Parental Attitudes and Family Conversational Strategies Shaping the Family Language Policies of Two Estonian-Finnish Families

Kristiina Teiss and Sirje Perendi

Abstract In this paper, we present an overview of the language negotiation of bilingual Estonian-Finnish families at the micro level of family language policies (FLP) by studying family interactions through the conversation analysis. Estonians are the fastest growing minority group in Finland. The close geographical proximity of the two countries, the closeness of the languages, the late-developing nature of the Estonian community in Finland, weak community formation, and mixed-culture marriages present the possibility that the minority group may experience language change. Studying Finnish-Estonian bilingual families provides valuable information on acquiring two closely related languages and shows how one of the largest minority groups in Finland, the Estonians, maintains its language and identity at the family level.

The methodologies used in this longitudinal case study include parental conversation strategies, family attitudes, code-switching and code-mixing cases in adults and children. Our aim is to see how certain language negotiation strategies, such as the “one parent, one language” strategy (OPOL), appear and change in the long term. The study’s initial findings reveal that children play a significant role in family language policies, and that the families do not necessarily apply the OPOL strategy in daily interaction contexts.

Keywords Estonian-Finnish bilingualism • Language choice • Attitudes • Conversational strategies • Code-switching

K. Teiss (*) • S. Perendi

School of Language, Translation and Literary Studies, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland

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M. Siiner et al. (eds.), Language Policy Beyond the State, Language Policy 14, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-52993-6_6

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