korean social identity. (4) All participants' mothers preferred to isolate themselves in the family or among Korean friends who spoke little English. (5) All participants noted frustrations in the mother-child relationship. (6) The children recognized it was easier to communicate with their absent military fathers even if they did not necessarily "get along" well with Dad once he returned home.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading and Culture