While there is a rising number of research on Heritage Language Maintenance among East Asian immigrants, there have been very few research done on Southeast Asian minority heritage language maintenance. The purpose of this paper is to shed the light on the practices and ideologies towards heritage language maintenance in two Buddhist immigrant families from Myanmar residing in New York City. This paper approaches the topic of heritage language maintenance by employing Elinor Ochs and Bambi Schieffelin’s (1984) theoretical framework on language socialization, i.e., socializing U.S. born Burmese children to become competent members of both their heritage and American societies. The findings suggest that the socio-semantically ambiguous concept bāthā in Burmese referencing both language and religion leads to the prioritization of religious socialization over language socialization in the process of heritage language maintenance. Although the former could compliment the latter, both families seemed to be satisfied by the achievement of the former. By doing so, the participants in this study however achieve in successfully compromising between full assimilation to mainstream American society as a minority immigrant community and maintaining their heritage roots, even if not linguistically.
Paing, Chu M.
"To Know a Bāthā: Family Language Socialization among Buddhist Immigrants from Myanmar in New York City,"
Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement: Vol. 13
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/jsaaea/vol13/iss1/10