TABLET TECHNOLOGIES AND LANGUAGE SOCIALIZATION. A STUDY OF FIRST GENERATION HUNGARIAN IMMIGRANT FAMILIES LIVING IN SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
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M. Gabriella Peter, L. Morgan University of Technology, Sydney (AUSTRALIA) Internet communication technologies, including tablet technologies, have established a strong presence in Australian households. This paper presents the results of a multiple case study involving first generation Hungarian families living in Sydney. The paper highlights the potential of tablet technologies for language development and language maintenance, and the collaborative nature of the practices among family members while using tablet technologies. Due to the weak ethno linguistic vitality of the Hungarian community in Sydney, Australia, for some of the participating Hungarian families, modern technologies and the Internet represents a real opportunity for home language use. Home language maintenance remains a vital issue for multicultural and multilingual societies such as Australia and the potential value of tablet technologies has been widely recognised by researchers. The 52 Participants in the survey were mainly Hungarians registered in the ‘Hungarians in Sydney’ Facebook group or contacted at various Hungarian community events. These were all Hungarian-speaking individuals who owned and used a tablet device at the time of data collection. Data was collected in three stages: In the first stage a questionnaire about technology use, especially touchscreen device use was distributed mostly through Facebook to members of Hungarians in Sydney group. In the second stage of the data collection informal interviews were conducted with families, mainly with the mothers and video recordings taken by the families. Stage three of data collection consisted of informal post-interviews with participating families/those who sent videos, pictures or screenshots. The results of the questionnaire and interviews revealed that the participants of this study have positive attitudes towards technology in general and a positive disposition to the use of tablet technology in different aspects of their daily lives. The findings of the analysis of the video recordings revealed three types of interactional practices that may contribute to children' Hungarian language development. These are video chats with the extended family, shared e-book reading and playing games. In each case, the affordances provided by the tablet based technologies enabled extended and meaningful use of the language. The multimodal analysis revealed that the multimodal elements that are present during these family practices collectively transform the tablet to a meaningful and engaging communication tool that extends opportunities for home language development and maintenance. Parents’ positive disposition towards the use of tablet technologies and the role of the context have also been found to be crucial in increasing children’s opportunities to interact with the tablets and other family members in their home language. The conceptual framework for this research is developed with reference to Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological model aligned with Bourdieu’s social concept of habitus and the concept of language socialisation. A multiple case study methodology using a sociocultural approach is adopted and a wide range of data are gathered and subjected to a multimodal analysis.
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