Being “Critical”

Implications for Chinese Heritage Language Schools

Authored by: Shuhan C. Wang

Handbook of Heritage, Community, and Native American Languages in the United States

Print publication date:  January  2014
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415520669
eBook ISBN: 9780203122419
Adobe ISBN: 9781136332494


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Chinese heritage language schools (CHLSs) are examples of how minority communities engage in what Fishman (1991) calls reversing language shift, as they represent efforts to preserve heritage languages in the dominant society (Wang, 2004). CHLSs are organized and managed by parents of students or members of Chinese ethnic communities and usually operate outside the regular school system on weekends or as after-school programs (Cheng et al., 2011; Han, 2010; S. C. Wang, 2004; X. Wang, 1996; Yen, 2010). Other than indigenous language schools, Chinese heritage schools have been the largest continuously operating network of language schools organized by an ethnic community in the United States compared to Hebrew, Yiddish, and German schools (Fishman, 1991).

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