Korean-Chinese parents' language attitudes and additive bilingual education in China

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23 Citations (Scopus)


China's diversity of minority groups, marked by many languages and cultures, has led to much push and pull experience between homogenising forces and indigenous cultures. This is apparent in its bilingual education programme for ethnic minorities, among which Korean diaspora communities are to be counted. Korean-Chinese people in China have been exposed to the global evolution from agricultural economy to market-oriented industrial and post-industrial economy. Paradoxically, this globalising societal change has fuelled their ethnic consciousness amidst a process of ‘monolingual market economy’, where Putonghua is seen as the ‘High’ language for upward mobility. This paper explores Korean-Chinese parents' attitudes towards Putonghua and the Korean language. Using data from interviews with 27 families in north-east China, it is argued that the more the parents are exposed to the Koreans in the Peninsula, the clearer they realise the importance of Putonghua and Korean, not only affectively, but also referentially in function of a cross-national context. The findings suggest an increasingly complex, non-determinant hierarchy of power built between the dominant language and the non-dominant language, thereby it could be suggested that an additive bilingualism in education is needed in order to cater for referential and affective functions of language. Copyright © 2012 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-552
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


Gao, F., & Park, J. (2012). Korean-Chinese parents’ language attitudes and additive bilingual education in China. Journal of Multilingual & Multicultural Development, 33(6), 539-552. doi: 10.1080/01434632.2012.692683


  • Language attitude
  • Referential function
  • Affective function
  • Symbolic capital
  • Additive bilingualism
  • Korean-Chinese


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