Nari, the second-generation, female balanced bilingual speaker
Nari’s parents had been in the U.S. for 11 years since they came to the U.S. for her father to start his graduate study. After completion of his study, he started working as a researcher, and the parents became permanent residents in the U.S. Nari and her younger brother were born in the U.S. and began their initial schooling in the U.S. During school break, the family has visited Korea annually and stayed there for about a month each year. According to Nari’s mother, Nari improved her Korean communicative skills while in Korea because she interacted with her grandparents and other relatives. The parents think that visiting Korea once in a while provided Nari with a great opportunity to learn about and practice Korean in a context where Korean was exclusively used. Nari identified herself as a balanced bilingual. But she felt a little more comfortable using Korean than English and was more confident when speaking Korean than English. She considered her Korean to be fluent and her English to be proficient.
“Teaching Korean is more important than English. ”
Nari’s mother believed that learning Korean was significant for Nari since it was her HL, which she had to fully master as a Korean:
Learning Korean and having fluent Korean proficiency are highly important for my children. I believe that they must be (my emphasis) fluent in Korean. It is a shame that my children do not speak Korean well. Accordingly, our role as parents is very important to our children. We are the only one who can stimulate them to use Korean. My children would not have much opportunity to use Korean unless they have our enforcement to use it. Thus, we are very important people for our children to teach Korean by using it and asking them to use it all the time at least at home.
As her response displays, Nari’s parents not only greatly valued teaching Korean to their children but also believed that they have a strong responsibility to teach Korean. The mother also stated that it was important for them (she and her husband) to emphasize educating Nari in Korean because she would become an English dominant speaker in her future:
It seems that Nari is more fluent in Korean than English right now, but I know that she will develop English at a faster rate .... Although we focus on the Korean language, she is going to be dominant in the
English language anyway as she lives in this English-speaking country and attends schools in the U.S. This is the reason why my husband and I are paying more attention to teaching Korean (than teaching English) to her.