Moving from an L1 to an L2 Setting: Exploring Parents’ Motivation for Raising Children Bilingually

Novi Rahayu Restuningrum


This paper explores the change in parents’ motivation for wanting their children to be bilingual.
Derived from a larger study done between 2011-2015, the paper portrays how parents who, at the
time of data collection resided in Australia, changed motivation for communicating with their
children bilingually. Evolving from my personal experience and supported by data from two
research participants with similar experience, the paper presents an explanatory discussion on
how parents changed motivation for raising children bilingually, which is due to the change in
geographic setting.
Using auto-ethnographic approach, I discuss the shifts of motivation that implicate especially in
the preferences for relative emphasis on L1 and L2, to correspond to the change in the
sociolinguistic set-up due to the different settings a family has moved to. The early reason why
parents want their children to be able to communicate in two languages in the period prior
geographic movement from countries where English is a foreign language has changed after they
live in Australia. Parents had been motivated to make their children bilingual when they are in
the non-English-speaking contexts because they want their children to catch up with the
globalised world communication, while their main reason for having bilingual children after they
live in Australia is to maintain their heritage culture and language.
This paper is expected to enhance the discussion in the field of bilingualism, especially about
parents’ motivation for children bilingualism, which extends the discussion in other research.


bilingualism; motivation

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